Crossing Madison square Garden after picking up Adrian, I called up Aaliyah to know if everything was in order. “Yes Bob, all are here. Come fast. We can’t be late,” she answered. It was 12 a.m. Aaliyah, Megan, Kate, Adrian, Donna and I rang the doorbell of Mrs. Bradley’s apartment. When she opened the door all of us wished aloud, “Happy Birthday!” Mrs. Bradley was half asleep. Our wish startled her and she was wide awake. All of us got in and gave her a tight group hug.
“You all remember?” a surprised Mrs. Bradley asked. “Of course we do,” replied Aaliyah. Donna lit the candles on the cake and said, “I baked your favorite cake, Mrs. Bradley.” “I got you the best waffles,” shouted Adrian. “And I have got a new plant sapling for your garden,” said Megan. “You will love this new fragrance that I have got for you,” said Kate, hugging Mrs. Bradley tightly.
Last week, Mrs. Bradley told us that like every year she was expecting both her sons to be here for her birthday. Her enthusiasm had no bounds. However, two days back she informed both me and Aaliyah that they would not be able to make it this time. “I will visit the church in the morning. I have no plans this year and wish to not celebrate. I miss both my sons,” she had said.
Aaliyah and I felt bad on hearing this. Smile Month it is! It was necessary to keep that wide curve on her face along with the sparkle in her eyes. Mrs. Bradley is not just a neighbor to us. The days when Aaliyah and I come back home all tired, we have her sending us dinner knowing that we would otherwise binge on junk food. She also arranges for other celebrations. She is a dose of happiness for everyone around and does selflessly for each and every one. “She is such a good soul! How can we let her be upset, Bob? We have to do something,” expressed Aaliyah. I agreed.
So I had to make it special for her. I immediately called up all my friends. Everyone is fond of Mrs. Bradley and all were eager to get into the plan to surprise her. Our close-knit homely celebration got tears of happiness in Mrs. Bradley’s eyes. While cutting the cake we had both her sons on the video call. We then feasted on ‘Chicken Divan’, ‘Cronut’, ‘Lobster Newburg’ and ‘Spaghetti with Meatballs’ along with Bloody Mary. All the lip-smacking dishes were cooked by my love, Aaliyah.
When we were done with the celebration, Mrs. Bradley came up to me and said, “Thank you, Bob! Thank you for being there.” The smile on her face was priceless. “You are my family, Mrs. Bradley, we love you,” I replied. She gave me a tight hug. “What about me?” Adrian asked. Both, Mrs. Bradley and I laughed. “Oh come here,” she replied with a gesture. Adrian came running like a kid and hugged her.
We don’t need to move mountains to bring a smile on someone’s face. All it requires is true intentions and effort, the rest falls automatically in place. Busy schedule and staying away from family is not easy. When I moved into this apartment, seldom did I know Mrs. Bradley would be like a mother figure. Such is life, strangers become friends and friends become family. We build relationships for a lifetime. We love, we care, we support, we cry, we laugh and we live together without letting each other break down.
How did you make someone smile this Smile Month? Share your story and let us know. Also, keep smiling always!