Monday, September 23, 2013

"Happy Birthday to Others!" (Marlena's 11th Birthday)

Here's the group that gathered to help Marlena celebrate her 11th birthday.
It might just look like your ordinary group of girls, but it isn't. From left to right, we have Marlena, Hauna Laya, Brooklyn, Daisy, Lindy, then Alexis. The girls range in grades from 1st - 8th grades. How did they all come to be here for Marlena's party? It went something like this.
A couple of months back, Marlena decided that instead of getting any presents for her birthday, she would take that money and buy some outfits for two little girls who had recently begun attending our church, Alexis (2nd grade) and her sister Hauna Laya (1st grade). As Marlena began making plans, her friend Brooklyn decided that she wanted to help with the shopping. (The shopping trip has already been written about previously.) Excitement grew as Marlena and Brooklyn decided to also make a cake for the party. They wrapped all the presents, keeping straight who would get what items. It seemed like a forever-long week between the shopping trip and the actual party, to Marlena, but the day finally arrived.

Alexis and Hauna Laya hadn't been told that it was Marlena's birthday but they quickly figured it out. After eating homemade pizza, they were eager to give her the presents that were stacked nearby. Marlena opened a couple of cards from Brooklyn and Daisy and even got a new soccer ball from her siblings! She was thrilled! And just as we were trying to tell the little girls why they had to stop bringing the rest of the presents to Marlena, her daddy comes through on his way out to the woods with Taylor for the last few minutes of daylight.
(He wasn't a necessary player in the rest of the party!) As her daddy squeezed her and told her how proud he was of her, mom snapped a quick picture before wiping tears from her own eyes! Marlena was too excited about what was coming to see the emotion on her mom's face or even see the tears in Mrs. Judy's eyes (she had been invited because of her love for Marlena).
Now comes the fun part. I get to tell the girls that those presents are for them! I had already warned Marlena that they might not really "get it." They might not understand her sacrifice but she didn't care about that. However, little Alexis surprised me. Very thoughtfully she said, "This is Marlena's special day so she should be getting the presents. But instead, she is giving them to us!" She got it!
From that point on, it was chaos of the fun sort! Clothes flying everywhere, poses made, and pictures being snapped. The idea was for every article of clothing to be tried on so that we could see how we did guessing sizes. The Marlena and Brooklyn were so pleased with their selections of clothes! And the only real size issues we had were with shoes--pretty good considering all the things that were bought. It was great and Marlena (along with Brooklyn and Lindy and Daisy) enjoyed every minute of it! The little girls loved having bigger girls make over them and compliment them on their new clothes. Many of the outfits were bought at Second Glance Consignment in Union City (upscale used clothing) but several items were brand new as well.
Everyone seemed pleased with the evening, not to mention Mrs. Judy. She was very moved by watching the whole evening unfold. I think she was moved by how the little girls responded and definitely challenged by the generosity of one 11- year-old girl! Just so we have this in writing, Marlena, your mom is very proud of you! It was an evening this mom won't forget for a long time.

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