I went to lunch with Beth and Ruth yesterday. We had a very nice server, who took good care of Ruth and me while we waited for Beth. I screwed up my rudeness courage, told the server I liked her haircut and could I take a picture to show my granddaughter. She went down to camera level for the front, then the back, and told us in cosmetology terminology exactly how the cut is made. That was over my head.
She is growing out the same basic cut as Emily has, and this is its current iteration. After school I showed it to Emily, who needs a haircut. Emily would leave the long side a bit longer, but have the back cut identically. However, she is waiting for the teal to fade more so she can have it dyed purple (I think). I like the cut so much I’ll do it myself, next trip to the barber.
It’s only a week since the holidays ended, a week back to school and work. I try very hard to focus on the good and bright spots of being an old grandma in charge of two abandoned girls, and work on the hard spots in the background. Offstage. The second semester of the school year began Monday. It is going well for Emily; so well she has almost left us in spirit and is waiting for her body to transport to college, too.
I asked her jokingly if she has selected her roommate yet, and learned she is about to open that module of the Hiram website. I saw all this happening in my mind’s eye last fall. Band uniforms had to go to the cleaner after the last football game, and the dry cleaner receipt turned in. Seniors, however, had to turn in the uniform, too. I asked about the Memorial Day parade. “I won’t be marching in that!” replied the young woman who has lived and breathed marching band since I dropped her off for camp, four years ago.
But I can see the sadness index rising for Laura. She was ten when she landed here, a hardened little soul with no father, an absentee mother, the tail end of a string of siblings not much interested. I didn’t help a lot in the beginning. I treated Emily and Laura as a unit, sending them to the same summer and after school activities. Emily, of course, flourished and Laura tagged along. My great epiphany a couple of years ago sent Laura off on her own, to drama and art classes. She had the courage to try for and be accepted as a sixth grader to the jazz band.
Laura’s her own person now, with long hair of many colors, thanks to her art box of felt markers. She wears tall boots and denim jackets, and hasn’t resolved losing her first, false “boyfriend” last summer. Her father showed up for the first time in a year at Christmas and her sister is leaving in a few months. It’s tough to be fourteen. Her sad little face has come home no happier all week, and no changing it.
I climbed the many steps to Mrs. P’s art studio yesterday to fetch Laura, rounded the corner and heard peals of laughter from the studio. Mrs. P. hurried out. “I have to block you right here, while Laura finishes up. It’s a secret.” Mrs. P is half my size, and I laughed out loud. Laura came out laughing, and I got a hug. Next class is the big reveal of the fashion project they have worked on since summer. Emily and Aunt Janice are invited, too.
Laura’s Christmas blues are not banished, but they are lifting. Regular routine is a good thing, Mrs. P and her art class one of my salvations. We will work harder at happy these next several months; Emily will only be a phone call away, Laura will go to marching band camp in August and we’ll see what she thinks of being the only child.
There are no paper report cards during the year; the electronic cards were released yesterday. No matter the other issues in their lives, both these girls stay focused at school. Perhaps it’s the best constant in their lives. Each made the honor roll, with distinction. And Laura aces gym, now. It’s a long time since fifth grade, when she failed gym because she wouldn’t do push-ups.
Laura - A in gym