When I woke this morning, I knew it was a special day. My Dad winked at me over the breakfast table.
“Don’t forget, today is your birthday, and I have a very special surprise for you.” Dad smiled as he finished his coffee and kissed Mom good-bye. After he left for work, I asked Mom what the surprise was, but she wouldn’t say anything.
All day in school I tried to figure out what my Dad could possibly be getting for me that was so special – and so mysterious. I asked Kathy, my very best friend, what her Dad got her for her 9th birthday.
“Oh, I got the neatest new bike, and some clothes and junk.”
“But I’ve already got a bike, and I really don’t need any new clothes. What could he be getting for me that I need?”
I walked home from school with Kathy, and we parted at the corner. We usually talked for awhile, but not today. I just had to get home in a hurry.
“Mom!” I yelled from the front yard, “has my present come yet?”
“No, come on in and change your clothes. Help me get this salad ready for dinner.” Mom was in the kitchen washing the lettuce. I didn’t see any sign of a birthday cake, so I figured she had hidden it somewhere to surprise me. I was 9 years old today, almost too old for a birthday cake, but I guessed that Mom would have made one anyway.
“Why don’t you answer the door, Janie?” Mom said when the doorbell rang a few minutes later. I dashed to the door, knowing that it was for me.
A boy from the florist shop was standing on the porch with a box in his hand.
“Is Janie Johnston here?”
“Yes, I’m Janie, but why would you be bringing me flowers?”
“Beats me, kid, but that’s the name on this card.” He handed me the box with a big white envelope that was addressed to me. I opened up the card, it was from my Dad, and on the inside he had written, “I will pick you up tonight at 6:30. Wear your best dress.” The corsage in the box was made of beautiful lavender orchids with tiny white flowers and green lacy ribbons. It was the most beautiful corsage I had ever seen.
Dad picked me up at 6:30 sharp. He was wearing his new suit, and I had my pink dress with the white bows on. Mom said we made a striking couple. When we got into the car, I asked where we were going.
“Well,” Dad was smiling again, “I figured that you were going to grow up pretty soon and start going out with boys, so I decided that your first date should be with the first man in your life. We’re going out to dinner, and then dancing.”
How exciting! But he was wrong about boys: I sure wasn’t about to go anywhere with boys, at least not yet.