The birthday party was a total success. Everyone had fun and looked great.
Clown costume was this year’s favourite.
Even though some people didn’t find it very fitiing.
And some people, on the other hand, didn’t need any costume at all.
Especially the kids, since they all hilariously chose a hot dog costume. Except for Etta. She did a more responsible concious choice and went for a veggie dog. Must be Devi’s doing.
Nobody could tell the hot dogs apart!
She also made a friend.
“I hope you’re a Jedi hotdog.”
And overall, everyone had a nice time, mainly the birthday boys. They both swirled into teenagehood with anticipation and optimism.
Amon was overjoyed that he finally reached the age limit for Simbook and he rushed to create a profile. It was a good place to check out his future high school classmates. Especially the female ones.
“Let’s see all the hotties!”
Seth waited until the fuss around the birthday party calmed down a bit and he sneaked outside while the guests were leaving to try on of the cocktails aunt Camilla forgot there.
He was expecting more, to be honest.
Not everything was new or exciting, though. Lots of things simply stayed the same. Seth and Etta were still the best homework buddies.
E: “You studied semi-permeable membrane today? What is that for?”
And Amon just replaced the monkey bars with more grown-up sports equipment.
“Let’s see if this old thing works.”
But Etta noticed some minor changes. Especially the willingness of her brothers to spend time with the rest of her family. Or the lack of it, to be more precise. Most of the time, they barely saw them. Seth was always locked up in his room or study, reading or using the computer for hours. They only knew he was home when he went looking for food. Unlike Amon who usually wasn’t home at all.
Melia quickly noticed their independence, too. And she got an idea.
M: “Looks like our sons are getting pretty self-reliant, aren’t they, Chris? And stop taking pictures of your food already.”
C: “Sorry, love. But the parfait looks so good with almonds and raspberries… Anyway, now that you mentioned it, you’re right. I feel like I didn’t see the boys for days!”
“Maybe you didn’t. They always have better plans than hanging out with us these days. “
“You can’t blame them, Mel, they’re teenagers.”
“I don’t blame them. When I was their age, I’d do anything to get away from my siblings. But I was, at least, being useful. They should be, too. And do you think I should add other berries into the mix? Blackberries, maybe?”
“I don’t think so, it’s good as it is. Maybe add some powdered chocolate next time. And boys could help you with the garden, couldn’t they? It worked for you back then.”
“I don’t know, they’d do more harm than good in the garden. But they could find part-time jobs to help with finances. You already work too much and the older they are, the more they want.”
“Well, good luck persuading them, then.”
“I’m kidding, just kidding! I’ll talk to them. It would be nice if they could pay for gym membership and video games with their own money.”
But the truth was, he wasn’t really sure how to bring it up. He realized Melia was always the one to do all the talking about serious stuff with the kids and he didn’t know where to start. He surely didn’t want to make it sound like they’re lazy or something.
He decided to search through some parenting sites first. He knew Melia’s mother had some luck with them when she was battling sibling rivalry of her kids, so who knows. Maybe he’d find some good tips there.
C: “Let’s see – The Benefits of Part-Time Jobs – interesting, I didn’t know there were any…”
But before he could read anything, Etta barged into the room with curious smile on her little face.
“Daddy! Are you working again? Why do you work so much?”
“What? Why do you think I work too much?”
“Mama said so. When we were eating breakfast. Don’t you remember?”
Of course he remembered. But he didn’t expect her to do so.
Chris sighed. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to have a conversation about financial planning with his ten-year-old daughter. And if it wasn’t Etta, maybe he wouldn’t bother. But he knew that once she asked nothing could stop her from getting the answer, so he went for it. It could be a good training for later, after all.
C: “Come here, cupcake, I’ll tell you something. The truth is… I work so much because I believe all dreams can come true – you just gotta make them happen.”
E: “All dreams? Even the one where I became a butterfly fairy and lived in a tiny flower house? Could that happen, too?”
C: “No. No, I don’t think so. I meant the other kind of dream, you know. Like a toy you really long for or something like that.”
E: “Aha. I see. And what do you long for, Dad?”
C: “Well, ever since I was a young boy, I dreamt about having my own restaurant. Then I met your mom and she wanted the same thing. We used to spend hours visiting diners around here or cooking for each other. our love for food really brought us together.”
E: “Oh, I wish you’d opened the restaurant! That would be so nice! I could be helping with measuring and stirring and cutting dough every day!”
C: “You certainly could. But, well, restaurant are expensive and… and we always needed the money for something else. Like electricity bills and school fees and house renovations… simply lots of boring grown-up stuff you don’t have to worry about.”
C: “But it’s not too late! That’s why I need to work hard every day. Because if you work hard, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Remember that.”
E: “I will, I promise. I’ll work just as hard as you one day!”
C: “Oh, sweety. I truly hope it won’t be necessary. I’m doing this so you don’t have to.”
E: “Maybe i don’t have to, but I want to. I’m gonna help Mom with potatoes now, to improve my peeling skills!”
“Okay, my little kitchen maid. Make sure not to hurt yourself, though.”
But Etta was barely listening at that point – the excitement made her partly deaf.
In the evening Melia was amused and surprised.
“Etta was on fire today! What did you tell her?”
“Nothing, really. She’s just ready to jump at every learning opportunity.”
“I know she is. And what about boys? Did you talk to them?”
“No. Amon is still not home. And Seth, well, he couldn’t talk because he was… how did he say it? Raiding? Something like that.”
“Why am I not surprised? Maybe I should try next time. I mean it. They are old enough to help out.”
“You work hard your whole life. I think it’s time to slow down at your age.”
“Hey! My age? What is that supposed to mean?”
“Just that you’ve got ridiculously hot lately and I blame it on your silver hair.”
“Aaah. Of course, you do. You are a materialistic girl, after all, aren’t you?”
“And you are my winning ticket, love.”