On her birthday it rains, just like on the day she was born. When you pick her up after school, you try to use the last 10 minutes of daylight, to stretch her day that much more. So your husband brings out the badminton rackets and hits a birdie in the street while your daughter makes a drawing with yellow sidewalk chalk. The mist comes down around them. It makes a quiet noise, leaves everything coated with the faintest shine.
When you go inside you make pizzas, and she is so, so happy. Flouring her hands, pinching the dough, spreading the sauce.
Sprinkle, sprinkle, she says as the cheese flurries down. It reminds you of the snow globes she likes to turn over, the way she’ll sit for long minutes watching the little flakes tumble around. Sprinkle, sprinkle. She smiles.
And when the pizza is cooked and eaten, she opens her presents. A Little Mermaid toy and her first camera and a suncatcher paint set. A light up ring. A Little Mermaid Barbie doll. So many smiles.
She points across the room and says, Is that my cake?
Your husband tries to convince her it’s for another little girl named Millie. She doesn’t buy it. Smart girl.
So you stick a lollipop in the frosting, and light the candles bright. You sing Happy Birthday and she sings along with you. Makes a wish. Blows out the candles.
It is a good day.
At night she peels the clothes off the Barbie, and brings her swimming in the bath. When your husband goes to check on her in the middle of the night, she’s fast asleep and dreaming, a toy clutched in each of her hands.