Happy Birthday, Lilly

I can see it so clearly in my head. A pink birthday cake dotted with candles in the middle of the table. Big, bright balloons hanging from the ceiling gently blowing in the summer breeze. Party hats, streamers, toy horns, confetti finish the party tableau. The only thing that is missing is the birthday girl. She’s eight-years-old today, my niece’s daughter. How can she have been in this world for eight years now and I’ve never set eyes on her? I’ve never spoken to her. I have no connection to her at all except through blood. Her mother, my niece, was my heart growing up. She and I were so close and then she turned 20 and for whatever reason decided to move across the country to California. She changed her phone number. She unfriended the entire family on Facebook. She did everything she could to tell us to stay away. She didn’t need us anymore. She didn’t want us in her life anymore. And she broke my heart in ways I didn’t know were possible. And now, for the past eight years on July 27th, I wish my grand-niece Lilly happy birthday and make the same wish. A wish that I get to see her one day. To meet her and to talk to her. To be able to tell her everything I’ve wanted to but I couldn’t because her mother made the decision that we weren’t worthy enough to be in their life.  I hope she is happy. I hope she has a great life. I hope she has a happy birthday and many, many more like them. But most importantly I hope, in some way, she knows that she has a family who has never met her who love her so very much. Happy birthday, Lilly.