Dearest Haven,

I thought today this year on my birthday -- my first as a mother, that I would have you, my firstborn, my baby -- in my arms .. but instead they are empty. Last night as the minutes approaching midnight for November 13th were passing, a cloud of anxiousness and sadness came over me. Your daddy asked your Papa DJ and I to hide in another room as him and the rest of our family prepared our traditional midnight birthday surprise. Nervously, I  kept glancing at the time on my phone in a state of denial that I was really going to turn another year older without you. When it hit 23:55, I turned my phone off and decided to just wait.

Midnight struck and your Papa Jeff came in the room and began serenading us with the "Happy Birthday" song. There was a big Oreo ice-cream cake with a big tulip shaped/ sparkler candle for Papa Deej and I both to blow, rows of birthday cards, a pink rose and eucalyptus  bouquet from your daddy, and presents. Lots of hugs and kisses were shared across the room -- I felt so much love. We all ate cake, laughed, took pictures and then headed off to bed as we were going to have a fun-filled agenda in a few, short hours.

As your daddy and I were getting ready for bed, a river of tears began to fall down from my eyes. Your dad without having to ask already knew my heart. He did his best to comfort me and held on to me tight, as he too, wished you were here celebrating this day with us as new parents. I prayed for His peace and comfort as I wept. This kept on until I fell asleep. The early rays of sunshine woke us up, your dad kissed and greeted me a happy birthday again for what seemed like the millionth time -- He was the absolute best as he always is, each birthday year. I said a quick prayer and asked for His strength and grace to get me through this birthday -- the first of many until I get to spend them with you. 

Your dad and I got ready quickly, I opted for a makeup-free morning and day birthday look and head out the door. We got breakfast at the popular, Cheeky's in the heart of downtown Palm Springs and was given a cute muffin with a pink candle on top and got a 'happy birthday' greeting from the restaurant. As we walked back to the car to head for church, I noticed pink and blush flowers from a random bush on the side of the street and couldn't help but forage a few branches for myself. They reminded me so much of you. 

On our drive to church, we noticed 2 large butterflies at separate times, dancing next to us by the car. We knew this was your special way of saying hello and reminding me that you are always present. After church, your dad surprised me to a wonderful, "Maui" inspired massage for some rest and relaxation. I love how your dad knows how to love + care for me and how he does so with such ease. 

After what seemed like three hours of resetting and relaxing, we headed back to Indio to meet up with the rest of the family to carpool together to the beautiful, Joshua Tree National Park. We arrived at the National Park at two o'clock in the afternoon -- and it was the best time we've ever visited this magical place. The sun was right at its' peak; not the usual scorching heat of Palm Springs. We snuck in some really good photos, golden hour came upon us, and simply just basked in the presence of one another. It was intimate, intentional, and perfect.

The sun was setting on our way back to the city and noticed the big, "super" moon so close by to us. The sky was effortlessly hued in pastels, of course the pinks and peaches caught my attention the most. I knew this once again was your way of saying, "Hello mama, I'm right here with you." I teared up a bit in the car and smiled with thankfulness. 

Mama changed into her "Adele" inspired birthday suit and put some makeup on for our fancy birthday dinner at Mikado at the JW Marriot. After a pair of heels, a quick top-knot, and a black t-shirt dress, I stared at myself before heading out the door and thought to myself, "Not too bad for 28." We ate the beautiful, delicious 'Benihana'- esque restaurant and your Papa Deej and I got serenaded once more with the happy birthday song and were served a bowl each of yummy vanilla ice cream on top of a brownie. Of course as he does every year, blew my candle out before I got the chance too -- I like to believe that he made my wish for me. 

I end the night of my first day as a 28 year old, sharing my day with you through this online blog that I keep. I will do this every birthday until I get to spend them with you. I know that even though you are always with me and are in all of the details of my life, I like telling you how I've been and what I've been doing through here, too. 

Though my arms are empty this first birthday along with the many others I'll have to celebrate without you, my heart is full. Full of you and full of all the love I have for you. My sweet angel, I want you to know that the gift of your precious life has taught me so many things I would not have learned or would have been able to understand otherwise. It is because of you and your legacy that I have and will continue to let go of the things of this temporary life, things of this passing world and to instead, cling onto and hold fast to what is good, pure, and true.  

As a new mother, a new twenty-eight year old woman, I am longing for and looking forward to heaven and your home more than ever. I cannot wait for the eternity that I will spend with you my precious darling. 

Mama can't wait.

The best is yet to come.

You are my favorite birthday gift. 


Thinking of you, miss you, and love you more and more each day,

Your mama