Birthday Story For A Six-Year-Old


Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy sixth Birthday Libby.
I hope you know how much I love you
             Libby is fabulously captivating when she dances.

            When Libby hears music, the melody moves deep inside her. Then the song travels through her until it reaches her fingers and her toes.

Libby begins . . .   







One afternoon at Grandma’s house, Libby’s sister Emily played a melody so entrancing that a hush fell over the chaos of chattering in the living room. Sleepy grandparents, joking uncles, emotional aunts and wrestling cousins suddenly stopped and listened.

Then Libby stepped into the living room dressed in a purple satin dress. She stood quietly in the middle of room. No one was expecting a grand performance but Libby’s posture and poise held the bearing of royalty.  

“Oh, Libby dear,” Grandma urged from the sofa, “will you dance for us?”

Libby listened carefully until the music flowing from her sister’s fingers circled like star dust inside, around, above and beneath her. Then Libby’s arms rose like soft wings. Gentle lilting music flowed through her like a thousand fairy wings. The mystical melody spun her higher and higher in a spiral of movement. Falling stars and soft breezes whispered through Libby’s outstretched arms and graceful fingers.







As Libby danced she summoned forth long forgotten memories. Grandma and Grandpa remembered whirling together on the dance floor at their high school junior prom. Uncomfortable uncles remembered their knightly duties in a long ago club house war. Adoring aunts remembered their first kiss outside on a starlit night. Combative cousins didn’t know why they wanted to stop wrestling, be quiet and watch.   

As the family watched Libby dance, they simply could not hold back their spontaneous applause. Like a choir of angels rejoicing on cue, Libby’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins joined in a chorus of hand clapping to hail the queen . . . the magnificent gift of Libby.

Flushed and glowing Libby smiled then bowed.

Someday, if you are very fortunate, you too might to see a little girl in a purple satin dress dancing in the living room on a lazy Sunday evening. And then you will know for sure that there is still great delight and enchantment in this world.
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When you become a grandmother, you search for ways to help each grandchild feel unique and loved. Presents at birthdays and Christmas are nice, but I found myself wanting to do something more. I longed to give each grandchild something that would last. Toys and games are soon broken and forgotten. I asked myself over and over, "How can I be certain that each grandchild knows how precious they are and how much I love them?"

When you are a grandma, you know the time you have left to be alive is limited and precious. So that is what I decided to give each grandchild on their birthday. . . the gift of my time  . . . thinking and pondering about them.

What are her interests? What is his greatest fear? What are her individual gifts? What would delight him? Then I carry this grandchild around in my heart for weeks trying to decide what story or poem is just right for them.

The gift at the end of that process is a story or poem that I write for them and then read to them along with a copy I leave with them so they can take it out and read it for the rest of their lives. As each grandchild listens to a story where they are the star or main character, you should see their eyes light up. That magical moment is the gift I give myself.

As I grow older, I have rediscovered the pleasure of reading or reciting simple stories written for children. Fairy tales, fanciful poems and super hero creeds infuse my air like star dust, tiny pieces of light in the darkness.

So to my children and grandchildren I say . . . though there are many of you, there is only one you. Each of you has a place in my heart that no one else can take. Your mother and grandmother loves you deeply because you are you. No one can take your place. You are my diamonds and rubies, my foreign travel, my mansion on the hill, my place by the sea. You mean everything to me.