On November 11, 2007, you arrived, making me a mother more than eleven weeks ahead of schedule. I wasn’t ready to meet you, but it was still one of the best days of my life. Even with the fear and the uncertainty, it was still an amazing day, because you were finally here.
Becoming a mom is something I always wanted to do, but to be honest, it wasn’t high on my priority list. I figured it was something I’d get to eventually. I was so stupid and lucky…stupid I assumed it would be easy, lucky the baby I got was you. Before I became pregnant I just assumed it was something that came easily for everyone… I quickly realized that couldn’t be father from the truth. It only made me appreciate you more.
With the rough start you had, it gave me a lot of perspective…perspective I certainly didn’t want, but I had it nonetheless. And I’m glad, in a way, because I looked at each day with you as a gift. I was SO LUCKY to have you! And you were such an amazing little girl. You smiled all the time. You made a game out of the hardships. Every day was another chance to be happy. You were the happiest person I have ever met. Every day since April 7 I’ve thought about how happy you were, and I smile and try to inject some of that happiness back into the world.
Four is such a big birthday. You’d be a little person with opinions and hobbies and likes and dislikes. When I look at your friends I close my eyes and I see you there running around with them on the grass. I wonder what you’d be into…what your favorite things would be…what presents I’d have wrapped for you. I hate that I’ll never know.
I have been telling myself and anyone else who will listen that November 11th shouldn’t be a day of sadness. I want to hit each November 11th and celebrate that you came into my life. But that’s going to be easier said than done. I don’t know how I can celebrate such a great day without you here. It’s been so hard…it’s still so hard.
It’s been two years, seven months, and four days since you left. I can’t believe it’s been that long…and yet, it’s just a small bit of the years you won’t get to have. It’s so unfair. I’m so sorry, baby.
I miss you so much I can’t even express it. It’s consuming and overwhelming, just like my love for you.
Today, on your birthday, I am going to do my best to smile and celebrate you. I became a mommy thanks to you. I will never stop being YOUR mommy, and on your special day I’m going to shout your name from the rooftops. I’m going to sing happy birthday and eat a creme puff and close my eyes and imagine your face.
I love you SO MUCH. Thank you for loving me too.
Happy birthday, baby. You’ll always be my special, happy little girl.
To celebrate Maddie on her birthday and support Friends of Maddie, please consider buying “You Are The One.”
Happy Birthday sweet Maddie….
Happy birthday Miss Maddie. I wish I could say something insightful and comforting to your parents on this day. But I don’t have the words so I bought your beautiful song to help the beautiful work your parents do in your name.
Happy heavenly birthday, beautiful girl.
And for her mommy and daddy, extra prayers and love today…..
Becca Masters says:
This post breaks my heart. Life really does have its cruel moments.
I can’t even imagine how you feel Heather, or how Mike feels.
My friend suddenly lost her daughter 2 years and 5 days ago, she was 2. Right now I’m imagining Eli and Maddie in a green meadow laughing, eating cookies and playing tea party.
Big hugs to you all x
Happy Birthday Maddie! Little did you know on this day four years ago that your little girl would have such a HUGE impact on this world. Her existence has changed thousands of people…thank you for sharing your sweet baby with us.
Happy Birthday to your precious, beautiful girl. She’s touched the lives of so, so many.
lisa @ early morning run says:
Oh Heather. I just cant imagine. I’m so sorry your little girl isn’t going to eat her cream puff with you today. I’m singing happy birthday to her and sending hugs your way.
Happy birthday sweet, sweet Madeline. There are so many people that miss you and celebrate you today and every day.
Happy Birthday, Maddie. Love and hugs Heather, Mike and Annie. Surrounding you with light and love today and remembering and celebrating the life of the fantastic Maddie today with you.
Happy 4th Birthday sweet, precious Maddie. Your Mommy and Daddy have already made sure that the whole entire world will never, ever forget their beautiful little girl.
Much love and hugs to you today, and everyday, Heather, Mike, little sister Annie, and best friend Rigby.
Thinking today of Maddie and that 1000-watt smile, and of you, Heather, and Mike and Annie. I’m so sorry that Maddie won’t be there with you to share in that cream puff.
Happy birthday, sweet girl.
Happy birthday sweet Maddie.
Heather and Mike- thank you for sharing Maddie’s joy with all of us.
