Ten Years Later

"Make a wish!" Jo encouraged.

Christy squeezed her eyes shut and puffed her cheeks out. With one mighty puff she blew all the candles out, and all her guests cheered.

Today was Christy's tenth birthday. She had curly dark brown hair and brown eyes like her father and looked much like him, and she had inherited her musical aptitude from both her parents. She now had two younger brothers, James Robert Laurence and Dante Joseph Laurence, and a little sister, Victoria Rose Laurence. Dante had been named for one of Laurie's uncles. Laurie's mother had been one of ten children.

"What did you wish for, Christy?" asked Rob, the elder of Fritz and Jo's two sons.

"Not telling!" Christy sang.

"I'll bet I know," Jamie teased.

"Don't you wish!" his older sister retorted.

Beth had begun slicing the cake. She gave the first and largest piece to Christy and then passed slices out to the other children in turn.

"It's hard to believe she's already ten years old, isn't it?" Laurie moved to his wife's side and put his arm around her. The children finished eating and began playing ball.

"It does seem just yesterday she was a baby," Beth agreed. Little Vicky dropped the cookie she had been holding and began to cry. Beth picked her up, comforted her, and gave her another cookie. "She looks more like you every day, Laurie."

"She has your smile," Laurie said.

Jo's younger son, Teddy, toddled over, and Vicky offered the cookie to him.

"She's such a little sweetheart," Jo commented.

"Just like her Mama," Laurie said, hugging and kissing his wife. They were just as much in love as ever.

Daisy and Christy soon grew tired of the ball game and sat together underneath a tree talking.

"I was hoping that I would get them before I turned ten," Christy said, gazing with envy at Daisy's breasts.

"You have to be patient, Christy. I didn't have them until I was almost twelve," Daisy replied.

Jamie and Dante were engaged in a heated argument concerning a score in the ball game. They almost came to blows before Demi stepped between them and separated them.

"It looks as if everyone is enjoying themselves," Meg commented. "No, no, Josie," she said to her own toddler who was about to eat a flower.

"Yes, I'd say the party has been a success," Mrs. March agreed.

After awhile, the three toddlers, Vicky, Teddy, and Josie, were settled on the bed for a nap. Laurie took the older children for a ride in the carriage while Beth and her sisters cleaned up. When the toddlers woke up a couple of hours later, the Marches, Brooks, and Bhaers all went home. Laurie and Beth, tired from the busy day, went to bed early that night. Christy, thrilled with all her birthday presents, had a restful sleep with happy dreams.