Anne of Green Gables and turning 10
Twelve girls sat in a circle on the floor of my family room. The carpet down there is green, which any girl with a good imagination can imagine into a lovely lawn for a spring-time picnic. The girls were decked out in dresses and eating dainty sized treats from plastic plates. It was Gleek’s Anne of Green Gables birthday party, and everyone was participating fully in the spirit of the event. There was much discussion about being lady-like and What Things Were Really Like For Anne, as the girls ate gold fish crackers, PBJ sandwiches, mini fig newtons, and Kit Kat bars. It was the dainty afternoon-tea feel of the food that was important not true period-accuracy. Gleek sat among the girls, glowing with happiness.
“10 is like the perfect age.” Gleek said to me one night as she was carefully tucking her blanket around the sides of the bed. Blanket tucking was an essential ritual before crawling under the blanket to go to sleep. “10 year olds can do big kid stuff and still play. It is kind of like the middle.”
“That’s why it’s called tween, because it is between being a kid and a teenager.” I said handing her a stuffed animal.
“Tween.” Gleek said, savoring the sound of the word. “Being a tween is perfect. When I got to heaven, I want to be 10 forever.” She tucked the stuffed animal carefully into place before sliding her legs underneath the comforter. “And I want wings.”
After the Anne themed picnic, the girls gathered for a shadow play. The shadow puppet theater hid the two teenage girls from the sight of the twelve younger ones. These girls had never seen a shadow play before and they were fascinated by the way the shadows could move and seem life-like. There is no shadow play in Anne of Green Gables, but it feels right for the party. Similarly appropriate are the little paper fairy boxes that the guests construct out of printed paper and tape. The girls sang songs as they cut and taped. Twelve tweens singing in chorus is very charming.
I first introduced Gleek to Anne of Green Gables several years prior to the party. I felt the knowing Anne would be good for Gleek. She could see how an imaginative, impulsive, energetic, creative girl could grow from someone who was always in trouble into a person to be admired. Gleek listened to Anne’s adventures nightly via an audio book. I think it helped. I know that Gleek came to love Anne.
“Happy birthday to you!” sang the girls. Gleek blew out the candles on her cupcake, and everyone cheered. Beside Gleek were the presents she had unwrapped a few minutes earlier. Craft supplies, art supplies, clothing, make-up, and jewelry. She received no toys, and did not even notice that she had not. The party wound to an end and the guests went home.
Gleek is 10, just one year younger than Anne at the beginning of the book. Her life will be quite different than Anne’s in detail, but the themes will be strikingly similar. This is why Anne of Green Gables is still beloved generations after it was written. 10 is a threshold. Gleek has entered double digits. She is beginning to leave behind her toys and heading off to new interests. She is still small enough to scoop into my lap and snuggle, but big enough for ear rings and pop music. I have to agree with Gleek. 10 is pretty close to perfect and I’ve got 365 days to enjoy it until we’re off into the adventure that 11 will be.
Mirrored from onecobble.com.