Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Birthday A & K!

And just like that (*snap*), summer has come to a close. We returned home from vacation in the wee hours of Labor Day morning and changed from summer vacation mode to school preparedness mode in an instant. Our three kids attend two different schools, only one of which began today. Despite the fact that the other one will begin tomorrow, we heard a chorus of "it's not fair" with a smattering of  "can't I just miss the first day?" for effect. The first day back is tough on many people. I have always tried to arm our daughters with confidence on occasions such as this by reminding them of how wonderful they are and how nice it will be to reconnect with friends. As if that would ever work! The only thing that got people out the door this morning was the promise of a birthday celebration featuring red velvet cake for our two daughters who turn 13 years old today.  Thank goodness for birthdays and double thanks for red velvet! But most of all, I am so grateful for our wonderful daughters and I wish only good things for our two spectacular birthday girls!

It's not easy to tell one teenager, let alone three, that the answer's in a book, or two, so I held back this morning but I am now intent on having all three of our children read Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff, followed by Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter. The first is the biography of the last queen of Egypt, a brilliant and charismatic leader. The second is a fictional account of the life and times of her daughter, about whom we know even less than we do about her mother. In both accounts, mother and daughter were scholarly, exceedingly intelligent, powerful women who were born to lead. I hope teenagers will give the biography a chance because it's so got so much fascinating material about one of the most intriguing women of all time. If that seems like too much for some, though, there's no way around the fact that Cleopatra's Moon is just an exceptional story, exquisitely written. It's a novel I've discussed before because I savored every page and then couldn't wait to share it. I am a big fan of stories, real and made up, that feature brilliant and powerful women. All the better if they're compassionate too!

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