Talena was unhappy. It was the first day of school, but not for her. Talena was too little to go to school. Mother and her sister Laresa were hurrying around the house getting everything ready for this important day.
“Where is my other new shoe?” Laresa called. “I can’t find my writing book either.”
“Look in your drawer,” Mother suggested.
Never had Talena seen so much excitement, except maybe on Christmas morning.
“Why can’t I go to school too?” Talena asked.
“Next year you’ll be five and then you can go, honey,” Mother answered as she hurried down the hall with Laresa’s shoe.
“But I want to go today!” Talena insisted. However, everyone was too busy to listen to her.
Talena sat down and frowned. It’ll be awful to stay home without Laresa. There won’t be anyone to play with, she thought sadly as Mother came back down the hall.
“I wish I were five years old like Laresa, then I could go to school today,” Talena said.
“That’s right,” Mother said as she hurried past Talena.
Laresa was finally ready to go.
“Good-bye, Talena,” she called. “We’ll play together after school and I’ll tell you everything that happens to me today.”
“Good-bye!” Talena shouted after her sister.
“Be a very, very good girl,” Mother called to Laresa.
As soon as her older sister had gone, Talena ran to their bedroom. She took one of Laresa’s dresses out of the closet and put it on. Then she put on her play high heel shoes and carefully measured herself on the growth chart. It measured just right! She was as tall as Laresa. Hurriedly she slipped on her sweater and got her writing notebook out of the drawer.
“Mother,” Talena called. “I’m five now. Can I go to school?”
Mother looked at Talena with an understanding smile. “But you won’t really be five years old until July,” Mother said, giving her a hug.
“But I’m as tall as Laresa now and her dress almost fits me. I’m five now!”
Mother sat down beside Talena. “Years aren’t measured by how tall you are or by how big your dress is,” she said.
“They aren’t?” Talena began to frown again.
“No, years are measured by months. The only way you can become five is to wait until all the months have passed and July is here again. Then on your birthday you will be five years old.”
“Can’t I try to be five now?” Talena asked hopefully.
“No. All you can do is wait until July,” Mother said. “But I’m glad you’re still home with me.”
Talena walked back to the bedroom. She slowly hung up Laresa’s dress and began to pick up her toys. As she was working she had an idea. Faster and faster she worked until the room was all clean. She sat her dolls on her bed and put on her very best dress-up hat. Then she put on Mother’s old pink dress and got her dress-up purse.
“Now,” Talena said to her dolls, “I’m the teacher and you had better be very, very good children. It’s time for school to start.”