Happy Birthday Maddie! My day will start with your parent’s amazing song. I’ll be thinking of all of you today.
Thinking of all of you today. Happy 4th Birthday beautiful Madeline ! Love and prayers from all of us !
Happy Birthday Maddie! I’m wearing purple for you today. Mike, Heather, and Annie, I hope you have a special day filled with joy knowing your sweet Maddie has touched a lot of hearts.
Happy Birthday Maddie! Love to you all! XOXO
Happy Birthday Maddie. Thinking of your whole family today.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET MADDIE GIRL!!!
I know you want a day of happiness and I am so happy & thankful Maddie was brought into your life (and mine) but man, did I ever cry with your post! As a mom myself and a friend, the urge to just hug & comfort you is so strong!!!
Please know as I celebrate Maddie’s day, I will be thinking of you, Mike, Annie & Rigby and hold you all so dear within my heart!!
Thinking of you all on this bittersweet birthday. I so wish Maddie was with you eating creme puffs today. I hope that where ever she is she is just as happy as she was here.
I have 4 children. 2 with me. I hope the other 2 are singing happy birthday to Maddie and having some sort if cosmic birthday party for her. Take care if yourselves.
Happy birthday sweet baby girl…
sending love and hugs from NJ.
lots of them today.
Happy Birthday sweet little girl! Your smile changed the world, and your parents continue to light the way with their happiness and memories of you. You all make us better.
Lucy G says:
Heather and Mike, today is Remembrance Day up in Canada. A day that we remember the veterans and fallen soldiers who fought for our freedom. But today I’m remembering two groups of people: the brave men and women who gave everything for my country, and your family – a brave group of people who gave their little girl everything they had to make her life wonderful and filled with joy.
Thank you again for sharing Maddie and her contagious happiness with us. Happy birthday Maddie.
I echo Lucy exactly (except for “Veteran’s Day” here in the US”). Happy Birthday, sweet, happy, cuddly, purple-wearing, beautiful eyed wonder, Maddie! You and your parents have touched so so many lives — I wish you all the love and joy and happiness in your heavenly home that you brought to your wonderful family and continue to bring them!!!
Hugs and comfort to your Mom, Dad, Annie and Rigby today!
Eric's Mommy says:
Happy Birthday sweet little Maddie!
Deer Baby says:
Happy birthday Maddie. Love to all your family x
Mommy Boots says:
Happy Birthday, sweet sweet Madeline! And Heather & Mike, sending you love and peace today. *hugs*
Sending hugs and love, thinking of you today.
Happy Birthday Maddie!!
Heather (& Mike) – I follow your blog and have for years, some day I will email you a proper introduction! But today I just want you to know that people near & far are thinking about you & Maddie today on her birthday! Enjoy that creme puff!
Happy Birthday beautiful Maddie.
Happy Birthday, precious Maddie. Eat a creme puff with the angels today!
Happy Birthday Maddie!!!
I’m wearing purple (and wishing I had a cream puff!) for you today. I’m so lucky I get to know you through pictures and stories; you brighten up my days : -)
Happy birthday to the Famous Madeline. Your joy for life, curiosity and tenacity shine through your pictures. May your family be wrapped in the very best memories today.
Happy Birthday, Maddie girl. You’re always remembered. By all of us.
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
–from Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch
Love to you all.
Thinking of Maddie and you all today. Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday Maddie!
I have my Maddie bracelet hanging up by the kitchen sink. Every time I look at it, I think of Maddie, and of course, of her mom & dad. I can’t express my thoughts, but want to thank you for the beautiful post.
Happy, Happy 4th birthday, Maddie-moo!!! Such a precious child. Holding you and Mike close in thoughts…and smiling for your daughter!
Melina E. says:
Happy Happy Birthday Maddie.
Happy Birthday Sweet Maddie!
Happy Birthday Maddie. Keeping your family in my thoughts today.
Shirley L says:
Happy Birthday sweet Maddie, praying for strength for you, Heather, and Mike today and everyday.
I woke up today and my first thought was, “It’s Maddie’s birthday.”
H0w I wish you were celebrating this day differently. How in awe I am of her perfect beauty. How glad I am she existed and made–and continues to make–the world a better place.
Happy 4th birthday, Maddie.
Happy birthday, Maddie!
Praying for your sweet family today.
