ON April 14, 2015 our daughter surprised me for my birthday by showing up in my classroom. I was working as a guest teacher at the school where my wife also teaches and two of our other daughters go to school. It was near the end of the school day and the first graders were straightening up their area, placing their projects and worksheets into their backpacks. I happen to looked up just as the classroom door was opening and I see my 16 year old daughter's face.
You can imagine my heart's content so I won't spend too much time describing what I felt. But I will tell you I had to turn away from my first graders gaze and pretend I was getting something from my desk so they wouldn't wonder why Mr. Barrow looks like he's going to cry.
Then my thoughts turned to our 6 year old daughter Sophie who was in her classroom next door.
Megan had reached out to Tammy to surprise me for my birthday. I was supposed to be home that day but decided at the last minute to substitute at Tammy’s school. It was an opportunity to have Sophie in my class for a short time; classes sometimes rotate students between grade levels. It was going to be an exciting day as far as I was concerned but I had no idea just how exciting it would turn out to be.
Megan brought me a gift: a bag of peanut butter M&Ms and a twin pack of Hostess Cupcakes.
The significance of these items was immediately recognizable to me and tugged at my heartstrings like you cannot imagine. Forever, I have made it a ritual to wake our girls up on their birthdays with a Hostess cupcake with a single lit candle while singing Happy Birthday. It’s been a memorable way to start off their special day.
Our daughter walking in and giving me a cupcake will be something I will of course remember for the rest of my life.
What happened next was no less memorable: we all enjoyed each other’s company.
We went to Sophie and Jaida’s cheer practice and talked and laughed. Then we went to Sophie’s gymnastics and talked and laughed. Then we did the same at Jaida’s basketball practice as Malia joined us. Later, we passed on going out to celebrate choosing instead to stay at home. Malia cooked spaghetti and Jaida baked cookies. We ate together and you guessed it, talked and laughed. Later Megan wanted to see her old room which she hadn’t been in since October 14, 2012. It looks a little different now, but her pictures, including those of her mother’s family are still on the wall. We all sat in her room and talked, laughed, took pictures, and goofed around. Later the girls did each other’s nails.
Megan ended up staying later than was planned; her mother had asked that she be home by 8 pm. That would have meant we leave our home by 6 pm, since it’s a two hour drive.
We dropped Malia and Jaida back at their dad’s house who had graciously allowed them to come back during his time with them so that they could see their sister Megan. Malia and Jaida’s father is good about sharing the girls. No. I take that back—he’s GREAT about it.
Megan was just as happy to be with her family as we were to have her back; she decided to stay a bit longer. When we dropped Megan off it was close to 11 pm.
On the way home from dropping off Megan we exited off the 10 freeway at about 1 am and Tammy says, “I am grateful for today.”
“Me too, honey.”
I want to thank all of you who sent birthday wishes. I want to thank Megan for surprising me on my birthday. I want to thank her mother, Christy for allowing that to happen.
And I thank God for everything!