“A Good Day After All!” Friend, Sep. 2014, 12–13
“Hmmph!” Kate said, thumping her purple backpack down hard on the kitchen table. Everything rattled.
Her big sister, Emma, picked up her glass of milk to keep it from spilling. “What’s wrong?” she asked, closing her math textbook.
Kate collapsed in a chair and buried her head in her arms. “At school today Maya got the ‘Being Good’ award, and I didn’t. And I was working just as hard as she was!” Kate squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her fists, remembering that awful sinking feeling when Mrs. Jenkins had called Maya’s name instead of hers. “Maya gets to show her parents that award certificate, but I don’t have anything to show Mom and Dad!”
“I’m sorry,” Emma began to say.
“And we went to the library today,” Kate raced on, “and Emily got the ladybug book I wanted! And at recess, I found a cool heart-shaped rock, but Michael said it was his and took it home! I never get anything good!”
“I bet that’s not true,” said Emma, patting Kate on the shoulder. “Let’s look in your backpack.”
Kate heard Emma slide the backpack across the table and unzip it. “There’s nothing special in there,” Kate mumbled with her head in her arms.
Emma gasped. “Oh, Kate! Look at this!”
Kate looked up.
Emma was holding the worksheets Kate had done in school that day. “You got 100 percent on your math paper.” Emma grinned and tapped her math book. “Maybe I should be asking you for help on my homework!”
Kate smiled just the tiniest bit.
Emma pulled another paper out of Kate’s backpack. “And this tree you made in art class is gorgeous. I bet you worked really hard on it, right?”
Kate sat up, remembering how carefully she had cut and glued each piece of the tree. “Right,” she said quietly.
“And look at this!” Emma said, pulling out a library book. “You got a book about a mommy pig and all her babies! You love pigs!”
I do like pigs, Kate thought. I like them even more than ladybugs. She smiled.
Emma reached way down into Kate’s bag. “Wow!” she said, carefully lifting out two pinecones that had grown together. “I’ve never seen anything like this!”
Kate bounced in her chair. “I found it under a tree after school!” she said. “I want to put it on the science table in my classroom.”
“I bet your class will love it,” Emma said. “Come on, let’s wrap it up and put it back in your bag so you won’t forget it.”
Kate and Emma found some brown paper to wrap the pinecones in.
“This will be a cool way to start the day tomorrow,” Emma said, holding the wrapped pinecones so Kate could tape the paper down.
Kate grinned and hugged her big sister. I’ve had a pretty good day after all, she thought. It just depends on how I look at it!