Awww happy Birthday Miss Maddie you are so very loved and deeply missed. Heather, Mike, and Annie big hugs and surrounding you with love, thoughts, and prayers. It’s our purple balloon release today for Maddie
Wearing purple and celebrating a beautiful life. Heather, Maddie and Annie were blessed to be given a mother like you.
Happy Birthday Miss Maddie.
Happy birthday, Maddie! Your life helps so many of us be better mommies to our little ones. Thank you for the gift of remembering the moments are few. I so wish you had not given it. Your life, though short, was profound! And today MANY will celebrate you, including me and my 3 year old!
Happy Birthday Maddie! Today I will try to smile all day to pass on your beautiful smile here in Colorado!
Happy Birthday Maddie!
happy happy birthday sweet Maddie!
Lesley @Avalea says:
Thinking of you all today. Happy Birthday Maddie! xoxo
Susan A says:
Happy Birthday Sweetie!! Happy Birthday Maddie!! We miss you.
Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] says:
Wishing you all a day of happy remembrance.
Happy, happy birthday Maddie!
Sending lots of love to you all, Heather & Mike- here’s hoping there is lots to smile about through your sadness!
Happy birthday Maddie. I’m sending my love and hugs to your mommy and daddy today…
Happy birthday, beautiful Maddie.
Happy birthday, Maddie!
Heather, thinking of you and your family today. Beautiful post. Happy Bday sweet Maddie, her smile always makes me smile.
Barbi Emel says:
Happy Birthday Maddie, she was such a happy, vibrant girl. I’m sorry for your loss, I hope memories bring you comfort today and always! xoxo
Wearing my favorite purple sweater for Maddie today! Happy Birthday Sweet girl!
Hugs coming your way today Spohr family! Love to you all!
Happy birthday sweet girl! Sending you all my love today. May it be a very happy day of celebration- full of pretty purple things, creme puffs, photos and videos of your darling Maddie, and love.
I found your blog 2 years ago, on Maddie’s second birthday. I’m so glad she brought me here. I’m making a donation to Friends of Maddie today to make sure she can keep helping other premature babies.
Happy birthday, Maddie.
And Mike and Heather – Happy 4th anniversary of the day you became parents.
I’m so, so sorry you can’t have her with you to celebrate. Try to smile through the tears.
michele wallace says:
Happy Birthday to your Angel! Maybe she be celebrating in heaven with all the other beautiful angels (including mine….Macey Marie). Your post brought tears to my eyes, I wish I could offer a (((hug))) through the computer.
Happy birthday, sweet, darling Maddie.
My thoughts today are with you, Heather.
Happy Birthday to your sweet girl! What a precious gift she was to this world!! It hurts my heart that you have to feel this pain…..I can’t even imagine it. My thoughts and prayers are with you all today… (((HUGS)))
Happy Birthday Miss beautiful Maddie.
Happy birthday Maddie!!!
Heather, what a beautiful letter to your beautiful girl!!!
May you, Mike and Annie celebrate Maddie’s day to the fullest today. Everything purple and a creme puff!!!
My thoughts and prayers are with you and Mike on this day.
Wearing purple for your little girl.
Happy birthday beautiful girl!
Sherry Lane says:
Happy 4th birthday Maddie!! XOXO
Happy Birthday Maddie! I’m wearing purple too!
Jessica Stringer says:
Happy Birthday Maddie!
Happiest of happy birthdays, sweet Maddie girl!
Debbie B says:
Happy Birthday Sweet Maddie!!
Happy Birthday, Sweet Madeline…
My heart goes out to you and your family today. I just finished reading your blog post and am sitting at my desk in tears. Hugs to you all! My thoughts and prayers are with you on this difficult day. I will think of your beautiful daughter and the happiness you and Mike brought her just by being her parents.
Happy Birthday sweet Maddie!
Happy birthday to your girl. I remember Maddie and will celebrate with you. I’m so sorry you can only imagine her face today.
Happy birthday, Maddie. I got the day wrong yesterday but I’ll just spend another day thinking about you and your beautiful brilliant brave family.
Super teary eyed reading this post. Happy Birthday to sweet Maddie.
Anne DiNapoli says:
Happy Birthday to Maddie. Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with all of your readers. Her pictures and stories have brought joy to me and so many. Thinking of you, Mike and Annie on this special day.
