It’s “International Happiness Day,” an appropriate time to share my granddaughter’s birthday celebration with you.
My husband and I picked Gracie up early that morning to give her mother, heavy with child, some extra time. Across the back wall were decorations in pink polka dots. On the table below were jars of matching confections to make children’s mouths water and grown-ups too. High on the kitchen counter, adorable chocolate covered “Cake-Pops” to match the heads of Mini-Mouse were stuck on a sticks of white.
Together, we visited the “Butterfly House” where the climate was warm and temperate. Flying above and about, we saw shades of blue and yellow, orange and cocoa too. So close, their wings touched our faces leaving sprinkles of velvet dust. Like fairy tales. Except this was real for us to see and feel. Like magic….
Next, we rode antique horses to dancing music on a famous covered Carousel. Our steeds pranced up and down and all around. We raced one another until Gracie’s happened to come in first. One ride wasn’t quite enough. Two was better, three was ‘just right.’ Like the “Three Bears,” without their beds I think. Off to the side of the Carousel was a children’s playground built for all ages in colors of primary plastic. We watched our granddaughter open her mouth to show seed pearls, flying down slides with arms up in the air. At times, we stuck our heads through blue plastic holes to surprise her as she skipped towards hiding spots. We delighted in her giggles, feeling like children again.
Then it was off to lunch where we tied a bib, tested Gracie’s soup for temperatures not too hot while helping her reach for a cup of milk. After finishing, she dug in grandma’s ‘Secret’ bag, sticking her head far down into the middle until she seemed to disappear. What would she find that day? A book? A doll? Cups for tea? It was all three. At the table we sat and played, pretending to drink milk from pink plastic cups with fancy handles while teaching her to say, “Cheers.”
Later it was time for Gracie’s party. Her mother had worked so hard, planning each detail perfectly. It couldn’t have been better if a reality show had been hired. Absolutely divine it was, with ruffled flowers in pinks and greys, a cake in Mini-Mouse and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut in shapes to match.
Most endearing was a story Gracie’s mother recently shared with me. Long after the party was over, when chocolate cake and pink icing had been wiped away from an innocent rosebud mouth for the very last time, darkness fell within the nursery. Silver moon beams peeked through window panes. After prayers were said and stories read, an angel’s face looked up to tell her adoring mother about her day. Expecting to hear of presents, toys, and birthday cake, my daughter-in-law was surprised by the words her toddler of a ‘new’ two had to say.
Above a white wooden crib, tiny hands reached to count little fingers one by one. Gracie had a name for each of them. In her imagination they represented special friends she had seen earlier that day. With no care for presents wrapped in glittered paper or shiny bows, the gifts most precious to her were little girls and little boys. Under warm rays of a March sun they held hands and sang songs while dancing to breezes that whispered secrets through wisps of blowing hair.
They shared life. That’s what mattered most to her.