My name is Sirena. This is the story of something wonderful that happened the day I turned nine years old.
It started like an ordinary morning. I was happy it was my birthday, but we still had to get up and out to school early. Mummy is a teacher, and that day, my sister and I had to attend virtual classes.
I couldn’t wait until lunchtime, because my Gram-Gram was picking me up half day.
I was excited about spending time with her. Because of the pandemic, there were months when our family was not able to spend any time with Grammy. We really missed her.
On our birthdays, Gram-Gram usually takes my sister and I out for a special lunch with her. I wondered where we would be going today. So many things had changed since my eighth birthday. I didn’t know what Grammy had planned, but it was always lots of fun.
When Gram-Gram picked me up from school, she gave me a pretty birthday T-shirt, sash, and tiara. I changed out of my uniform and got into the car with her.
Then Grammy asked if I wanted to go with her to Sandbox for a blouse. I really like the clothes there, so I said, “Sure!”
When we walked in the store, Gram took me to a special area and introduced me to Ms. Keishan. That’s when the surprises began.
Ms. Keishan wished me “Happy Birthday” from everyone at Sandbox, and seated me in a beautiful chair.
I wondered how they knew it was my birthday, especially when I saw the “#9” balloon and a huge TV screen with my picture and a Happy Birthday message!
Gram-Gram must have told them!
I felt so special.
Ms. Keishan gave me a fancy glass for apple cider. There was a plate of strawberries, plus crackers, cheese, and cake. She told me to help myself. The strawberries smelled amazing and tasted so sweet!
I loved the pretty napkins that matched my new birthday T-shirt, and the glittery purple sprinkles decorating the party table.
Gram smiled as we shared a glass of cider.
“Sirena, you are nine years old now. I brought you here because you are becoming a young lady. Today, on your birthday, you will be able to pick out nine outfits that make you feel like a princess.
“I told these ladies a little bit about you–that you love hair bows and bracelets, that you love to dress up, and that you really like handbags.
They have already picked some clothes they think you will love, but this is your day. You get to try on all these outfits, and pick nine that you really like.
Ms. Simone is going to be your personal shopping assistant.”
I couldn’t believe what Gram was telling me!
Just then, my Daddy, Mommy, and sister, Sky, walked into the store.
They were just as excited as Gram-Gram and me.
Gram gave my parents and sister signs so they could vote on the outfits I tried on. One sign said, “Keep it!” Another sign said, “Toss it!”
I tried on lots of clothes. As I picked them out, I could imagine where I could wear them: birthday parties, church, playdates with my friend, and special family occasions.
I enjoyed pulling pieces together, like the tutu skirt with the sequined star T-shirt and feathery jacket.
This dress was my very favorite!
– Blue and white
– A soft ruffle
After I picked out all nine outfits, there was still another birthday surprise!
Sandbox gave me a gift card. I shared it with my sister, Sky. She picked out some beautiful hair bows, bracelets, and a purse.
After our personal shopping experience, Gram-Gram took me to the hairdresser. She gave me a beautiful hairstyle and some birthday flowers.
I am glad I wore my new favorite dress.
Do you see how it looks different in this picture, because we adjusted the shoulder ruffle?
I was so thankful to Grammy, my parents, and my sister for a wonderful birthday experience. Someone asked me how I felt at the end.
I felt like a Princess…and I still do!
Thank you, Gram-Gram, Daddy, Mummy and Sky for the best birthday ever.
My family and I would like to thank everyone at Sandbox for making us feel so welcome, and for making my ninth birthday so special:
– Ms. Sandbox, for making such a great store for kids!
– Ms. Keishan, for helping Gram-Gram organize everything
– Ms. Simone, for being an amazing Personal Shopping Assistant
– Ms. Oprah and Ms. Udell, who welcomed us and were almost as excited as me and my family were!