Heather R. says:
We’re all sending thoughts your way today
So much love to you all today and always, Heather.
Happy Birthday Maddie from Canada. I think of you often and not just on this special day, many days throughout the year.
happy birthday, Maddie and prayers to the Spohr family. You are all in my heart, and I am celebrating this wonderful day in honor of Maddie!
Marnie * says:
Happy Birthday Maddie!
Thinking of you and your family today.
I think of your family every day… Wishing you lots of smiles and cream puffs on Maddie’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday to you Madeline!
Jana A says:
Happy birthday, sweet Maddie! I hope you’ll give my Charlie a big hug and share a piece of cake with him today. His favorite is chocolate. ((hugs)) to you Heather and Mike.
Happy birthday, Maddie. And much love to you, Heather, and Mike and Annie.
katrina @ They All Call Me Mom says:
What an awesome day.
Happy Birthday, sweet Maddie. I know that big smile is still on your face in Heaven
Laurie SL says:
Happy Birthday to the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen.
Love to you and Mike.
Happy Birthday, Maddie. Oh, the lives you have touched . . .
Hugs, to you, Heather, Mike, and Annie.
Happy Birthday Maddie! Thinking of you, and your family that I know you’re watching over on this special day.
Happy Birthday, Maddie. Love to all of you. xoxox
Happy birthday, Maddie! A friend told me about your blog a little while ago and while I may not know your whole story (it’s hard reading through a lot of your posts because it plays on a lot of my emotions; my 3.5 year old son went to Heaven this past July) I can see just how loved she is. Thank you for sharing your life-and hers.
thinking of the three of you and how there should be four celebrating with cream puffs and laughter….(((hugs)))
Happy Birthday World Famous Maddie!! The happiest little girl we have ever ‘known’. We pictured your gorgeous smile and the twinkle in your beautiful eyes as we sang Happy Birthday to you today. O Maddie, we think of you every, single day, you have taught us all so much and we remember you every day. Sending you all, Heather, Mike, Annie, Rigby and all the family much love from afar. Thinking of you all today as every day. Erica in Luxembourg
Kristin (MamaKK922) says:
Happy Birthday Maddie! You are so very loved.
Debby Pucci says:
Remembering with you. ((HUGS))
Happy Birthday Maddie!
Thinking of you all on this bittersweet day – very much love to you and your most beautiful birthday girl! xxx
Happy Birthday Maddie Moo.
Happy Birthday Maddie. You are loved by many. XO.
Happy Birthday Maddie
Happy birthday sweet Maddie, your are loved and missed by so many people.
Happy TRIPLE GOLDEN birthday Maddie I hope you are eating cream puffs on a cloud!
Happy Birthday Maddie! Today I will be certain to keep your smile in my thoughts so that I can be grateful for all that I have! Your Mommy’s words help me to be inspired and to never take a single day for granted! Sending hugs to you Mom, Dad and little sister today!
Happy Birthday, little Maddie! I have never met you but I am so sorry that you can’t celebrate your fourth birthday the way you should. You have the best parents in the world and I am glad that they tell the world about you so that I can see your pictures and hear stories about you. I am thinking of you and your sweet family very often and especially today.
Happy 4th birthday Maddie!
Tricia (irishsamom) says:
Happy Birthday to your beautiful Maddie. These words were so hard to read, but so beautiful at the same time. It’s hard to find words on a day like this, but Maddie touched my life and so many others and I will remember her today and every day. I am sending love and hugs to you, Mike and Annie, on this day that must be impossibly hard for you. I’ve sent the link to as many people and we will all remember your gorgeous girl when we listen to your beautiful song.
Love to you all and keeping your family close to our hearts today.
Thinking of your sweet Maddie today and lots of days. Be strong, I love your idea of continuing to bring her joy to the world when you are feeling down. Happy Birthday Maddie!
Happy Birthday sweet little Maddie!!!! I often picture you as one my little girls best friend’s up in heaven. She would be 4 too and I just know you all are gal pals up there!
Happy Birthday, Maddie! Hugs to Mike, Heather and Annie. Thinking of you all today.
Happy Birthday Maddie! What a beautiful thing that people that never knew you remember you on this day. That is how important you are!
Happy Birthday, Maddie. Mike and Heather (and Annie and Rigby, too), blessings to you on this and every day.
