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Alyssa's BIG Birthday Wish
1.An eighth birthday couldn't get much better than this. Alyssa woke up on Friday morning, the morning of her birthday, to find that it had snowed during the night and there would be no school that day. Hooray! Even the school made her a present of a three-day weekend! That had to be the real reason they had the day off, because by ten o'clock a big warm sun, yellow as Emily's pet blanket, emerged from behind a curtain of gray and dissolved all the snow away, causing the trees to run with melting water as though it were raining. This was a good thing because, after Daddy went off to the church, taking the boys with him, Mommy decided to take the girls to lunch as a special birthday treat for Alyssa.
Mommy took Alyssa and Emily to Friendly's, a place the girls loved because of the french fries - which were the best - and the Happy Endings sundaes. Alyssa always got the happy face sundae that looked like a clown but was really an upside-down ice-cream cone.
It didn't even spoil things to have Emily along. Which was not to say that Alyssa does not love Emily. She does, for Emily is a good sister. But Emily had just turned six in December, and it can't be denied that six-year-olds are so...so sixish. As they were following the hostess to their table, Emily began singing a song from church; she sang off-key and what words she didn't know she substituted with some she made up. When people turned to stare, Alyssa explained that Em was six, and they were all very understanding - from a six-year-old, what can you expect? - but it was embarrassing for a big sister even so. Alyssa would never dream of doing such things - after all, she is eight years old today!
All of the Eagen children were especially excited because Grandma and Grandpa were coming up for dinner. It was to be a double birthday party for Alyssa and A.J. both, since Grandma and Grandpa were coming today. But Alyssa figured she could pretend (privately) that it was just her party: after all, A.J. was still too little to know what was going on, and today's cake would be hers, with candles she would blow out herself (Mom would give A.J. a little "birthday cake" of his own on Sunday, out of a cupcake and two candles, so that he would have a turn blowing them out). Anyway, A.J. was only a baby, and he didn't even know what a birthday was.
When they got back from lunch, Daddy was home with the boys.
"Hey, birthday-girl!" Daddy said as Alyssa kissed him.
"Alyssa, look! I have your birthday present," Joshua said.
He was standing in the kitchen, with a small, awkwardly-wrapped gift in his hands. "I made it for you in Boy's Brigade." Josh looked very proud.
Alyssa hesitated. "Don't I have to wait until tonight?" There was a rule that no birthday presents could be opened until after cake.
"I already asked Daddy," Josh replied.
Alyssa tore open the package and cried out in admiration. "Oh, Josh, how pretty!" It was a lovely birthday candle, a little bigger than ordinary birthday candles - both taller and fatter. Best of all, it was all different colors, swirled together, and it sparkled with silver glitter. "It's beautiful, Josh," Alyssa said. "I'll have Mommy put in on my cake!"
"That's what you have to do, or your wish won't come true," Josh told her. "This is a magic birthday candle, and when you wish on it after you blow it out, the next day you'll wake up to find your wish had come true, and it will be true all day! At sunset everything will go back to normal."
Alyssa gasped. "Really?"
Daddy called from the living room, "Josh, don't tease your sister!"
Josh called back, "She knows I'm joking Daddy! Don't you?" he asked, turning back towards his sister.
Alyssa tried to look as eight as she could. "Of course I know that!"
Just then Johnny called from the window. "Grandma and Grandpa are here!" And all the children rushed out to meet their grandparents.