It was a balmy 110 degrees that day in June. The afternoon was heating up fast and Nicole couldn’t wait to get her birthday party started. Her parents had rented a laser tag center and stocked up on water balloons. Her friends and her were going to have the time of their lives – or so she hoped!
Nicole knew that children with summer birthdays in Arizona always had it the worst. Her friends were out of town on vacation; their parents dragging them out of the dry heat and into the cooler temperatures up North.
But Nicole’s family always stayed put. That’s because she shared her birthday with her grandpa.
When she was young, she loved having a birthday twin. Sharing her birthday with her grandpa meant getting extra snuggles on her special day, and extra treats. There was always a bigger party for her than for her sister whose birthday was in December.
Now, she was growing up. Now, she started seeing the downsides of sharing her birthday. She was too big to sit on her grandpa’s lap (even though sometimes, she still tried), so now she was just forced to bring him to her party every year.
What will my friends think? She worried. Will they still have fun even though my entire family is at the party?
She had tried to convince her mom to have two separate parties. Nicole tried to justify it by saying that none of her friends had their grandparents at their birthday parties, but her mom didn’t care.
You should feel special to share such a meaningful day with your grandpa, she’d said.
Nicole didn’t care.
She was at the age where adults were annoying and she wanted her privacy.
As the afternoon started to cool down, her friends arrived. First they’d have pizza and then they’d get to make their way through the laser tag tent.
The first person to arrive was Rachel. She was always in town and always in everyone’s business. Soon after, Nikki and Shannon showed up. Then her school crush, Jack arrived with his best friend Ben. The crowd continued to grow until she had all 15 of her friends there (15 wasn’t a lot considering how many people attended these types of parties during the school year).
The festivities kicked into high gear. Nicole tried to keep Jack away from her family so they wouldn’t embarrass her. Throughout the night, Nicole kept a close eye on everyone.
At about 7:00 p.m., her heart sank.
Nicole saw Jack sitting next to her grandpa and mom. What could they be saying? Nothing good, I’m sure of it!
Nicole stomped over, ready to give a piece of her mind and show Jack who was boss in this family. Then, something odd happened. Jack was laughing and smiling. Her grandpa was smoking his pipe and Jack seemed impressed.
Impressed? She thought. Impressed with MY family?
As she neared the conversation, she heard what all the fuss was about. Jack loved her grandpa’s pipe. He was admiring the hand carvings while the sweet smoke wrapped around his head. When Jack saw Nicole, he smiled. They struck up a conversation and as the night came to a close, Nicole knew that she’d be the cool girl when school started in August – her birthday wish had come true.