All stories have to start somewhere, so this story will start once upon a time, like all good stories do.
So, once upon a time, there was a little girl named Poppy. She had many, many friends so she was very, very excited for Valentine’s Day. She was planning to give all of her friends the most beautiful handmade Valentine’s Day card. She was also planning on receiving the most Valentine’s Day cards of any child in her fourth grade class.
Poppy was so excited for Valentine’s Day because she loved the color pink. Her bedroom was pink, and everyday she wore something pink to school. All of her fourth grade friends wore pink, too. They were practically a club of happy, lovely, pink-wearing little girls. Every day after school, they would go to each others houses and play in each others pink bedrooms. They would try on each others pink clothes, paint each others nails pink, and talk about all things that ten-year-old girls would talk about. Nobody’s bedroom, clothes, or fingernails were as pink as Poppy’s. And she knew it!
There was another little girl in Poppy’s class. Her name was Stevie and she didn’t have any friends. Poppy would smile at her, because Poppy smiled at everyone, but no one ever talked to her. Stevie didn’t wear pink or any happy colors; she did care very much about what she wore and how she looked. She was not excited for Valentine’s Day, because she wasn’t very good at art and she knew that she wouldn’t be able to make Valentine’s cards for the kids in her class.
The night before Valentine’s Day, Poppy put the finishing touches on all of her cards. She sprinkled on the glitter and folded them ever-so-gently into the envelopes (she made those, too). Since Poppy loved to write in fancy letters, she was very careful to spell everyone’s name correctly and to write in her fancy, curly-q style.
In the morning, Poppy made sure she wore her favorite pink outfit to school. She and her friends planned out what they were going to wear, so they would match and make Valentine’s Day even more special. She also brought the cupcakes that her mother made; Poppy reminded her mom to make special cakes for the kids with food allergies. Poppy was so thoughtful.
When it was time for the big party, Poppy and her classmates put their Valentine’s Day boxes on their desks. They took out their cards; most of the kids had cards from the stores, but a few, like Poppy, had home-made cards. They went from box to box, depositing the treasures. Then, they ate. Once they were finished eating and had cleaned up their desks, they open their boxes and took out their treasures.
Poppy felt like her Valentine’s Day box was overflowing with home-made cards, little candy treats, and plastic doo-dads. She opened each card, read it, and placed it gently on the table. She then alphabetized each card by the givers’ first names. It was then that she noticed something was wrong: she didn’t receive a card from Stevie. She walked over to her friends and whispered into their ears, asking if they received cards from Stevie. No one did.
She couldn’t believe it; she spent hours and hours making beautiful cards for all of her friends because everyone in her class was her friend. Poppy smiled at Stevie every day; it wasn’t right that Stevie didn’t give her a card. She had never been offended like this before. After school, she talked to her teacher.
“Why didn’t Stevie give me a Valentine’s Day card?” she asked, tapping her feet in frustration.
“Did you ask Stevie?” her teacher honestly replied.
“No. I don’t usually talk to her, but I make sure to smile at her each day,” Poppy said.
“That is probably why,” her teacher said. “I don’t think that Stevie has many friends. Do you think you could talk to her?”
“Of course! If that’s all it takes, I can do that!” Poppy practically screamed. “I’m good at being friends!” And she ran out of the room and all the way home.
That night, Poppy made an extra special surprise card for Stevie. She put her heart into decorating the card, so that Stevie would know that Poppy really wanted to be friends with her. Poppy could hardly sleep because she was so excited to give her prize to Stevie.
The next morning, Poppy put on her second favorite outfit (she wore her favorite one yesterday). She packed the special card for Stevie and she practiced her smile in the mirror. When she got to school, Poppy looked all over for her. It was usually very easy to find Stevie, because she usually wore boring clothes, which stood out in the sea of pinks that all of Poppy’s friends wore. She finally saw Stevie, but she looked different…she had on pink and she looked like she was looking for someone, too.
Poppy approached her and tapped on Stevie’s shoulder, “Hi, Stevie. I made you something.” Poppy took the big envelope out of her bag and handed it to Stevie.
“Thanks. I’m really sorry that I didn’t give any one any cards yesterday. My mom forgot to buy them. She’s been really tired taking care of my new baby brother,” Stevie said.
“You have a brother?!” Poppy couldn’t believe it. She loved babies. “Could I come over and meet him?”
“You could come today,” Stevie couldn’t contain herself; her smile radiated off of her face. “Oh! Here’s your Valentine’s Day card, I’m sorry it’s late.”
“I like your pink clothes today,” Poppy said. “Doesn’t it just make the day better when you have on pretty colors.”
They both opened their cards, which were both about being friends. From that day on, Poppy added Stevie to her long, long, long list of friends. Stevie wore pink, because it made her feel better. And the world remained a good place to be.