narrated by: Lizzie
We lived a very routine life, I would come home from school and often find Mom resting on Dad’s hammock before her shift at the restaurant.
She’d go over a list of things that I had to do that evening, most of which were very much obvious. Both of my parents are fine by me, but Mom has the tendency to be more of an annoyance than Dad.
Me and Dad get each other. We get our work done, but our passion is the train table. Every evening that Mom works, me and Dad are out in the garage adding signs and buildings. It has really come along over the years, and while Mom doesn’t understand, she doesn’t put a stop to it.
When Mom is home though, she tends to have a million little things for us to work on. Dusting this or organizing that. She detests clutter and the wasting of time. If we are lucky, we get to watch a tv show before bed, but it’s never exactly a thriller. She doesn’t like anything that is popular, so I can’t contribute to conversations on media at school.
All in all though, I had no complaints. I might have enjoyed having one of my siblings living at home still, but they’ve been gone so long that it’s really more a whimsy than a remembrance or yearning.
But everything changed in the beginning of April. There had been a gas leak in Millwood, and apparently none of the stay at home people in town bothered to turn it in. It wasn’t near the commercial section, just residential, and apparently it stemmed from our house. Mom had been visiting with Peter, and called me at school to say the majority of the house was lost in a gas explosion. They were able to salvage a few items from my bedroom, being the farthest from the leak, but still it was mostly a few dolls.
We had to move, and start everything over. At first, I was devastated. It was the only home I ever remembered, though Mom and Dad had moved around frequently with my big sisters and brother. They had never led that lifestyle with me.
Mom and Dad involved me in the house search, and they downsized from three bedrooms to two. There isn’t even a garage, and our entire train table was lost. Mom says that when I move out that Dad can turn my room into a train room. But that just cut out what we do on our evenings home for the rest of my childhood.
Dad was disappointed, but when he found the price to be quite affordable, and realized that they were getting a large sum of money back from the insurance agency, he was singing a different tune. Now he has retirement on the horizon, which was something they thought would never happen.
I’m so glad that our dog was okay, he could have died in it all like Mom and Dad’s fish had.
While I wish it had never happened, it turned out to bring some better changes. Suddenly we have money. We aren’t like the Rockefellers here, but we are going out to eat almost every weekend. We never ate out before, well Mom and Dad might, but never with me.
It’s exciting to be part of a crowd, especially with so many local Millwood residents. It makes me excited for the weekend, and to be part of this small town. I hope that one day the waitresses know me by name, and by my favorite meal to order. That is why I always order the same thing, one day they’ll get it!
Mom is much more relaxed now too. She isn’t as nit-picky about cleaning things up, mostly because we lost everything and with it all the clutter. She decorated the house to have positive energy, and says that she feels much more at home there than the old house.
My sister, Lauren has told me countless times that Mom isn’t very good at being maternal. But I just don’t get that from her. She always listens to my stories of school, and asks about my friends if she knows they’re going through something. Of course, Dad is better at it all than Mom, but I’ve never felt her lacking when she isn’t at work.
From their stories, I think that our parents have changed over the years and that I have a completely different childhood from them.
After our late lunch, we even walk around town. I can’t believe that Millwood is actually getting a shopping district. New places are coming this summer, and I am most anxious to see what they have in store.
Without the train table though, I find home life more boring than ever. I get my homework done, and Mom bought Dad a hammock replacement. He’s pretty content out there in his quiet place.
We both devour the newest train magazines when they arrive on the doorstep. I get home from school before Dad does from work, so I usually squirrel it away in my room so I can read it before he takes it to the hammock.
Mom invited Meg, Peter, and his wife, Elise to dinner. Mom insisted she would invite Lauren and Isaac if the house was larger. She’s made peace that holidays won’t be easy to host anymore. I think it was a slight for sure, we have barstools, and our own laps if we sat on the sofa. I stay out of Mom and Lauren’s relationship though.
Mom keeps prying about them having a baby, and I can tell that Elise hates it. Peter does his best to change the subject, but I can tell they aren’t happy that it’s taking so long to conceive.
Mom had me at 52, she doesn’t get infertility. It’s not that I’m a 12 year old expert, but I can see they are uncomfortable with it. I don’t ever mention it, and figure when they do get pregnant, that they will tell us.
Dad is great at changing the subject. Elise adores him much more than Mom.
Meg is successfully avoiding the limelight with Peter’s baby-making failures the topic of choice. I know that she’s seeing a guy named Jaron, but only Peter and Lauren have met him. She hasn’t even mentioned him to Mom and Dad yet. I think it’d be odd to not tell my parents I had a boyfriend, but my big siblings all have their little secrets.
I like Elise, but I’m just a kid to her, whereas I’m a kid-sister to Peter. The distinction is important, and makes me much closer to my brother than his wife. I wonder when I grow up, if we will all be friends, or if I’ll always be too young for the adult conversations.
In the meantime, I’ve been having fun with my friends. Leaving elementary school behind has been the greatest thing, and I always liked school. Now I’m great friends with Vivienne and Cicely and Dad always takes us all to Mixed-Tape to hang out. It’s for teens, but it’s mostly us tweens that haunt the place.
There was even a boy named Sawyer who seemed to like me. I never considered that a boy might like me, it always seemed far reach, more like something that happened to my older sisters.
He even complimented me, and asked if anyone had ever told me I was pretty before. The answer is of course yes, but only if my parents count, which I know enough to not say that.
But then I said something that he was totally bored with. He couldn’t even feign interest as I’ve been taught to do all my life.
I was even more wounded when I was playing pool with Vivienne, and he seemed to flirt with Cicely.
Everyone likes Cicely. She isn’t even super extroverted like Vivienne, but I guess she’s just someone that everyone can be natural with. I know that I’m honored she considers me one of her best friends.
She insists that her secret is not taking herself too seriously, though neither her or Vivienne are ever serious about much. When I see them with their Mom, I often wonder how they are her kids. Perhaps their Dad, Zeke was more silly in his youth? Though I can’t even imagine that ether.
Cicely cheered me up about Sawyer by mimicking her Dad, with his serious expression, and attempts at explaining things. He doesn’t often try to be humorous, but he always makes me laugh anyway.
We ended up having a good time, just hanging out the three of us. I know eventually boys like Sawyer will try to screw up our friendship, it seems every teen novel is based on the horrible love-triangle, but for now I feel pretty safe with my friends.
By the end of the month, my only complaint was that I didn’t have flawless skin like my friends. Pimples are plaguing me, and everyone in the family says that I’m just like Peter in this way. I’d rather be like him with mad-skills at painting, not a predisposed condition for acne.
Vivienne gave me some of her acne cream to try, and here’s hoping that I don’t have to spend all summer trying to cover my zits with my bangs.
Notes: The house loss was an ROS. They lost their house but were able to save a handful of items. I changed it to a gas leak, because the natural disaster I had rolled, doesn’t actually happen in Washington. I had them as fully-insured, so they got the value of their previous house and are sitting the best they ever have.
Sawyer is a townie that flirted with Lizzie then moved on to Cicely. And everyone really loves Cicely, but both of the twins are really quite nice, well-liked, and terribly goofy. They really aren’t much like their parents in that regard, and I love their antics. I really like this age of young friends, before the full complications of boyfriends/girlfriends set in.
Thanks for reading, and hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!
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