It will be easy money! I said to myself as I headed toward the small brick house. The familiar, distinct smell of cookies abruptly wasted towards me as I waltzed up the tall steep driveway. The cardinal that always seemed to be there was chirping loudly into the day. I felt like I was floating as I glided up the walkway onto the old warm welcome mat that always sat in front of the big wooden door. As I rang the doorbell, the familiar whimsical tune played out. Suddenly, there was the sound of footsteps scurrying to the door, and with no pause, the door swung open and I was enveloped in a sweeping hug. “I can’t believe my granddaughter is turning 18 already!” My grandmother blurted out as my grandfather approached the door. “My baby’s all grown up!”

As I walked in, the smell of cookies hit me with even more force than before. It makes me wonder if she constantly has cookies in the oven, and if so how do they stay so thin? Interrupting my thoughts, my grandmother started rushing me over to the table where my presents lay. That’s what I’d been waiting for.

I know my grandmother tries hard with presents, but usually she just doesn’t hit the mark. She’ll often get me knitted hats, or a bag of that old lady candy, and most recently, old porcelain dolls. Although we all know that these kinds of presents are thoughtful, it’s not exactly what an 18-year-old wants for her birthday. However, I do know one thing that I’ve been looking forward to all year, the money! Grandparents always give those cards, usually with a teddy bear or something on them, and inside are bills on bills of cash. It’s just easy money!

So as I approached the table eagerly looking for the card my eyes landed on it. The white envelope, with my name drawn on the front surrounded by red hearts. It sat there in all its glory just waiting for me to open it. Out of courtesy, I started with the other gifts. First I reached for a gift bag that was covered in red and blue polka dots, it looked like a walking police cruiser. As I opened it I reached in to find a hand-knitted hat. It was striped purple and hunter orange, which feels like an odd combination. As I looked to my grandmother for some sort of explanation she quickly offered up a reason. “You see I picked purple because that’s your favorite color, and I picked orange so you would be able to wear the hat out hunting!” “Well isn’t that sweet. I love it.” I responded, trying to be optimistic after hearing the explanation for this outrageous hat. After putting the ridiculous hat on, which made me look like an egg by the way, I looked down and noticed that there were two more gifts. I asked, “What’s with all the extra gifts Grandma?” and with a smile, she responded, “Because it’s my baby’s 18th birthday.”

As I opened the other gift I reached in to find a porcelain doll. This doll was truly nice for what it was. It looked like a young girl you might have seen on the Oregon Trail. She had a long dress with a cute little bonnet. She looked well made; I wondered if I could sell her. After a quick thanks, my eyes land on the envelope, in all its glory.

As I ripped open the envelope and peered at the little bunny rabbit on the cover, I knew I was going to be able to afford enough gas for the next week. As I opened it with so much anticipation, nothing fell out. As I looked around I faintly heard my grandmother say, “The doll and the yarn were so expensive this year, so I decided you would probably like them more than money because you always seemed so happy.” I thanked her with a pit in my stomach. How was I going to get home, this was supposed to be easy money.