It was time of day when magic happens. The moon was beginning to cast her yellow glow in the evening sky and the cicadas sang the last notes of their sweet songs for the night. The stars were beginning to wink in the navy skies.
Avery perched on the rocking chair near her window, and gazed intently between the branches of the mighty oak tree growing in her front yard. She hoped to see tiny lights peeking through the leaves. Where were they? Had they forgotten it's August?
"Avery Grace?" Momma sang from the kitchen. "Have you brushed your teeth? It's time for bed honey. Daddy's on his way to read your bedtime story, so hurry and get your pj's on and get those teeth brushed!"
Avery climbed down from the big old chair and hurried to the bathroom. She loved Daddy’s bedtime stories. He would tell her great tales about kings, castles, and princesses. She loved to hear his voice go up and down, loud and soft, as he told her tales of ‘Once Upon a Time‘. Daddy made the books come alive and Avery imagined herself running through a forest path or up the staircase of a beautiful castle on a hill.
She brushed her teeth and hurried to her bedroom. Grabbing Teddy Bunny, she dove into bed and pulled the covers high over her head. She giggled in anticipation as she heard her daddy's footsteps.
"Avery Grace? Where are you?"
Daddy picked up a pillow in the corner.
"Nope, she's not under here," he growled in a low pitched, bear-like voice.
Walking over to the closet, he peeked inside.
"Nope, not in here, either," Hmm, I can't find my Avery at all."
"Here I am." Avery yelled as she threw off the covers. "I’m ready for my story, Daddy!"
As daddy snuggled down beside her, Avery pulled Teddy Bunny close.
"Tonight, can you tell the story about the birthday fairies, Daddy? I’ve been looking for them but I think they’ve forgotten!"
"Okay, Avery. I’ll tell you all about the birthday fairies."
"Once upon a time, there was a little girl."
"And her name was Avery Grace," an excited Avery shouted. " And she had big brown eyes just like me!"
"Yes," said daddy, as he continued his story.
“Avery's momma and daddy prayed for many years and asked God to send them a little baby. They both dreamed of a baby girl, what she might look like, and what she might be like. God heard their prayers and, very soon, a little baby began to grow in mommy's tummy."
"That was me," Avery announced with a huge grin.
"Yes, dear one, that was you."
Daddy spoke with the sweetest sound in his voice.
"We started getting a room ready for our new little baby. We painted her room..."
"Periwinkle blue," Avery added.
"Yes, the softest blue. We bought a white crib at a little consignment store in town and we found a beautiful blue rocking chair. It fit perfectly in the corner of your room near the window. We dreamed of how we would rock our baby girl in our arms, reading her books and telling her stories."
" And now the birthday fairies, Daddy?"
Avery, with her brown eyes flashing, waited anxiously.
"One evening, right before you arrived, Momma was sitting in the old blue rocker watching as I put the finishing touches on the toy box I made for you."
Daddy turned to look at Avery and smiled as he saw the joy written all over her face.
"Your momma looked out the window and her eyes flew open wide. "Shawn, come here," she cried.
"As we stared out the window into the dark August night, hundreds of tiny lights flew in and out of the branches of the old oak tree."
"Shawn, can you believe this? How many fireflies do you see? It seems like hundreds."
"We both watched for the longest time in awe of what we saw. The tree out front seemed to be alive with the light of the fireflies. I told your mommy I thought the tiny lights were birthday fairies and God sent them to announce the birth of our baby girl."
Daddy turned and smiled at Avery.
"But, Daddy, I think they’ve forgotten my birthday this year. My birthday is only five days from now. I’ve been looking for them since dinner and I haven't seen one."
Avery whispered with the saddest little voice.
"Let's go to the window and look, Avery Grace. It's later and darker outside now. Sometimes, when there's still a little light from the sun peeking through, it's hard to see them. But when God pushes the sun to the other side of the earth and the skies turn dark, their little lights shine brighter. "
Daddy gathered Avery up in his arms and held her tightly as they both gazed out into the dark night.
"Look. I see them. I see the birthday fairies. They didn’t forget my birthday."
They stared for a long time, watching as the birthday fairies danced around the leaves of the tree. Little lights twinkled on and off, on and off.
"Daddy, they’re dancing. They’re blinking on and off and dancing a birthday dance for me."
After a long while, Avery's daddy lifted her into bed and tucked her in tightly.
She bowed her head and began her prayers.
"Dear God, thank you for my family. Thank you for my momma and my daddy. Thank you for my friends and Teddy Bunny. Thank you for the birthday fairies in the tree by my window. Thank you for loving me. I love you with all my heart. Amen."
Before your bedtime prayers tonight, look into the dark night sky and you, too, might see birthday fairies dancing in the moonlight!