Sleep is not an easy thing to come by in the Tubbs household these days. At least not for Johnny and Lydia, who share a room with their youngest son, Mason.
He’s adorable, to be sure, and the apple of their eyes on most days, but not so much at 5 am when they’re wanting an hour more sleep before work and he’s ready get up and meet the day with all the curiosity a toddler possesses.
But still, they love him and wouldn’t trade all the hours off missed sleep for one moment of time with him.
Because Johnny and Lydia are finally learning the one thing Johnny’s mom, Ida Mae, learned years ago... the reason she insists upon family meals at the kitchen table (such as it is in this dinky trailer kitchen)...
Children grow up too soon. One minute, they’re happily playing with Earnie, the family dog...
… and the next thing you know, they’re celebrating the birthday their parents have been both dreading and looking forward to for most of the year...
Marilee was finally a teenager. In addition to her family, Christopher Birmington is there to wish her a happy birthday. She has an awkward transition... well, what teenager doesn’t have an awkward-looking phase?
But after a bit of a makeover, she’s pretty happy with how she looks. Now she’s all ready to join the ranks of the teenagers of Moon Island... going to high school... dating...
Yes... DJ is finally dating someone... Elizabeth Ng, an exchange student from the far away Three Lakes mountains. DJ loves hearing her talk about Three Lakes... the mountains sound so beautiful the way Elizabeth describes them... and she swears she’s even met the elusive, legendary Big Foot. Most people at school don’t believe her, but DJ holds it to his heart as gospel truth.
Someday, he would love to go there with her.
Funny, how this poor family lives on dreams of “someday.” Someday when there’s more money. Someday when we’re a little better off.
Someday is a little closer now than it used to be. Ida Mae has been tending her garden all year, and despite a late planting season, she is rewarded with an impressive harvest of hearty winter tomatoes.
She tucks a few of them away to can, so her family can eat for the winter... the rest, she quickly sells at the market for a hefty profit. Everyone in the neighborhood is happy to have fresh veggies so close to winter.
Ida uses the money for the next birthday on the calender... Mason’s. The little guy has learned everything he can as a toddler and it’s finally time for him to grow up and start school, too.
He’s given a bed in DJ’s room, who is thrilled his little brother isn’t a drooly baby anymore, but less thrilled to be sharing a bedroom. DJ likes having his privacy... a perk of being the oldest child for so long.
Not that this minor set back keeps him from being the cool big brother he’s always been.
With all of her grandkids finally in school, Ida Mae is alone at home during the day. It’s plenty of time to finish up all the house chores, plan meals and make future plans for the spring planting. In the back of her mind, she misses the days when the patter of little feet filled the air and she had babies to snuggle and read to. But it’s a happy sort of missing them, too. Ida’s life has been full and wonderful...
… even if there’s teen drama to contend with in the months to come!
The question is... what will happen in the months to come? Will the family, even with a little extra income now that Johnny, Lydia and Earnie are all working, be able to send DJ to college? Will Marilee stay friends with Mylie Stanton now that she’s a teenager? Or will they be rivals for some boy’s affections?