Em just finished my all-time favorite tween romance. Fifteen by Beverly Cleary. Since Salina Gomez got her all pumped about Ramona and Beezus again, she has been devouring all the Cleary books in the house.
I confess, when she reached for my old dog-eared copy, I discouraged her a little. "That's kind of a teenage book, Emmie. About a girl who wants a boyfriend." Well, duh, Mom. She was all over it. A few nights I even tiptoed in to read a chapter with her and it was pure pleasure.
Can I just say Beverly Cleary ROCKS?! I mean, this book was originally published in 1956. It was old-school when my mother read it. The dad smokes a pipe, for Pete's sake. The best friend wears a girdle. No one is texting or online. But the writing focuses on emotions and relationships that are timeless.
When she got to the last page, that climactic moment when Stan finally gives Jane his ID bracelet and a chaste 1956 kiss, Emmie's eyes were shiny.
My little girl is growing up. She is babysitting (a little) and on the phone with old and new friends (a lot). Her moods have always been less predictable than her brothers', but now that she's almost in the double-digits, I find I have to tiptoe even more carefully. Just yesterday, I was teasing her (a little too publicly, I guess) about something we'd always laughed about. But this time, she burst into tears. Yikes.
And that was just the school nurse on the phone, calling to say Em is in her office with a headache. She forgot her glasses. Again.
Time to go. Life with tweenagers is not all a Beverly Cleary romance, if you know what I mean.