My angel,

Today was weird. I didn’t like the way I woke up. My mind immediately went to you, as it always does. I glance at your picture on my bedside table whenever I wake up. The minute I opened my eyes, sadness washed over me. Stronger than usual. Your birthday was always so fun. We saw you every day, but your birthday was different. You cared for everyone else all the time, so we fully enjoyed turning the tables on your day. There was always dinner from a favorite restaurant or a cake baked by one of us. You never minded the crumbs in the frosting or the misspelled homemade cards. Even doing nothing was doing something. I will forever remember celebrating you. Your life, your love for life. Today doesn’t feel right without you here. It never feels right. I’m terrified that some day your birthday will be just another day to some people. While I’m determined to honor your birthday every year down here, I hope they do it big for you up in heaven.

I hope you get to sleep in. I hope nothing wakes you up except your own petite body when you’re fully rested. And when you do wake up, I hope it’s to the birds chirping outside the window. I hope you sit up and stretch. I hope your curls stayed perfectly as you slept. I hope it’s a beautifully sunny morning.

I hope you get to put on your fluffy robe and comfy slippers. I hope somebody has your coffee waiting for you. Hot with a little milk and one sugar. Just how you like it. I know you don’t usually eat breakfast, but I hope you do today. I hope you eat unlimited mini powdered donuts. Or maybe some toast with butter. Or maybe both. I hope.

I hope that everyone was quiet when you wanted to watch your shows at noon. I hope your favorite episodes were on. Not the ones you’ve seen a million times. But, I hope they were your favorites. I hope no one tried to make you eat lunch. You never eat lunch when you know you’re going to have a good dinner. You know you should, but it makes you feel too full. I hope they understand that. I hope nobody makes you.

I hope the Red Sox are playing this afternoon. I hope you watch it. I hope Papi hits a homer. I hope they win.

I hope they have the best bathtub in heaven. I hope someone fills it for you, nice and warm. I hope they have lavender scented bubbles. I hope your favorite music is on and I hope you relax for a while. I hope your towels are warm and fluffy. I hope they smell like clean laundry. I hope they don’t rush you to get ready for dinner. I hope you wear your favorite sweater.

I hope you visit the best restaurant you could think of. I hope you don’t sit too close to the door. Or too close to the kitchen. I hope your waiter is cute. And I hope he’s nice. I hope you make a funny joke about introducing him to your favorite girls. I hope the food is good. I hope you ordered a big glass of wine. Or a beer. Your number one guy could always get you to crack open a Bud Light. I hope you did.

I hope the cake is good. I hope they sing to you so loud that the windows shake. I hope whoever is next to you is holding your hand. I hope it’s your baby. I hope he helps you blow out the candles. I hope mom ironed his pants just how you would have. I hope you don’t think about your age once. You never did.

I hope we are all there. I hope the table is packed so tightly that the restaurant almost couldn’t fit us. I hope you feel us. I hope you hear us. I hope you hear your daughters when they laugh at your sly comments. I hope you see when your baby tries to sneak some frosting. I hope he puts a little on your nose. I hope you love your presents.

I hope you feel us hug you so tightly that you think you might pop. I hope An Affair to Remember is on when you get home. I hope you get to snuggle up on the couch with that white blanket. I hope all your ironing is done for tomorrow. I hope you crawl into your warm clean bed. I hope you drift off into the most peaceful sleep.

I hope you get our balloons. I hope you see our butterflies. I hope you felt us. I hope you had the best birthday. I hope you smiled. I hope today was perfect. I hope you know we love you.