Elena had been looking forward to her birthday for a long time, at least since Jenny’s birthday last October. For the past few weeks, she’s been counting down the days. I was sad to miss her waking up on Friday morning, so I got home as early as I could in the afternoon.
I brought gifts home, things that we definitely knew she wanted: a helium balloon and a new doll. She always likes to get balloons, and she had asked Jenny specifically for a new doll. We gave her the balloon as soon as she woke up from her nap, and Grandpa gave her two more balloons when he got home from work. We saved the other presents for after dinner.
We played for a little while, then video chatted with my parents, but had to get to dinner quickly, because according to Grandpa and Grandpa, the Red Robin gets busy early. It was especially busy that evening, filled with a surprisingly large number of fathers and daughters dressed up in their Sunday best. Curiosity finally got the better of me, so I asked one of the fathers what was going on, and found out that it was the night of the Fifteenth Annual Father Daughter ball. There were a lot of birthdays, so we kept seeing and hearing the waitstaff singing and clapping from different corners of the restaurant as they delivered birthday sundaes. Elena liked the festivity when it was far away, and wanted them to come sing to her, but they came up from behind when she wasn’t quite ready, which scared her a little bit. The ice cream helped her get over any lingering nervousness once the singing was over.
We waited for the cousins to meet us back at home before opening presents. Among the things she received were: a new dress, money to buy some new books, a soccer ball, a Doodle Penguin, and the aforementioned doll. She liked all of them, but Jenny and I were happy to hear her say “it’s just what I wanted” when she first saw the doll. After presents, we had another round of dessert, this time an ice cream cake care of Grandma and Grandpa. And of course we had lots of energetic playtime before bedtime. It was a happy day for all of us!
Although last Friday was Elena’s big day, I couldn’t help thinking about how far our whole family has come since that stormy night when she was born. It’s been a wild ride for all of us, but she’s been a great companion through all of our adventures and projects. We’re happy to have her in our family.