Yes I know that the logic answer is that the light in the window is the flash from the camera, I am a college educated lady so I get that is what you see. I want to tell you a secret. For my entire life this picture has meant the world to me. The cake is amazing (I needed two cause I am a princess after all), my brother is smiling, my sister looks ready to party and my father has his arms wrapped around us. But that is not why. I used to pretend my mom took this picture and I was looking at her and that light is her shining on us. Say what you want but that is what is happening.
You go through life and look for signs and ask for those who have died to show you something because it brings you comfort. That is what the light does, it comforted me. When I was younger I pretended that she was there at this birthday party yelling at me to smile, telling me that I light up her life. It is funny because today on my 43rd birthday I do not find that silly. I think that is exactly what she was doing.
I hate my birthday because it was the last event before her death, it looms over my family like the darkest cloud ever. No she would not want that but it doesn't matter we ache still for her so the light in this picture needs to shine. I imagine that my birthday the first year after her murder was painful but if I know my family they used it to eat, drink, eat some more and to find a way to embrace the loud love in the house. Birthdays are supposed to do that right? But this birthday came with a price because the anniversary of her death comes after and their heart was broken. But there was this little unassuming princess asking for birthday cake so the party must go on.
Finding a light to shine at your darkest moments warms you and gets you through. This picture was just 2 years after her death. It was still raw and painful but you don't see or feel that. All you see is a little princess with her big protective brother, big loving sister, her daddy with his arms around his family and the light of her mother shining on a birthday party.