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She’s up at 5:30 am, the TV blaring. Loud enough that Scooby Doo penetrates the walls to my room, waking me from a pleasant dream that now escapes me.

She’s excited. It’s Pen Pal Picnic Day. At the beginning of the school year, her class was told that they would get pen pals from another school in our city. They have spent the school year learning letter structure, and envelope addressing, without realizing they were learning.

They were also told that at the end of the year, there would be a picnic. They will bus the other school to Paige’s school, and there will be games and merriment.

She has been waiting semi-patiently for one hundred and eighty days.

So, I was hardly surprised when the TV kicked on at 5:30, as she patiently waited for me to get up. “You’re up nice and early!” I don’t even pretend to be cross. The glee is written all over her face. “And, wow! That’s quite the bright outfit you’ve picked.”

“Well, our teacher told us it’s supposed to be NINETY degrees today. So I looked in one of my books that has a survival guide for desert conditions. It says to dress in bright colors and then the suns rays will just bounce right off you.”

I can’t contain my smirk. That’s desert conditions. At last check, New England has no deserts. I think it’s a little different when the air is so thick with humidity, you feel as if you may be partially submerged in water. I don’t think bright, bouncy clothes are going to help you there.

She topped her outfit off with bright pink sneakers, with yellow accents. To compiment her outfit of eye-blinding yellow, with pink accents. I hope her pen pal packed sunglasses.

She’s ready for the day, lunch packed, teeth brushed, hair subdued. But those sneakers…the laces are tricky, and don’t like to stay tied. Even if double knotted.

“Mom, I need your help with these laces. Trying to tie these sneakers is like trying to tame wild horses.”

Much like raising her.

I re-knotted them, and put everything I had into it when I tugged the laces to tighten them. And with that, she’s off to one of her last days of second grade. Looking brighter than the sun.