Happy Birthday, Ryan!

By Elisabet McHugh

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    It was Ryan’s birthday. When he woke up that morning, he remembered he was five now. Ryan quickly got out of bed and looked at the birthday card on the dresser. It had come in the mail two days ago from Grandmother in Florida. She had also sent him a toy truck.

    Ryan put on his clothes and ran into the kitchen. No one was there. He ran into his parents’ bedroom. It was empty and the bed had been made. Where are they? he wondered.

    Next he went to his sister Cindy’s bedroom. She was sitting up reading a book. “Happy birthday,” she said and got up and gave him a big hug and a kiss.

    “Where is everybody?” Ryan asked.

    Cindy laughed. “They’ve gone to get your present. They’ll be back soon.”

    “Is it big?” he asked.

    “Pretty big.”

    “Is it heavy?”

    “Pretty heavy.” Cindy started to laugh.

    Ryan thought hard. I can’t imagine what could be big and heavy, unless …

    “Is it a horse?” he asked.

    Cindy laughed so hard she couldn’t speak. She just shook her head.

    “Does it come in a box?” Ryan asked.

    “No,” Cindy said.

    Ryan decided she was teasing him. He quickly ran through the house again to see if his parents were hiding somewhere, but he couldn’t find them.

    Now Ryan was really puzzled. He couldn’t understand where his parents could have gone and why Cindy was laughing so happily. He started to go to his room when he heard someone open the front door. He heard Father’s voice and then Mother’s laughter. He ran out into the hall as fast as he could.

    There were his parents. Father was holding a big birthday cake. And behind his mother was … ! Ryan’s eyes grew bigger and bigger. Behind his mother was the neatest birthday present in the world. It was pretty big and pretty heavy. And it wasn’t in a box.

    Ryan was so surprised that he stood still, unable to move. Then somebody lifted him up and swung him around.

    Ryan smiled from ear to ear. No one else could have a birthday present like this, he decided.

    “Remember me? Last time I saw you, you were just three. And look at you now. I could hardly wait for my mission to be over so I could see how you’ve grown. I was able to come home a few days early to surprise you.” Then Ryan’s big brother lifted him up onto his shoulders.

    “Happy birthday, Ryan!” he said. “Happy birthday!”

    Illustrated by McRay Magleby