“Guys, I just saw an ad posted by Goldy’s Classics — she just got in all the latest styles,” said Ruchi during break time at Bais Bracha High School.

“Yum, I’m allowed one more Shabbos outfit. Can’t wait to go,” said Shani.

“Forget about me,” said Tami glumly. “The two dresses I got for Succos will have to last me the whole winter season.”

“There might be a sale soon,” consoled Ruchi.

“Forget it, by then there’ll be nothing left in my size,” said Tami sadly.

The bell rang, breaking up their conversation. The girls took their seats in Mrs. Lang’s Chumash class.

“Girls, please take out your Shemos.”

Sophomore year is miles more complicated than freshie year was, thought Tami as she flipped open her Chumash. Even my group is more complex. Who has enough money to keep up with them? she thought, frustrated.

“I said, please read the next pasuk aloud, Tami,” said Mrs. Lang.

Help! Tami searched her Chumash furiously while trying unsuccessfully to halt the red from creeping to her face.

Ruchi saved the day, whispering to her, “Pasuk vav.”

When she got home, Tami sat down with a handful of pretzels and a cup of cold orange juice. “Babysitting the neighbor’s kids today?” asked Mrs. Berger.

“No, Mom. I work on Mondays and Wednesdays, and today’s Tuesday.”

Tami felt a surge of delight at the mention of her babysitting charges, two-year-old Shimmy and five-year-old Raizy Rochman. She was sure they were the most adorable kids around. Shimmy’s eyes were like lustrous blue crystals. He always stared intently at Tami as she read his favorite story. And Raizy! Her shoulder-length golden curls were totally fairytale-like. She actually allowed Tami to brush them and apply bows and ribbons. Somehow, she knew just how to smile as she showed off her hairdo.

Tami probably would have watched the Rochman kids for free, but when Mrs. Rochman landed an afternoon job, she insisted on paying Tami properly for a steady twice-a-week babysitting job. The money came in handy, especially as sophomore year called for a variety of extras that Mom and Dad chose not to afford.

At four the next afternoon, Tami headed over to the Rochman home.

“Mommy, Tami’s here,” announced Raizy. The little ones didn’t even cry when their mother left.

As soon as Tami locked the door, she asked, “Who wants to hear a story?” They climbed up the sofa to sit on either side of their babysitter. Before she began, Tami took one look at Raizy and said, “Bring me a brush please, first we’ve got to do your hair.”

The three hours of babysitting felt like five minutes. When Yocheved Rochman came home, she gushed, “Wow, Raizy looks like a princess and Shimmy made such an original castle! Thanks,” she finished as she slipped in a five together with the regular payment.

“Hey, you don’t need to—” began Tami.

“You’re right, but I want to! I’m immensely grateful for the special attention you give my kids. My hours are totally not child friendly. I’m hoping to do morning hours in the near future. Would you believe my Sunday and Tuesday babysitter backed out on me? Her older sister is getting married and her mom needs help. I can take off a day, but I have to replace her ASAP!” (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 680)