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A class full of Pisces

March 21, 2020

“I should probably check my calendar,” I thought on Tuesday.

It was mostly full of meetings now cancelled, and notes to myself about curriculum pacing that may or may not be relevant anymore, but I did note that one of my students was having a birthday on Thursday.

“It’d be nice to send her a card,” I decided.

And so, when I went to the store to pick up a few ingredients for dinner (and to get out of the house, let’s be honest), I turned into the card aisle.  I tend only to buy sympathy cards, which are found in a small section of the card row, so the array of sparkling, flowery birthday cards caught me off guard.  Happy birthday, Daughter!  Happy birthday, Mom!  Happy birthday, Niece!  Happy birthday, Wife!  Happy birthday from all your co-workers!  So you’re turning 50!

The cards went on and on.  There were cards with jokes. (A little edgy for my teacher persona.)  Cards that played music.  (Not sure the parents, who are probably also staying at home, would appreciate that.)  Cards with a spot to insert money.  (Definitely not.)

Finally I found it: a card with a brightly feathered owl, our school mascot.  Inside was a simple phrase: Happy birthday to wise, wonderful you.  Perfect.  The card was a little more expensive than I was intending, but she’s a sweet student, and I was relieved to be able to stop looking.  I figured I could spring that much to make her birthday a little more special.

Task completed, I mailed off the card with a smile.

The next morning when, trying to keep up a daily habit of checking my calendar, I noticed that another student had a birthday on Sunday.  “Too bad I didn’t notice that yesterday,” I thought, but I had a new dish I wanted to try for dinner and ingredients I wanted to pick up for it, so off I went to the grocery store again.

The label “birthday cards for girls” gave me pause, but the colorful owl didn’t include any flowers, and there was nothing girly about the “wise, wonderful you”, so I decided to send it to Sunday’s birthday boy.  It was simple, it showed our school mascot.  I couldn’t imagine finding anything better, even if I searched for an hour (and I was sure the aisle was long enough that I could do just that.)  Two of these birthday cards were starting to be expensive, but still–they were just cards.  I could afford them.

Today I looked ahead to next week.  Wouldn’t you know it–another student’s birthday on Tuesday.  I’d learned my lesson, and checked a few more days ahead.  Sure enough, another student’s birthday the following Sunday.  There are 17 students in class this year; what are the odds that almost a fourth of them would have a birthday in the two weeks following schools being shut down?

Back to the grocery store I went, with a plan ….. that was foiled by the fact that I seem to have bought out all the owl birthday cards.

Not a problem, as I also had an errand to run at CVS, where they still had one more owl card left in stock.  I bought that for Tuesday’s birthday student, and searched the cards for a new style of birthday card to buy for the fourth birthday student.

There were cards with long, sappy poems about how wonderful the birthday person is (Perhaps too much reading for this particular student.) There were cards saying, “Today’s your day to do whatever you want!” (Parents might not appreciate that sentiment.) None of the cards struck quite the right tone that I was looking for.  None of the cards were as good as the owl card.

In the end I gave up.  I have a few more days before I need to send the card.  Perhaps I’ll try a different store in the hopes that they also carry this style of card.

Forget toilet paper.  Anyone have an extra owl birthday card lying around?


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  1. The title- ” A class full of Pisces” made me giggle and caught my attention. How sweet of you to send cards. I think that’s a lovely idea and one that surely impacted each student. Be well 🙂

  2. I love the parenthetical asides here imagining what parents will think. One of the grandparents loves to give my son the singing cards and it’s SO HORRIBLE. So on behalf of parents everywhere, thank you for not buying that one.

  3. Such a sweet gesture (s)! A spot of humor in this crazy time. I’m sure these cards will brighten your students’ days.

  4. What a sweet gesture for your students’ birthdays who won’t get to celebrate in school. You are a great teacher!

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