Happy Birthday Sweet Ms. Maddie! I just bought your mommy’s and daddy’s song for your special birthday!
you guys did an awesome job on the song, love it!
Happy birthday, Maddie. I’m thinking of you and your family today.
Thinking of you all today.
Happy Birthday beautiful girl.
Heather, Mike and Annie…a million hugs.
Happy fourth birthday dear Maddie!
I hope where ever you are, you’re having a great one.
Happy Birthday sweet Maddie.
I bought your beautiful song a few days ago, and now I’m listening to it and thinking of your precious little girl.
Happy Birthday, sweetheart.
Love to everyone there.
I’m trying to spread extra joy in the world today (and every day) in honor of the amazing Maddie. I made extra cream puffs and went heavy on the use of purple sprinkles today in the bakery I work at. I went out of my way to make people laugh and smile. Maddie’s laughter, high spirits, and just insanely cute smile were contagious, and she WILL live on in that. Xoxo.
heather, mike & annie
we don’t know each other, but i’ve been reading your blog for years and i’m sending you lots of love and strength today on maddie’s birthday. your story never ceases to surprise, inspire and amaze me. i pray that her memory remains a blessing for you.
one of your faithful readers,
karen from new york.
michele wallace says:
I just came back to read all your Bday wishes after posting mine this morning (You have been heavy on my mind today) – realized that the shirt I am wearing just by chance is “Purple” makes me smile. Hope you hung in there today. Happy Birthday MADDIE!
Wow. I haven’t checked your blog in months and yet today I thought of you and Maddie, and it turns out it is her birthday.
Your mix of emotions makes perfect sense to me.
Happy Birthday, beautiful girl.
Happy Birthday sweet Maddie. We just had our cream puff in your honor. Mike and Heather thinking of you both today. And still wishing, wishing, wishing everything was different.
Happy Birthday Madeline!
Heather you have such a great outlook.
Thinking of you guys today. Happy Birthday in heaven Madeline Alice. :hugs:
Another Mama says:
Just bought “You are the One” this morning- wanted to wait until today to celebrate sweet Maddie! Hope your family finds sweet snuggles and memories to smile about all weekend long.
Happy Birthday Maddie!
Katie (Overflowing Brain) says:
Sending all my love and happy birthday wishes to your beautiful girl.
Happy birthday, Maddie Moo.
Happy birthday, sweet Madeline Alice! You are so missed and so, so, so loved.
Happy Birthday, Maddie. Happy Birth day, Heather. Sending your beautiful family love and light always.
Rocking out to your song,
Happy Birthday, Sweet Maddie.
Happy Birthday, sweet, perfect Maddie!!! Love to you all!
Happy birthday to Maddie. Thinking of you all and remembering a sweet little girl that I never met, but I’ve been impacted by her radiant smile and energy that shines through everything you’ve shared with us on your blog. Take care.
Happy late Birthday sweet Maddie!!!
Happy Birthday to your sweet Maddie, I’m sure she was smiling down on all of you. We celebrate our daughter’s birthday the same, smiling through tears as we remember her as a gift who should have been here so much longer. I wish this birthday was a much, much different celebration for you.
Happy Birthday beautiful Maddie! I think of your mega wattage smile every day and it gives me joy.
My love and heartfelt wishes to your wonderful Mum & Dad and sister especially today and always!
“You are the one” XOXO
Happy (belated) birthday Maddie, sweet sunshiney girl
Gosh, I can’t believe she has been gone so long – I remember watching the web light up that night – every mother thinking of how great a loss your family’d just had, Heather, and at least the way people responded was a beautiful thing, and how they donated en masse to help fight prematurity and how Maddie touched the lives of literally thousands of people by her untimely passing. But that impact indeed pales in comparison to what you have so rightly observed here – her greatest gift was joy and happiness to you and to the world. Yay for that. I support you in your quest to see her birthday that way – I think you are right, and brave, and I wish I could hug you. XOXOX from the mother of another former preemie.
My husband & I bought you are the one. You guys sound great!
Happy Birthday Maddie!
And extra hugs to Heather and Mike and the whole family today…
okay…. so sorry for your loss, but is anybody thinking about annabelle today? Well, yes. I guess I am….
I missed making a comment on our girls birthday, mine turned 17 on 11/11/11.
You are such a great mom to both of your girls, you were all blessed.