She awoke to hugs and kisses, as usual. But this time they were accompanied by whisperings of "happy birthday."
She stays in her pajamas and watches cartoons. As she dresses to go out to breakfast at her favorite breakfast restaurant she says to me, "Mommy, isn't this the best day ever?"
We return home for a rousing playtime of baby dolls. Babies dolls line our living room rug, in various states of being put to bed, changed or fed. Her chatter floats through the house as she talks to them all. I watch her from a distance, not wanting to intrude upon her special time. She catches me watching her, smiles and says, "Mommy, this is the best day ever."
We run to the grocery store for birthday party supplies, which she helps to pick out. We use the self-service check-out which makes her feel important and special as she scans each item.
We return home and she announces she wants to go for a bike ride around the block. We make several loops, racing at times and going as slowly as possible at others. "Mommy," she says, "Guess what."
"What," I say, knowing what she'll say next.
"I love you!" she announces, giggles and leans towards me for a sideways hug. "If you had to say, would you say that this was the best day ever?"
Her dad and sister arrive home, and she dons her special birthday hat to open presents. She delights in ripping the paper and hugs her sister for giving her a homemade pillow that is only partially constructed. Upon opening a bouquet shaped like birthday cake, she asks that we light the candles and sing happy birthday to her. She jumps around and directs us while we sing to her, then blows out the candles emphatically.
"This is the best day ever!" she exclaims.
We leave for the restaurant for dinner and she orders exactly what she wants. We listen to the girls chatter about what they're going to do during the birthday party the next day.
We return home and catch the last of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. We watch a part of the parade of nations. Tiredness sets in around countries beginning with the letter "G" -- there will be no staying up to wait for the United States to enter the arena.
She dons her pajamas, brushes her teeth and reads us stories while lying on our bed.
I finally tuck her in to her own bed, with Dax already curled up beside where she'll sleep.
"Mommy," she whispers, pulling me close to her for a hug, "This was the best day ever."
That's what makes Marissa so special. Every day with her is the best day ever.