A Waldorf Birthday Celebration

Seventeen children sit in little wooden chairs, their cheeks rosy from the cold outside. Muffled sounds of feet shuffling and chairs creaking warm the room as they fidget and settle into their places, but no one talks. They are waiting for the birthday celebration to begin. The teacher walks Katherine into the classroom, gently wraps a white silk around her shoulders, and begins the birthday story. 

A big angel and a little angel are playing catch with a ball. The big angel throws the ball, but the little angel misses it, and the ball falls through the clouds, leaving a hole for the little angel to look through. Peeking down through the clouds, the little angel sees Earth. She realizes her work in the houses of the stars is done. She is ready to go to Earth. The big angel travels with the little angel around the world in search of her parents. They see a family in a cold, wintry land; They look very nice, but they are not my parents, says the little angel. They see a family in the cobbled streets of Paris; They look very nice, but they are not my parents, says the little angel. They see a family in the hot sun, on a beach by the sparkling blue ocean; They look very nice, but they are not my parents, says the little angel. The little angel begins to feel sad that she has not found her parents. But then, the big angel and little angel see a mom and a dad waiting for their child, and the little angel recognizes them right away as her parents. The big angel removes the little angel’s wings and carefully sets them aside; she will need them again when she is done on Earth. The little angel happily crosses over the Rainbow Bridge into the arms of her loving parents. Her name will be Katherine. 

Katherine walks across the rainbow silk laid out in the middle of the circle and sits in her chair in between us and her two sisters. Her face is bright with joy. The teacher lights five candles as we share a memory from each year of her life.

When Katherine was born… We snuggled her into the wrap and went for long walks around the capitol.

When Katherine was one… She loved to help dad make pizza, kneading the dough and shaping it into a ball, then flattening it into a crust.

When Katherine was was two… She enjoyed outings to the Botanic Gardens where she played in the children’s garden, splashing in the fountains.

When Katherine was three… She and her sister played together, Katherine can make Clara laugh better than anyone else.

When Katherine was four… She went on a special mother-daughter trip to Boston to visit Auntie M. She got to ride the T.

When Katherine was five… She loved swimming with her friend in the pool.

And now Katherine is six. A happy birthday song.

Happy birthday, happy birthday, we love you.

Happy birthday, happy birthday, hope your dreams come true.

When you blow out the candles, there is one that stays aglow.

That’s the one that’s in your heart wherever you may go.

Happy birthday, happy birthday, we love you.

Katherine opens the gift from her teachers, a yellow felted sack with six marbles. She walks around the circle, showing each of her classmates her new treasures. The children admire the marbles and point out their favorites. Then it is time for the birthday snack of fruit salad, whipped cream, and walnuts.

It was a perfect celebration. A roomful of children listening intently, quietly, to the birthday story, sharing in Katherine’s joy as she traveled around the circle and across the bridge to her family. The wonder and beauty the teachers create is just as it should be for our five - now six - year old.