Today is my love's birthday and he has the flu. It is the first birthday he has celebrated in 21 years without at least one of his children part of the festivities. Even when we just got a cake and sang Happy Birthday just the few of us, it was a party. In the photo above, our son was eagerly helping his dad to cut the cake. It was 16 years ago now. Our son had just turned four and our daughter was not yet two. They were so tiny, and yet the house was so full of their presence. It's a lot quieter in the house this year, no sound of just awakened children padding out of their bedrooms, wrapped in blankets, falling into their dad's arms with happy birthday morning hugs. We miss them dearly but he is philosophical. They are getting on with their lives, and that is satisfying to him. He is a pragmatist, not a man to wring his hands, ever. With or without our children present, and even though he is feeling under the weather (no pun intended despite the monster hurricane/ nor'easter/ cold front moving in with great fanfare tonight and shutting down the whole wide subway system) there will be cake. And I will wrap my arms around him and let him know how much we all adore him, how even though the house is a littler quieter and so much neater, the love for him is all around, threading the very air, because he is the best father, the best husband, my best friend. Happy birthday, sweetheart. And many more.