‘It’s Lucy’s birthday’ Facebook tells me. It asks whether I’d like to send her a greeting.
Lucy was in one of my primary school classes long ago – the first of many classes of 10-11 year olds I taught.
An interesting age group, that. Somewhere between child and adolescent. Somewhere between being the big ones at little kids’ school and the little ones at big kids’ school. Somewhere between being revolted and fascinated by the opposite sex. Somewhere between trying to look cool and disaffected, and having an absolute thirst for knowledge. Quite a challenge, all in all, but it was still my favourite age group, and Lucy’s class was – by and large – one of my favourite classes.
So I clicked the ‘Write on Lucy’s timeline’ button and discovered that she is now 24. I sent a little message, wishing her a great birthday, and thought no more of it. Later in the day, though, I found she’d replied.
“Thank you,” she said, “but it will never be the same as when you wrote it up on the whiteboard.”
For a moment I was puzzled. Then I remembered. Yes, I DID do that! I used to keep a note of the birthdays of every child in my class. Then, when their big day arrived, I’d go in before school and cover the classroom whiteboard with a large, multicoloured message, decorated with flowers, balloons or whatever I felt would appeal to that child. The rest of the class would see it as they came in and all – even the ones who didn’t know that child particularly well – would wish them a happy birthday. A lot like what Facebook now does, I suppose.
I was amazed that Lucy had remembered that simple act over a decade later, especially when I’d completely forgotten.
Life’s like that, though, isn’t it? We do the simplest of things and sometimes – just sometimes – they can have an effect that will last and last.
Happy Birthday, Lucy!