You just have to pretend that today is the 29th of September, and not the first day of October (oh, hello, October!), alright? Good.
On your birthday, you’d typically expect to wake up to the delicious smell of breakfast being carried right to your bed. Maybe you’d get bacon and pancakes and cocoa to eat. But being poked and prodded by your best friend, having your cheeks pinched and your nose wiggled back and forth . . . that’s not exactly the best wake-up-it’s-your-birthday thing.
Of course that’s what I got.
I cracked one eye open groggily and peered up at Molly. “Could you stop?” I moaned, scowling at her.
She smiled and pinched my cheek one more time.
I rolled onto my side so I was facing her. “It’s my birthday.”
I dragged myself sluggishly out of bed. Molly helpfully found my glasses for me and stuck them on my face, prodding the end into my eye before she got the glasses on correctly.
The weird thing about birthdays here is that you never know when the party will happen, if ever. We might celebrate before school, at lunch time, at ten-o-clock at night. It could be a week after your special day before anyone remembers your birthday.
The way Molly was helping to put my glasses on told me that we might celebrate in the morning.
I wandered sleepily toward the stairs, but as I turned away from the bunk bed that I shared with Molly I saw ALL of my sisters crammed into the right side of the third floor. When I spotted them, they shouted, “Happy birthday!” in several languages: English (of course), Spanish, French, Greek, even Latin.
It made my inner nerd happy.
Growing more awake by the second, I made my way over to my family and sat down in front of my presents. Our cat, who was recently given the name Lyric, strutted over to me, and I scratched her behind the ear. She purred with pleasure.
“So, which present should I open first?” I asked once Lyric had walked away. I probably sounded rather rude, blurting that out and not thanking them for the cool multilingual “happy birthday.” But I’d just woken up, and my sisters knew that I couldn’t function normally until about ten AM.
“One of the small ones,” Molly replied.
There were two small presents — one wrapped in purple, the other green — and I selected the green one first. I’ve always loved trying to guess what was in a box by the sound it makes, so I shook the gift back and forth beside my ear. All I heard was a faint jingle.
Not knowing what it could possibly be, I decided just to go ahead and open the gift.
I ripped off the chartreuse paper and found, lying inside a clear plastic box, a sky-blue headband and a bracelet with lime, tangerine, and amethyst-colored beads.
I blinked. “Pretty,” I remarked. I actually did like them; I was just too tired to put my feelings into words. “Thanks.”
“We thought the headband matched your eyes,” Caroline began softly. “Do you like it?”
“Yeah, thanks,” I said again, tying the bracelet around my ankle.
Pushing the green present’s wrapping aside and promising the try the headband on later, I grabbed the purple present. It was heavier than the last one, but I still couldn’t figure out what was in it by shaking it. I carefully peeled the iris-colored paper off the gift and found . . .
. . . a box if chamomile tea and a white mug with a hot pink flower painted on it.
“It’s so British!” I exclaimed gleefully. In truth, it didn’t really look British, but tea always reminds me of home.
That left two gifts — both were huge, and I didn’t have the slightest clue as to which one I should open next. I glanced up at Molly and raised an eyebrow. Which one?
We were really quite good at communicating through subtle gestures, so when Molly shrugged, I knew that she was saying, Doesn’t matter.
I chose to open the tawny gift bag first. I pulled out handful after handful of amethyst tissue paper, but I didn’t find anything. They must have hidden the present really well . . . Finally my hand brushed against something hard, and I pulled the thing out of the bag.
It was a doll! She had silky blonde hair and wore an orange halter dress. I squealed and hugged her against my chest.
Only Molly knew how much I’d wanted a doll. She must have convinced my family to buy one for me!
“Thank you so much!” I shouted. I fanned my face so I wouldn’t cry. I finally had a doll . . . “Did she come with a name?” I inquired after I’d calmed down a little bit.
“Kelsie, I think,” Savannah supplied. “Of course, you can change it if you want to.”
I shook my head. The name was perfect.
Tracy pointed at the last present: a giant limegreen box. “Are you going to open it?”
I didn’t know what could be better than a doll, but I figured I should probably open the last gift, just in case it was something incredibly awesome. As I pulled the box towards me, it made a weird wimpering sound. My interest suddenly piqued, I scrambled to open the box.
Inside was the tiniest, cutest creature ever. A little black-and-white puppy, but smaller than any dog I had ever seen. It looked up at me with these huge, trusting eyes, and it seemed to smile at me.
Molly leaned over my shoulder and started chattering. “He’s really cute, isn’t he? And do you see how small he is? That’s because he’s a teacup puppy! A dalmatian, too. What are you going to name him? Do you like him? I hope you do, it is your birthday after all, Emily . . .”
I barely heard her, as I was completely lost in his sweet, gigantic eyes.
Then I blinked and asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?”
“Boy,” Molly replied. “I told you already.”
“Sorry,” I said sheepishly, rubbing the dog’s — my dog’s — head. “I wasn’t really listening.”
Suddenly, my puppy grabbed my new headband in his mouth and took off. I instantly jumped up and chased after him, scolding him affectionately as I ran. And the delighted way he looked at me as I pursued him reminded me so much of a certain character from Heroes of Olympus that in that moment I knew exactly what I would name him.
So, Emily’s birthday was on September 29th, but I didn’t get around to making a post about it until now. That seems to happen a lot, actually . . .
Anyway, I hope you liked the photostory!