Bunting is back up for the second time this summer. Oldest bear says I should just leave it up, then it won’t be a special event I reply.Bunting and cake, it is a sweet combination no matter what number you may be turning. I made chocolate tahini cake again…there really is no turning back. We also tried some cupcakes from a local bakery, good thing we did since swimming and growing older apparently can make you eat enormous amounts of pies and cakes. Cannonballs into the pool, bopping up after whirling and racing to the bottom then resurfacing, water still trickling off elbows and fingertips for another round of chomping.It was a last-minute idea since we weren’t supposed to be around. A call to a couple of local joints and friends and presto warm boxes of pie, Neapolitan style our favorite and mini cakes to share with friends around the pool. I have the cake recipe down so it was quick and easy to whip up. And although we had counted on seeing old faces to sing a little birthday cheer, things happen, plans change and we are grateful for new faces to join in. Secret wishes made under breath before the big lungful to blow out all the candles; may all your wishes come true dearest bear and may you have many more adventures to boot.I wish for lasting friendships, those kindred spirits that will remain in your life for as long as you. And for those who have passed on well before their time, may their memories be imprinted in our consciousness forever. How I long for their company at times more so than others.The sweet tune whispered into little bears ears still echo in my ears…”Los pollitos disen pio, pio, pio,” the missed warm plate of pollo gaillena, bright and slightly spicy like her nature that lit up every room she entered. A dearest friend by technicality but kindred like a mother, an abuelita, a healer by nature and all her magic was in her presence, her willingness to listen and to understand. She was present for little bears first few precious years and her attendance at middle bears birth was invaluable. My heart constricts, my lungs compress thinking about what could have been. All those extra hugs and kisses little bears would have received from another soul who could love them like her own, surely, she would have shaped their lives and enriched their little hearts. My world would have been richer with her near for she had a way of showing me what was already there. I veer off track at times and loose perspective. I am narrating those formative years for strength and guidance.I have her in my thoughts lately knowing she is there at those deviate junctures. I know she would have been revered by her two granddaughters, so unfortunate they never met, but a piece of her lives on through her daughter and her sparkle will always light their paths as well as mine. While birthday bunting drapes the window for only a wrinkle in time in our nest, dearest friends never leave our hearts. We merely need to make space.