C haim and I were sitting cross-legged on the carpet in my room, bickering over a game of Connect Four.

“It’s not your turn!”

“Oh, yes, it is!”

“Oh, no, it’s—”

Mom’s voice rose up from the living room. “Chaim Eliyahu and Rachel Lederman, I am waiting for you downstairs.”

When Mom refers to the two of us by our full names, it spells B-A-D N-E-W-S. I looked at Chaim and Chaim looked at me, question marks written all over our faces.

“What did we do now?” I asked nervously, but Chaim just shrugged his shoulders, dusted off his pants, and headed toward the staircase. I followed.

“Please be seated,” Mom said, her voice firm. I hate it when she becomes all official with us. “I’ve been thinking about our morning routine, and I decided that it’s time to implement some changes.”

Morning routine? What in the world was she talking about?

“Every morning when I wake you up, the same story repeats itself: I wake you once and you turn over to the other side. I try again a few minutes later but you snuggle under your blankets. I tickle, I bribe, I yell, until finally, with the bus honking in the background, you leave in a huff and a puff.”

“We do that?” Chaim asked in a small voice.

Mom tousled his yarmulke. “Yes, mister, you do that.”

“I’m sorry, Mom!” I said loudly, taking a step forward for emphasis. “We’ll try to be really good about the whole waking-up thing from now on.”

Chaim nodded enthusiastically, but Mom didn’t seem too convinced. “A new year means new resolutions. Starting tomorrow, I’d like to incorporate a new system. Ready for the deal?”

Chaim and I exchanged quizzical glances. This was so unlike Mom.

“From now on, I will wake you up once, and only once, every morning. If you miss your bus, it will be your responsibility to get yourself to school.”


“I’ve never been more serious.”

The next morning dawned bright and early. Or at least I think it did.

At 8:15, somewhere beneath a hazy fog of sleep, I heard Mom’s cheerful, “Goooood Morning! Time to get out of bed!” This was followed by, “Just a friendly reminder that this is the last wake-up call for the day!”

I must’ve promptly turned over to the other side, because the next time I opened my eyes, it was 9:15.

“Mom!” I whined, jumping out of bed and washing my hands in a frenzy. “I’m laaaaate! Why didn’t you—”

“Sweetheart, I warned you.”

With a sinking sensation I realized Mom meant business. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 676)