When I arrived back at school Tuesday morning, I checked my school email. I received a lengthy one from a parent (Mr. P.) whose daughter came home in tears and told him and his wife about what happened. How only one child attended Charles's party and the big bag of gifts he received "from" the class.
Mr. P. continued that he and his wife had already called some of the other parents in the class and had organized an impromptu SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR CHARLES at the local Bouncy Bratz (one of those indoor playground franchises) for the next day. I was stunned. I got chills. Tears welled up in my eyes. (I'm getting chills and teary even now as I type.)
He had already called Charles's mother and made plans to pick him up from school on Wednesday along with eight other children. Another parent had offered to get cupcakes. Another, drinks.
Wednesday was exciting for those children involved. Whispers and looks between them were evident, if only to me. Of course Charles was in the dark. As I would have, he thought "his day" was over. He even brought one of the toys, a Bayblade, to show his class how it worked. His words, as he stood up in front of the class, were that he wanted to show them "one of the gifts you gave me". Precious...
When school was out, I told Charles that I needed him to walk with me to another teacher's room to help me get something. The other eight students were already waiting there with Mr. P. and a birthday balloon. Charles was so worried that he was going to miss his bus, but I kept on telling him that I promised he would get home. "Charles, have I ever lied to you?" "No, Mrs. W. I know. You're my Number One Fan." (Big smile)
When we walked in the classroom, the children all gathered around him, and the little girl whose idea it was told Charles that because they all missed his party, they were going to give him one that day. Oh, if you could have only seen that boy jumping around the room! He only stopped to meet Mr. P. and stick out his hand to shake Mr. P.'s hand. (I don't know where he learned that, but I know it will take him far!)
Below are pictures from the party. You know I had to stop by! I love how he is sitting in a big chair that looks kind of like he is sitting on a throne! In addition to presents, he also got some gift cards - which he was so excited about! When my own child, J, gave him a gift card from Walmart, again, he stuck out his hand to thank him.
Right before J and I left, Charles gave me the biggest hug. "I love you, Mrs. W. You are the best to me. I just can't believe all of this. I can't believe they did this all for me." He then planted a kiss on my cheek and put his head on my shoulder. I hugged him tight.
No, I can't take credit for the party, or the big bag of gifts earlier this week. I can't take credit for any of it. That was the work of others. I witnessed, first hand, that there are truly wonderful children and families out there. There is compassion and love for others. There is an understanding that children can make a difference in other children's lives.
And for me, there is an understanding that they, Charles and his classmates, can make a huge difference in mine.