Kamal was excited. His best friend Abby's birthday was today. In the kitchen, Kamal found his mother, Sherry, drinking her morning cup of coffee out of the mug he had given her for Mother's Day. He said, "Good morning, Mom. Are you ready to go shopping for Abby's birthday card?"
Kamal's mother got behind the wheel. Kamal jumped in the back and buckled his seatbelt. He watched his mother look behind her to make sure the road was clear before she backed the car out of the driveway.
Kamal watched the road. Every time he saw a Volkswagen Beetle, he yelled, "Punch buggy!" His mom tried to say it before he did.
At the store, Kamal was amazed at the long rows of cards. There were anniversary cards, sympathy cards, holiday cards, thank you cards, and even cards from one pet to another. Kamal looked through the birthday cards until he found one he thought would make Abby laugh.
Sherry asked, "Should we buy a present for Abby?"
Kamal answered, "No. I made Abby a present."
Sherry said that was thoughtful. This made Kamal feel good.
That afternoon, Kamal and Sherry walked to Abby's house for the birthday party. The house was decorated with balloons and crepe paper streamers. First, the children played games while the parents talked. Then everyone gathered around the table and sang "Happy Birthday" to Abby. She made a wish and blew out the eight candles on her cake.
Abby had said that presents were optional because being at her party was present enough, but some kids brought presents anyway, including Kamal. His gift was wrapped in the comics from Sunday's newspaper. Abby unwrapped it and smiled. Kamal had made a photo frame and inserted two school pictures, side-by-side. One was of him and the other was of Abby.
"Side-by-side," said Abby. "That's the way we'll always be!" She thanked Kamal and gave him a hug. That made Kamal feel good.
That night, at dinner, Kamal and his mother lit the chalice that sits in the middle of their kitchen table. As always, their nightly ritual included Sherry saying, "This is the end of another day that we were blessed to share together. What was your favorite part of today, Kamal?"
"Making Abby happy!" Kamal said.