My little girl turned six last March 25, Friday, and we celebrated it simply – very differently from how we did the last few years.

We spent it apart.

She spent it by going to her mother’s hometown, giving in to the request of her maternal grandmother who celebrated her own birthday the day before. Her lola wanted to spend it there because one of Sadako’s godmothers was also there, vacationing from London. I, on the other hand, was just catching up with my sister in her apartment.

It was no biggie, really, since Sadako and I reunited that night.

The day after turned out to be her birthday celebration. We had lunch with my family, including her favorite cousin, my nephew Inigo. And since she couldn’t get enough of him and they rarely see each other, we had merienda AND dinner with Inigo and his family, too.

They sat together every meal, playing with their tablets, showing each other new apps, and taking photos on Snapchat. They went to a playplace and rode the carousel. They played in Mary Grace’s play area for kids, which they always do whenever they’re together.

Sadako didn’t have a lot of gifts this year. She didn’t have a cake, too. But I’m very sure she had lots of fun. Next year will be different since it will be her seventh birthday and I want that to be really special, but I’m very glad I was able to show her this year that you don’t need a lot of gifts or even a birthday cake just to be happy. You just need to be with the people you love, people who love you back.