One year ago, in virtual anonymity in the Bahamas, Anna Nicole Smith experienced the greatest and worst days of her life in less than a single week. First, on Sept. 7, she welcomed a baby girl into the world. And then, three days later, she lost her son, Daniel, to a mysterious cocktail of narcotics in the same hospital room. What followed was a media whirlwind that could never have been imagined, including a quickie quasi-marriage to attorney/advisor Howard K. Stern and, ultimately, Anna’s tragic death on Feb. 8, 2007, which only seemed to stir the tempest further as Howard battled Anna’s mother and her one-time boyfriend Larry Birkhead for custody of Dannielynn.

What seemed to be lost in all of this to-do was the little motherless girl, who never asked for her name to become a media buzzword, who never held a press conference to discuss her talking points, who will never get the chance to talk to her mother about boys or clothes or school. In Dannielynn’s first year, she’s experienced more bad news than many people get in a lifetime.

With that in mind, Dannielynn’s first birthday, held at the Louisville, Ken., home of socialite Tricia Barnstable, was a fairy-tale affair, complete with pink balloons, a castle and a white carriage. Guests carrying huge stuffed animals walked through the front yard of the home where a hot-air balloon decorated as a birthday cake was tethered.

But perhaps the most-important thing for friends and admirers of little Dannielynn to give her this weekend is their prayers… that she’ll live a happy life… that she’ll be able to someday step out of the shadow of the scandal surrounding her birth… that she’ll grow to know and cherish her mother’s memory.

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