That was the best birthday EVER! Krystina thought happily as she bid her last guests a warm farewell.
There had been delicious cake, lots of presents, and visits from all of her favorite friends and family. It was perfect. She felt happy and warm inside as she thought of all the fun she’d had with her party guests… And, she thought secretly, all the fun she’d have with the cool new toys and presents they’d given her too!
After saying goodbye to her aunt and uncle, she came back inside to rejoin her parents and grandparents.
“That was a lot of fun, huh?” Her father asked warmly as he put away the leftover birthday cake. It had been her favorite – strawberry cake made with actual strawberries from her dad’s garden.
The little girl nodded enthusiastically. “It was the best!” She said happily.
“And the fun’s not over yet.” Her grandmother smiled. “Don’t forget, you get all day with Grammy and Grampy tomorrow.”
Krystina’s smile widened. She always loved spending time with her grandparents. They loved playing with her, and would always let her stay up past her bedtime when she slept over. Her grandfather was so smart – he knew everything about everything, and was always eager to answer her many questions about the world around them. And her grandmother had the biggest imagination – she always came up with the best stories and make-believe games for them to play together.
So she had been particularly excited when her mother had picked her up from school that afternoon and informed her that she’d be spending the night with her grandparents. Krystina had rushed to her bedroom and packed an overnight bag right away, just in time for the first guests’ arrival to her party.
Her grandparents both rose to their feet, smiling.
“I guess we’d better get going.” Damien said as he glanced down at his watch. “It’s getting pretty late already, sweatpea.”
Melanie gave her daughter a quick squeeze. “Have fun, babygirl. Daddy and I will come get you tomorrow afternoon, okay?”
“Okay.” Krystina smiled as she pulled away. “See you tomorrow!”
Lucas handed his daughter her small backpack of clothes and said his goodbyes as well. Then, with one last cheery wave to her mother and father, Krystina happily followed her grandparents out into the cool evening air.
Damien and Becca shared a smile as they stood in the kitchen with their granddaughter, who looked up at them curiously.
Why are they smiling like that? Krystina wondered. They had barely walked through the front door when her grandparents had stopped in their tracks, hesitating before leading her upstairs to bed.
“Okay, Krysti…” Becca began. “We were going to wait until tomorrow, but before we go to bed, Grampy and I want to show you one more present we got for you.”
“Another one?” She asked. Her grandparents had already given her a huge case of fancy art supplies at her party. Krystina had been so excited when she opened it. And now there was more?
“Are you sure?” She asked, happy but uncertain. “You already gave me a really cool present!”
“We’re sure.” Damien smiled. “Come on.”
Damien and Becca led Krystina into the living room, where a pretty pink violin sat in the middle of the rug on a small metal stand.
“Cool!” Krystina’s entire face lit up at the sight of the instrument. She’d always thought it would be so fun to learn how to play an instrument – and now she finally had a chance to try it herself! “Thank you so much!” She said seriously. “I can’t wait to try it!”
“You’re welcome, sweatpea.” Damien smiled.
“It was Grampy’s idea.” Becca confessed. “So I guess he should get most of the credit.” She smiled softly.
Krystina hugged her grandfather tightly, thanking him again.
Becca stepped forward uncertainly. “Now… We think it might be best if we kept it here. For now, anyway.”
Damien nodded. “Mommy and Daddy might, uh… not appreciate all the noise.”
Krystina felt a small wave of disappointment, but she knew they were right – Her mother worked from home a lot, and her father had to get up early almost every morning to go open his restaurant – Her parents valued their peace and quiet, especially in the afternoons and evenings.
“Okay.” She agreed reluctantly. “So… Can I try it out now?” Krystina’s face lit up as she glanced over at the shiny new instrument, just begging to be played. She thought for a moment of the beautiful classical music her mother liked to listen to. I can’t wait to be able to do that!
Her grandfather shook his head. “We’ve gotta go to bed now.” He explained. “But we even got you a cool book and a DVD that’ll help teach you how to play.” Damien added happily. “We can check ‘em out tomorrow before we go to the movie.”
Krystina’s face fell. “But I wanna play now…” She muttered softly.
“Sorry, honey.” Becca said gently. “But it’s getting late and you’ve had a long day… Time for bed! You’ll have plenty of time to try it out tomorrow, I promise.” She smiled.
The little girl sighed softly, disappointed. “Okay, I guess.” She said grudgingly as she followed her grandparents out of the living room and upstairs to get ready for bed.
Krystina lay in the big squishy bed that had once belonged to her father and stared up at the ceiling, thinking.
Part of her was simply too excited to sleep – She was still practically bouncing off the walls from what a wonderful birthday she’d had. And another part of her could not stop thinking about that violin.
I just wanna try it. Krystina thought sadly. Why are they making me wait?
A soft sigh escaped the girl’s lips before a thought suddenly crossed her mind – Hmm… maybe I don’t have to wait…
She crept carefully out of her bed and tiptoed into the hallway. I’ll play really quiet. She told herself. They’ll never hear it…
Krystina hesitated outside her grandparents’ bedroom door. Even from out in the hall, she could hear her grandfather’s snores. The girl had to stifle a giggle at the sound.
Satisfied that they were well and truly asleep, she snuck silently down the stairs and into the living room.
There it was, waiting just where they’d left it – the beautiful violin. Krystina reached out, grabbing it eagerly and lifting the bow with her other hand. Cool!
She tucked it under her chin (just like she’d always seen them do on TV), closed her eyes, and started sliding the bow back and forth against the strings.
Krystina winced as the ear-splitting sound filled the air. She lowered the bow and violin immediately, embarrassed. Guess it was louder than I thought it’d be… The girl thought, half-giggling at her own foolishness.
I still wanna try it… She thought sadly. But I don’t wanna wake Grammy and Grampy…
The girl stood in the darkness for a few moments, thinking. Then suddenly, inspiration struck. Aha!
Krystina double-checked that the door was securely shut behind her as she stood in the chilly night air, shivering slightly in her pajamas.
Okay… She thought nervously, glancing down at the instrument in her hands. Here goes…
She took a deep breath, lifted the violin back to her shoulder, and began to play.