I don't remember what I had for dinner last night, or where I left my keys, but I do remember my tenth birthday. That was the year I received the best birthday gift a girl ever had.....
"Daddy’s home!" Paula screeched, flying to the kitchen door to greet him. Giggling with delight, she wrapped her arms tightly around his legs. “How’s my little Pumpkin?” he asked using his warm fuzzy voice. Bending down, he Peeled her off his legs and hoisted her high into the air….spinning her wildly til she squealed for mercy. Placing my sister gently on the kitchen chair, he turned around to look at me, “So, he asked, lifting his eyebrows, “how’s the birthday girl?"
“Good", I lied, not wanting to talk about it. I hated to hurt his feelings, but he familiar ache had returned to my chest, and the thought of celebrating without mama only intensified the pain.
Hoping to conceal my imminent tears, I walked over to my sister's chair and knelt down beside her.
“Look at you, Paula”, I scolded, yanking at Paula's shoe. It attempt to waste time, I spent the next several minutes fiddling with Paula's socks and pretending to tie up her laces.
“Here, my dad said finally, breaking the awkward silence, “maybe this will help.”
Swiping my cheek with the back of my hand, I brushed away the single tear that had managed to escape, then turned to him with a phony smile.
He didn't speak, but extended his hand and helped me to my feet, then, still silent, he pointed toward the kitchen table. There it sat, a lone gift. Loosely wrapped in what appeared to be a white paper bag, it was held together with a single piece of tape.
"Go ahead", he whispered, nodding toward the odd looking package. "Open it."
I could feel my face light up as I pulled away the last of the paper. "Ooooh", was all I could manage......breathing in the sweet scent of leather
With trembling fingers I carefully examined exquisite book. The color of caramel, its cover was adorned with impressive gold lettering; its exotic blank pages resembled parchment.
It's a diary", daddy began hesitantly, "I thought, well....whenever you’re missing mama….er…..whenever you’re feeling sad….. uh....I mean…..." his voice trailed off...
"It's okay, Daddy", I said, hugging him tightly. "I know exactly what you mean."
"So, you like it? he asked timidly.
"Yes, daddy, I love it," I answered, and hugged him around the neck." It is the best birthday gift a girl ever had."