Why Did Daddy Cry?

A short story to honor all Fathers

 

Today is going to be the best day of my life!  Daddy didn’t need to wake me.  I’ve been looking at that worn-out curtain all night hoping to see daylight.  How can anyone sleep on their 6th birthday? Entering the kitchen, I hear Daddy’s beautiful voice singing Happy Birthday to me. I’m so lucky to have a father who loves me so much.  I know that not all kids are as lucky as I am.

Chocolate chip pancakes with mounds of whip cream are something I’ve always dreamt about, but I’m ok with my little bowl of Cheerios now while hoping for a treat later in the day. My friend, Valerie told me that some kids get cakes, balloons or even presents on their birthday. I didn’t believe her until I heard other kindergarteners at my new school bragging about what they got. Maybe since we’re now living in an apartment instead of a tent, there just might be a birthday surprise.

Daddy is amazing!  He said he would do any job he can find but likes cleaning the streets best. When we walk down the block to the church where we get a yummy dinner every Tuesday night, he shows us the street corners which he made look new again. I’m proud of my Daddy!

I remember my birthday last year when we were homeless. Daddy couldn’t find a job, and all the money he had saved was used to buy food for my two brothers and me. When he ran out of money, we had to move into a tent near where other homeless families lived.  There were so many days when all I wanted was to find out what it’s like to eat ice cream, but there was never enough food for all of us. Good thing that  Daddy rarely got hungry. Then one day he told us we would be moving into an apartment building with beds for everyone, and we didn’t even have to share that one set of silverware any more.  Daddy said it was an angel who made all that happen but I never understood what he meant, and he refused to talk about it.

So after my birthday breakfast, I ran down the hall to ask my best friend, Valerie, if she would like to go out and play. She didn’t remember that it was my birthday, but that’s okay.  Valerie is such a good friend because she never says anything bad about me like some of the other kids do at school. We both love playing at the park, so that’s where we spend my birthday.  When I get home I ask Daddy what we’re having for dinner, and I’m not really surprised when he says it will be our usual Saturday night soup.

The later it gets the more I realize there’s not going to be a birthday surprise this year so into bed I go. As my eyes are about to close, I see Daddy walking into my room with a big blue balloon.  I’ll never understand why he was crying when he said “Happy Birthday.”  Today was the best day of my life.

 

Karen Kitchel is passionate about scattering kindness. Currently she serves meals to the homeless, is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach and mentor.

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