Birthday Story

June 29, 2012

I’d been wracking my brain to figure out what Adrian’s 4 year old Birthday Story should be. Adrian, our grandson, still asks for his 3 year old Birthday Story that I told him last year, which was an adaptation of an old classic by Marjorie Flack, Ask Mr. Bear. It’s the story that I’ve used for 40 years with preschoolers on their special days, and it’s always been a hit. In fact, that’s the problem: how could I do better than this one? This is the one I’ve always used, and I just didn’t have another one that seemed to be as good. Certainly there are other classics to tell, but none fit with a birthday theme. I went to the library to get inspired, and read several, but they weren’t just right. Then I posted on facebook, asking my librarian friends for ideas. I thought about each of those that were suggested, but they didn’t seem like quite the thing either. As I was swimming my laps today in the college pool, I went over an original one in my head called “The Big Mistake” – because I HAD made a big mistake with his 4 year old birthday, so it would be a true one, and it had had a happy ending, so I thought that one might do.

Last Sunday was his 4 year old birthday party for his school friends. It was in Philadephia (where he lives), at a wonderful play place in Fairmount Park, and I soaked in every detail. But I’d thought I might have to miss it because of the mistake I had made. (I had scheduled myself “in” at the B&B and our neighbor, who usually subs for me, couldn’t fill in for me. So I thought David would have to go to the party without me. Aaugh! What was I thinking??) I finally realized that another friend could rescue me, which was what happened, so I got to go after all. So…this year’s Story could be about that. When I’d told Adrian that I had made a Big Mistake, it had made a big impression because he’d said very solemnly, “I make many mistakes,” so I thought it might be a good topic, and one that would highlight the solution: that love fixes ALL mistakes.

And who knows? He might just remember the point when he really needs to.

“Though Precious Auntie had been gone for all these years, I still heard her words, in happy and sad times, when it was important.” (The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Amy Tan, 2001, p 295.)

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