Today is my friend’s daughter’s sixth birthday. I was showing Annie pictures of Reilly through the years, much to her delight. She kept asking for more pictures of “Baby Reilly,” and after some time, “Big Reilly.” Eventually we started looking at pictures of Annie (one of Annie’s favorite things to do). We came upon a picture of her when she was about three months old, and Annie exclaimed, “Baby Maddie!”

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This wasn’t too unusual. Annie sometimes gets pictures of the two of them confused. So I said, “No, this is you, when you were a baby! Do you want to see pictures of Maddie?” She did, so we started clicking on some randomly.

After about five or so minutes of looking at pictures of Maddie, Annie said, “Okay. BIG Maddie pictures!”

I clicked to pictures of Maddie in her sixteenth month and started showing Annie those.

“NO, Mama. BIG MADDIE pictures.”

I took a breath. “These are all the pictures I have of her, Annie. She doesn’t get any bigger.”

Annie seemed to think about this for a minute. “Okay. Where Maddie go?”

I remembered all the things I’d read…to keep explanations at a level she would understand. Still, I wasn’t expecting this question at age two. So I just told the truth.

“I don’t know, baby. She’s gone.”

“Okay mama. Watch Bubble Guppies?”

While she watched Bubble Guppies, I sat behind her and stared at her curls. She’s going to have so many questions, and I don’t have any answers.