Madeline cleaned up during her first Christmas. She got tons of clothes, toys, ride-on cars, you name it. Girlfriend got anything she could ever want. Mike and I made the decision to put some toys away and bring them out slowly. She certainly didn’t need 187 new toys all at once. So, the toys were stacked in a neat pile in the closet underneath her new clothes she needed to grow into.

She didn’t get to use any of them.

Before Annabel was born, I remembered the dresses and shirts and pants that still had the tags on them. I knew I wanted Annie to use them, so I didn’t pack them away. She’s just started to fit into some of those clothes now. I’m glad they’re getting use, and when I see how the clothing fits on Annie’s little body I can close my eyes and see them on Maddie.

A couple days ago, as I was cleaning out my closet, I came across one of those toys we’d set aside for Maddie. Annie plays with a lot of Maddie’s old toys, but there are a few we have put away because the songs they play are too hard for us to hear (and not in the annoying kid-toy way).

I knew Annie needed something different and interactive, so I took the toy out of its packaging and brought it over to her. Annie’s mouth dropped open, and she crawled right over. I pushed the buttons so the toy would light up and play music, and Annie squealed and clapped with delight.

It was exactly what Maddie used to do when she got a new toy.

Watching Annie play happily was bittersweet. It was an almost-perfect moment.