In years’ past we’ve taken Maddie and Annie trick or treating in the neighborhood I grew up in. Everyone would meet at my friend Tara’s parents’ house, where we’d have pizza and take pictures of all the kids before we walked around the street gathering candy.

the kids
Halloween 2008

Transformer, bee, Indiana Jones, Princess, Kermit the Frog, Woody, Jessie, Alien, Tinkerbell
Halloween 2010

Things have changed since last year’s Halloween. Almost everyone moved into new houses in new neighborhoods, and we all wanted to stay close to home for trick or treating. The end of an era! But we didn’t want to give up our tradition completely, so Tara had a little party for all the kids the day before Halloween.

I love seeing the children of my oldest friends. It’s amazing to see them change and become little people. I’m especially drawn to watching how Reilly (my friend Tara’s daughter) and Meghan (my friend Diane’s daughter) interact with Annie.

Reilly remembers Maddie, and talks to me about her sometimes. Meghan was born three months before Maddie, and Diane even brought Meghan to visit me when I was in the hospital on bed rest. Tara, Diane, and I loved that our three girls were born within 18 months of each other. We said they’d be friends for life, just like their mommies.

When I see Meghan and Reilly, I can almost picture how Maddie would be if she were still here.

Reilly loves to pick Annie up and give her huge hugs.

Reilly and Annie

Meghan gave Annie gentle pushes on the swing.

Meghan pushes Annie on the swing

Annie just adores both of them, but I’m even more glad that the big girls adore her back. They don’t even know it, but they are helping fill the big sister role that’s missing in Annie’s life.

It’s beautifully bittersweet.