I can’t remember what year it was but I do remember knowing that she would appreciate this. Mommy would be happy that I did this. I wanted to show her that I loved her.

So I took out the sheets that we used to cover the portion of the carpet we slept on. First the cushion foam on the bottom, then the threadbare blue blanket, the sheet, two pillows and the final sheet to use as a cover. Afterward, I laid her slippers at the bottom of our makeshift bed. Then I waited. She would be coming home soon.

At the sound of the key in the lock, I run to hug her hello. Tell her that I love her and give her a big hug around her knees. I notice the tired lines around her eyes and mouth. I can see how hard she is trying to hold on to her smile for her baby girl.

I grab her hand into my much smaller one and gently tug her to the bedroom. I want to show her what her big girl can do. I want her to see how I got the order of the sheets right, I want her to see how I fluffed the pillows.  I want her to sit on the much higher bed next to ours while I help her take her shoes off and slip on her slippers. While she changes out of her home attendant uniform I rush to the kitchen and take out the glass of water I had placed in the fridge earlier.

She is pleased. Her smile holds itself a little better, a little wider, she hugs me again and I can see a watery reflection of myself when I look in her eyes. I’ve done good.

Happy birthday Mommy…

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