Tonight my great aunt came to give me my birthday present. My birthday is Friday, and she knows it is going to be a special birthday. It’s the golden one. I have been excited for this birthday since the womb. As it approaches, I have lost sight of why I am so excited for this birthday. But tonight reminded me why I have been looking forward to it so much.

Numbers have always been my thing. I am good at remembering them and rearranging them. Numbers are my friends. So the fact that my age and the day I was born are finally going to be the same is a pretty neat event, for me. But more importantly, I get to celebrate being an addition to this fun little planet for seventeen whole years now. It feels like I’ve been here for eons. But looking at how long my grandpa has been celebrating his birthday on February 17th, I realize I haven’t been around that long.

I share a birthday with my grandfather and my cousin, Jake. Last year, I went down to Florida with my dad, because Jake and his family live down there. I convinced my dad it would be the best way for me to spend my sixteenth birthday. Even Grandpa flew down, and we all celebrated our birthday together. It was the best birthday I have had up to this point. I spent most of the day on the beach in Fort Lauderdale (Near Miami), how can it get much better? Plus, it was a Thursday, and my friends were learning about the early humans in World History.

This year will be great. I know it is going to be a good birthday, but it will be a little different than all of the rest. My great aunt gave me my present tonight along with a card. This was the first card that only had three signatures on it from them. It was missing my Cousin Hannah’s name. I envisioned her handwriting next to my Cousin Andrew’s name. My great aunt gave me some of Hannah’s jewelry. It made me want to cry, but I didn’t cry in front of Auntie Claudia. Every once in a while—when I’m least expecting it—I just start crying. Something reminds me of Hannah, and I just can’t help it. Watching Auntie Claudia cry was so hard, but I am glad that I will always have a part of Hannah with me now.

Sure, this is my first birthday without Hannah, but I will never really be without her. I will carry a part of her with me every day, like the last time I saw her was yesterday.