K. wandered up to my desk at the beginning of the day. She touched a tulip blossom.
“Oh, these are pretty! Why do you have flowers?”
“Mrs. V. gave them to me for my birthday,” I replied.
“It’s your birthday?” she asked, looking at me incredulously.
“Yes,” I said.
“You’ve got to tell everyone!” she insisted.
I laughed. “It’s not a secret,” I said, “but I don’t think I need to announce it.”
She stared at me for a long moment. Clearly this idea defied comprehension. “How old are you?” she finally asked.
“Oh,” she said. Then she repeated, “You’ve got to tell everyone it’s your birthday! Are you going to tell them at morning meeting?”
“Probably not,” I said, then laughed again at the expression on her face.
Later that morning after I walked my class out to recess, I returned to the room and sat down at my desk. There atop my stack of papers was a homemade birthday card. The cover was decorated with a picture of a cake emblazoned with the number 51. Inside was a cute drawing of a cat. Smiling, I remembered snack time and K asking me “casually” about my favorite animal. How did she manage to make that card without me noticing?
Heading back from lunch, I thanked her, “K. I love my card–especially the cat! Thank you so much!”
She beamed. Then she glanced at me sideways and confided, “I might have told a few people about your birthday.”
By the end of the day a small collection of surreptitiously created cards was piled on my desk. A sweet birthday surprise. Thanks, K!