Note: My friend Allison is having an extended un-birthday celebration, and I thought it might be fun to participate. The idea is that different people write a story that includes a birthday party, and then she incorporates that into her blog. So, here's my contribution, keeping with the theme of my blog but also with the idea of birthdays.
Robin waited until her parents had left for their weekly Friday night grocery run before pulling the cupcake out of her backpack. It had gotten slightly smushed on the way home, but it would do. Going into her room, an extra precaution in case her parents got back early, she put a candle in the cupcake, lit it, and whispered, “Happy birthday to me.”
She paused, admiring the glow, inhaling the chocolate and vanilla frosting scent of the cupcake, before closing her eyes. “I wish I could be thin.” Then she opened her eyes, blew out the candle, and unwrapped the cupcake.
Just as she prepared to take a bite, knowing this would be the one bit of sugar she’d get for her birthday, she heard someone say in clear exasperation, “Why do girls always wish for things like being thin?”
Robin looked around in panic. She didn’t want anyone to see her eating. “Who’s there?”
She caught something fluttering in the corner of her eye. Turning, she saw what appeared to be a fairy, a small woman with wings, although she had a somewhat matronly air and hair in a bun, and her wings looked like those of a bird instead of a butterfly or dragonfly.
“Who are you?” Robin asked in astonishment.
The fairy seemed equally astonished. “You can see me?”
“Yes, but who are you? And why are you here?”
“I’m the birthday wish fairy,” the small woman said. “Which is why I’m here, although I think you’d do better with a different wish.”
“But I’ve made birthday wishes before and never seen you, or had my wishes granted,” Robin protested.
“You only get notice at certain times. Sweet sixteen is a big one for girls, so we try to focus on that.” The fairy looked at her sternly. “Why do you want to be thin? You’re not fat.”
“What do you mean I’m not fat? If I weren’t, my mom wouldn’t be on my case to lose weight all the time.”
“Ah, I see.” The fairy shook her head sadly. “Do you think you’re fat?”
Robin looked down at herself, at her size fourteen jeans and muffin top. “I don’t know,” she said finally. “But I know I’m not thin.”
“And why is that a problem? Do you think everything would be better if you were thin? Do you think your mom would let up on you?”
“Of course she would!”
She hesitated. Wouldn’t her mom let her in peace if she were thin, or would she worry about Robin getting fat again? She sighed. “Maybe not.”
“So, why don’t you wish for what you want, not what your mom wants.”
The idea felt foreign and yet appealing. “I wish…” She trailed off, thinking for a long moment. “I wish my mom would accept me for who I am and not constantly harp on my weight.”
The fairy smiled at her, eyes sparkling. “Done.” Then she vanished in a flutter of wings.
Robin wondered if she had imagined the whole thing, but the next day when she found her mom preparing food for Robin’s birthday party, she got a pleasant surprise.
“Are you making – a cake?” Robin asked in astonishment.
Her mom turned to her with a smile. “Yes, I am. I haven’t made one in ages, so I hope it comes out well, but I thought for Sweet Sixteen, you deserved a treat, more than a fruit dish. I hope you don’t mind.”
Robin felt a weight lift off her that had nothing to do with numbers on the scale. Giving her mom a big hug, she said, “I don’t mind at all.”
When her friends arrived a couple of hours later, they said, “Wait, is your mom serving real food instead of vegetables and hummus and sugar-free fruit salad with jello?”
Robin laughed. “She is, and I think it’s going to be the best birthday party ever.” She was right.