Madeline was a little girl who knew what she wanted. When she wanted to be held, she let you know, but if she wanted to be on her own there was literally no holding her back. She loved to play with people but she also really enjoyed playing alone. It always made me laugh when I’d be sitting on the floor playing a game with her, and then she’d turn her back and crawl over to another toy, leaving me behind. We all quickly learned to follow her lead.

I loved watching her play alone. I could see her mind figuring out how things worked. I imagined that she was making up stories in her head the way I used to when I was a kid.

narrating her play

Maddie playing with "baby"
making her dolly fly

tongue = mad playing skillz
showing off her mad playing skillz

peace out!
off to play alone

Hi Maddie
see YOU later

someone learned where her toys are
it’s not a mess, it’s very well organized chaos

Sometimes, I’d haul my body off the floor onto the couch, and I’d read or edit photos while she played. And then, suddenly, she’d decide she was done playing alone, and she wanted the attention of a certain person in particular. Often, I would look up from editing a photo of her to see this face:

hi Mommy!

peek a boo!
peek a boo!

I’m done playing alone now, Mommy.

She often found more creative ways to get Mike’s attention.

Wet Willy
wet willy!

I look up countless times a day, expecting to see her peeking at me from the other side of the couch, or from behind my computer screen. What I wouldn’t give to scoop her up and play a game, only to have her crawl away to make up her own adventures. I think I will always expect to see her big blue eyes looking back at me.

my heart