Amazing Kids! Magazine

A Very “Happy” Birthday

By Reagan Kaiser, age 13, Cincinnati, OH



The moment I heard the sound I jumped from my slumber, slapping my clock to keep the blaring alarm from annoying me anymore. As my feet hit the cold wooden floor, I looked out the window. There, a beautiful sunny day was granting its presence, with the birds singing their glorious melodies while the dew glistened. I ran downstairs smelling the distinct, mouthwatering scent of pancakes on the stove.  My dad was lying motionless on the living room couch. I froze.

“He’s just sleeping, he doesn’t feel so good,” someone said.

I pivoted on my foot. It was my mom speaking from the kitchen. I walked over to the open doorway. My sisters were already awake, eating their share of pancakes at the tattered wooden table that we’ve had for years. I sat down across from my sisters to eat and then had to hurry off to school. After jumping out of the car and almost tripping over a leaf and stumbling up a few stairs to barely make the bell, I made it to class on time.

Later in the day I started to feel a nauseous pain in my stomach. I didn’t know if I was sick or if it was the thought of the math problems that had been assigned for homework, but either way it wrenched at my insides. After about ten minutes of pretending it wasn’t there, I couldn’t stand it. I walked up to the front of the room to confront my teacher about the problem. Later I sat in the office detecting the scent of the bland candy they had on the counter. I so badly wanted one, but I fought the urge to grab one. I switched on my imagination but soon found that it wasn’t going to help. All I had to entertain my 4th-grade mind was the busy secretary shuffling papers and answering phone calls here and there. Then a man entered through the decorated double doors of the school. He walked to the secretary’s desk and scribbled some words on a slip of paper and made his way towards me. I stood up.

“Come on,” the man said in a scratchy voice.

Recognizing that it was my father, I followed him. It was a silent ride home. Once we got to our residence, I walked inside through all the clutter in my room and jumped onto my bed. I was out like a light.

Waking up the next day was a dreadful experience. All I did was mope around. I’m pretty sure I ate everything in the fridge, out of boredom. I kept sitting down and wondering what was happening at school that day. Did my friends miss me? Did they notice I was gone, or did they not care at all? I continued pondering and trying to find a way to see or know what was happening while I was out.


I looked at the clock. 3:30, the clock said, blinking at me. I ran down the carpeted stairs to see my sisters walking through the front door. They threw their backpacks on the floor and sprinted back out the door. I started to follow.

“Woah, woah, woah, where do you think you’re going, missy?” my father said in his crackly voice. “You know the rules, if you’re too sick to go to school, you’re too sick to play outside.”

I made my way back up to my room, feet dragging behind me and making a trail of sadness. I peeked through my window to see what the kids of the street were up too. I saw one kid run to a tree and close his eyes with his hands while the other kids fled in other directions – hide-and-seek, the best game for a mind of a child. Wishing that I was part of the fun I went into the other upstairs room. I walked over to the shelves overflowing with books to try to find one I hadn’t already read. After hours of reading and returning to the shelves to scavenge for other books I fell asleep reading Junie B. Jones for the 5th time in a row.

The next day I bounced from my cot and strolled down the stairs again to find that I slept past time and was going to miss the bus. I ran to the laundry room to find something decent to wear, grabbed my pack, and ran out the door. Once on the bus my friends granted me a “Happy Birthday” and talked amongst themselves. At school it was the same old thing, just boring lessons and homework piles. I got off the bus and walked and talked with my friends until we had to split ways and go home. I was the first of my sisters to walk through the door. Once I saw what I did, my face lit up with delight.

“GRANDMA!” I exclaimed. I ran to my grandmother and gave her a hug while she greeted me. I asked her, “Why are you here?”

She replied, “Well, uh, your father is in the hospital.”

Hearing my screech of delight, my sisters ran through the door and hugged our grandma. I stood there in shock. I didn’t know what to think. Sad, mad, dismayed, all these emotions and more clouded my mind. But the one exceeding all was confusion.

“Why?” I asked.

My sisters looked at me in a bewildered way.

My grandma was struck with discomfort. “I’ll tell you later sweetie,” she replied.

My sisters continued their fun. I was still in shock from what I had heard, so I went to the basement to seclude myself from my family. I was there for a few hours but came back upstairs for a silent dinner. After that we washed up and went off to bed.

After my sisters were tucked in, my grandma came to me and said, “I know you might not understand, but your dad is getting surgery to get his appendix removed. I’m sorry that this probably wasn’t the best birthday, but not everything can go as we plan it.” She kissed my forehead and walked off into the darkness. I covered my head with my covers and closed my eyes, praying for sleep.

The next day there was still no sign of my parents. Even if they were home sometimes, I didn’t see them because of spending most of the day in my room. If I wasn’t in my room, I walked outside, out of sight from the house, to try and help with the pain. I never saw my dad for a full week, but I saw my mom a few times a day. School wasn’t fun anymore, not even Easter. I rarely spoke for that week. But one final day, one final day coming home from yet another dull day of school, I walked through the door to find my dad lying on the couch again. Excitement filled my lungs, color fled back into my eyes, and tears were forming. I ran to my father and enveloped him in a hug. Tears were streaming down my face, and my dad hugged me and held me tighter.

“Hey, it’s okay, why are you crying?” my dad asked.

“I missed you,” I choked from under tears.

“Well, I missed you too,” he replied.

It might have not been the happiest birthday, but it was the best present I ever got: I got my dad back.