How many days

Thomas woke up one morning and knew that something exciting was going to happen, and it was going to happen soon. He could smell it in the quiet morning air, in the mist still covering the ground, in the autumn leaves trembling on the branches ready to put a golden blanket over the wood.

Thomas watched, waiting for the first leaf to fall, because when the first leaf fell, that meant it was nearly his birthday. “How many days till my birthday?” he asked, as Mommy tucked him in. “Too many to start counting now”, smiled Mommy. “How many days till my birthday?” Thomas asked the next night, and the next, until one night Mommy said, “Just enough days to deliver party invitations to all your friends”.

So the next day that was exactly what they did. They delivered invitations all the way from Little Hollow to Big Oak Tree, to Rabbit, Foxy, and Squirrel Red Tail. “How many days till my birthday now, Mommy?” murmured Thomas, so tired from his long walk. “Just enough days to go collecting decorations”, said Mommy.

After breakfast, they gathered armfuls of leaves, cones and acorns. “How many days till my birthday, from this exact moment?” Thomas wondered, right in the middle of his bedtime story. “Exactly enough days to help Mommy ice the cake”, said Daddy.

In the morning, Mommy iced the cake, and Thomas licked the bowl. Then together they decorated it so that it was the best birthday cake Thomas had ever seen.

“Guess how many days now, Thomas?” said Mommy one morning. “How many?” asked Daddy. “Just enough to pack the party bags, put the candles on the cake, and get to bed early”. “But that means”, exclaimed Thomas, “that means my birthday is tomorrow!” And it was.

When Thomas’s special day had come to an end; when the presents had been opened, the “thank you’s” given, the party games played, and the delicious cake all eaten up, and Thomas was in bed, he whispered dreamily, “How many days till my next birthday?” “Just enough days for Daddy to start on your next present”, Mommy whispered back. But Thomas was already asleep.

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How many days