After a delicious lasagna, French bread, salad and of course, cake (which Mrs. P swore Sarah was a natural baker) and ice cream, Mrs. P ushered them to sit in the living room. Mrs. P and Sarah left the room for a minute while a nervous Kate and a cheery Spencer chatted.
Sarah walked back into the room with a huge grin on her face and a wrapped package in both hands. “Here, Mommy! This is for you!” She carefully handed over the package and waited for Kate to open it.
Kate gently took it from her and ripped the pink and white striped paper to reveal a brass photo frame with a beautiful picture of Sarah dressed in a pretty dress Kate had never seen before. “Oh, Sarah, it’s beautiful! Thank you,” she gave her a big hug. “I love it. I think you and Mrs. P had a secret, didn’t you?”
“I couldn’t tell you, Mommy; it was a surprise.”
“Well, it’s a wonderful surprise. I know just where I want to hang it.” She thanked Mrs. P and showed the picture to Spencer. “Very pretty,” Spencer agreed.
“She can take the dress home now. She wanted to take it last week when we took the picture, but I explained why she couldn’t yet.”
“You shouldn’t have gone to the expense—”
“It hardly cost anything at all, and it was my pleasure. My grandkids are older and far away, and it was quite fun.”
“Thank you,” Kate said. She hoped Mrs. P hadn’t gone to a lot of trouble.
“Here’s a little something from me,” Mrs. P handed her a pink and purple striped gift bag.
“You shouldn’t have!” Kate admonished. “The excellent dinner was enough!”
“It isn’t much, don’t worry.”
Kate pulled out a wad off tissue paper and found a gift card to the movies, one to a local Mexican restaurant and a homemade coupon for evening babysitting for whenever Kate wanted.
“Wow, this is really nice, thank you.” Kate was a little embarrassed, but tried to play it down. “I will definitely make use of these, thanks again.” She got up and gave Mrs. P a quick hug.
“You’re welcome. I hope you are having a nice birthday.”
“I am, thanks to all of you.” Kate returned the cards and coupon to the bag.
“My turn. This one first.” Spencer handed her a large rectangular box.
Kate took the large box but it didn’t seem too heavy. “Hmm. What could this be, I wonder?” She looked at Sarah. “Any guesses?”
“Good guess. Let’s see.” Kate tore the flowered paper and opened the box. Inside was a light blue soft robe. “Oh, my. This is really soft.” She took it out of the box, stood up and slipped it on. “This will come in handy this winter for sure.” She tied it around her waist and left it on, feeling the fabric under her fingers. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. I’m glad you like it. This one’s next.” He handed her a smaller rectangular box to unwrap and it was a box of Russell Stover (R) Truffles. “Yum, these are some of my favorites. Thanks.”
“And here’s the last one,” he handed her a small rectangle box. Uh, oh. Kate wondered what was inside this one, and it made her heart beat faster. She unwrapped a velvet box, lifted the lid and found a beautiful cross pendant on a delicate gold chain. Set in the center of the cross was a small diamond.
“Spencer-” Kate used her exasperated voice, as in ‘you know better.’
Spencer knew what was coming and cut her off. “Don’t say I shouldn’t have, because I should have. Just put it on.”
She gave him a withering look but gently removed it from the card in the box and dangled it, holding it around her neck. “Need help?” Spencer asked.
“Yes, please.” She scooted down on the sofa so he could reach her. “It’s soooo pretty, Mommy.” Sarah watched as Spencer latched the clasp and Kate said, “Thanks. It is beautiful.” She gave him a quick hug.
“Happy Birthday, Kate.”
Kate went to bed that night thinking that it was.
Until next time,