It was my birthday a few weeks ago. My first with my recently acquired mind-reading abilities. It was a little frustrating, because even though I tried to block everyone’s thoughts, I still managed to ‘hear’ what everyone was getting me for my birthday. It was so exhausting to keep my shields up all the time and I just couldn’t do it. The worst part was acting surprised when I opened them, mostly for my kids. Though I have to admit, even though I knew what I was getting, I was still excited with my gifts. I got a kindle fire from Chris that I’d wanted and only had to hint a couple of times to get the biggest one with HD, so that worked out great. And I knew that my parents were giving me a certain amount of money, so I already bought the clothes and sandals I wanted, and was able to wear them on my birthday – so that worked out good too. I was surprised about the gift that my aunt gave me, mostly because she couldn’t remember what she got me, and it turned out to be a surprise for both of us! The only other gift I was surprised about came from Uncle Joey and Ramos. It was heartwarming to get a big bouquet of roses with a nice little happy birthday note from Thrasher Development, which everyone signed. But the biggest surprise was what came with it. A toy alligator was attached to the bow. It had a note stuck in it’s mouth. Once I got the note out, a big grin spread over my face to read the message. It said, “Remembering Orlando” with the initials “A. R.” underneath. I stuffed the note way down inside where it wouldn’t get out before my family saw it, since I didn’t really want to explain what it meant. The alligator now rests in my jewelry box, next to all the small momentos that I’ve saved over the years. Someday when I’m old and gray, I’ll take it out and read the note again. I’m sure it will make me smile.