felt her eyes glaze over as she lay on her back, legs draped up
and over the back of the couch, head propped on a pillow, watching
TV. Still in her jammies, she lay where she had fallen after walking
in, zombie-like, from her bedroom.
By angling her head slightly to
the right, Mandie could see the sunny rays streaming through the
living room window that were causing an annoying glare just above
center on the TV screen. "Too bad no one's here to close the curtain
for me," she thought.
She flipped through channels using
the remote--all reruns. If only her best friend, Kim, would come
back from vacation, Mandie would have something to do. As it was,
Mandie had already painted her fingers and toes a half dozen times
this week, and every other activity she could think of sounded
too much like work.
Speaking of work, in came Mandie's
mom from pulling weeds in the garden, her shirt damp and clinging
to her from the effects of the glaring hot sun. A half sigh escaped
her lips as she eyed her recumbent daughter disapprovingly.
"Are you going to lie there watching
TV all day?" she asked, in a tone Mandie interpreted as nagging.
Her diagnosis was confirmed as her mother continued. "Have you
gotten around to cleaning that bedroom yet?" Mandie winced as
she heard a cupboard door open, "And if I'm not mistaken,
it was your turn to empty the dishwasher last night," her
mother continued with increasing exasperation. You need to turn
that TV off right now and get these jobs done, young lady."
Mandie heard her mother getting
a glass from the dishwasher and pouring some cool lemonade. She
pressed the off button on the remote, then lay still until she
heard the sliding door open and close, signaling her mother's
departure. Slowly sitting up, she yawned and squinted into the
bright sun with a pained expression. She felt groggy and tired.
"Some summer vacation," she thought.
"This is just stupid and boring. There's nothing to do but work--I'd
rather be in school."
She grabbed the phone on the way
back to her room, planning to call and commiserate with another
persecuted teen. From her bedroom doorway, she despairingly eyed
the chaos within, then shut the door, walked over to her bed,
climbed under the covers, and dialed the phone.
"Hi, Mrs. Sheldon, is Wren there?"
"No, she's not," Wren's mom replied,
"She and her dad are out racing sailboats."
"Really? I didn't know Wren knew
how to sail a boat!" Mandie replied.
"Well, she doesn't," Mandie could
hear the smile in Mrs. Sheldon's voice, "they're racing scale
model boats that they built themselves. They've been working on
them for a month,
and today's race was
sponsored by a local hobby shop. Grand prize is $100, and Wren
thinks they have a good chance of winning."
Mandie heard the enthusiasm and
even pride in Mrs. Sheldon's voice. She thought regretfully of
the contrast between Mrs. Sheldon's pride over her daughter's
accomplishment, and her own mother's disappointment in her inactivity.
She said "Goodbye" to Mrs. Sheldon and lay thinking for just a
moment. Then she extricated herself from the covers and went to
Hanging up clothing, filling the
laundry basket and the trash can, making the bed, vacuuming, dusting,
polishing, and rearranging knick-knacks kept Mandie busy for over
an hour. Finally finished, she showered and dressed, then went
quickly to the kitchen and put away the clean dishes.
The clock said it was nearly five
p.m. as Mandie peeked out the window to see her Mom starting to
put away her gardening tools. She looked hot. "Looks like I have
just enough time to make a cool dessert for dinner," she thought.
Mandie pulled two large bowls from
the cupboard, found boxes of vanilla pudding, milk, bananas, and
vanilla wafers. She mixed up the pudding in the first bowl, then
followed the directions on the back of the wafer cookie box, layering
cookies, bananas, and the pudding into the second bowl. Then she
deposited her finished product into the refrigerator. Finally,
she loaded the dirty bowl and utensils into the dishwasher and
wiped down the counter.
Her mom came in just as she was
"I see you're up and dressed," her
mom looked cautiously optimistic, "and it looks like you've been
putting the dishes away--are you finished?"
"Yes, I'm done. Do you need help
making dinner?" Mandie asked.
"That would be great--but right
after dinner I still expect you to clean your room," her mom answered
"Well, if you'll tell me how to
get started down here, you can go and freshen up before dinner,"
Mandie replied helpfully. "And on the way, you may want to stop
and take a look in my room as well."
Her mom responded with a questioning
look, and minutes later Mandie heard an exclamation of surprise
from her bedroom. Her mom came back and felt Mandie's head in
"Who are you and what did you do
with my daughter?"
Mandie smiled. "Wait until you see
what I made for dessert! And starting tomorrow, I have some much
more fun ideas I'd like to try…do you think that would
Her mom returned Mandie's warm smile.
"I think that would be just fine," she said.