Annie brings up Madeline’s name several times a day. Sometimes she’ll come into the living room holding pictures she grabbed off my desk.

“Mama, dis is me! I was a tiny baby. And dis is my baby sister Maddie! She’s so cute!”

I always correct her and say that Maddie is actually her big sister, especially after it became clear that she was confused about it. “Oh yes, Mama,” she always replies, “I want to be a big sister, just like Maddie!”

Lately, she’s been asking me questions about her, albeit very simple and basic ones based entirely off of what she is currently experiencing at that very moment.

“Mama, are you going to put my shirt on? Did Maddie have a shirt?”


“Mama, you’re wearing a bra! Did Maddie wear bras?”

I don’t mind those questions. They are easy and I really like seeing how her mind is working. Plus, they are usually so out of left field that they make me giggle.

Except sometimes, she talks about Maddie like she’s still here.

“Mama, dis baby is Maddie’s. I’m sharing it with her.”

“Mama, I have a blue lollipop and dis red lollipop is for Maddie!”

“Mama, when is Maddie gonna come play with me?”

It’s so hard when she says these things, because all I want to do is cry at the unfairness that they aren’t sharing toys, or treats, or playing together. In fact, one time tears did come to my eyes, but Annie got upset because she thought she’d done something wrong.

So I take a deep breath and I hug her, and I tell her Maddie would have been happy to share, that she loved red lollipops, and that I know they would have had so much fun playing together.

Annie accepts these answers and moves on, but I brace myself, waiting for the harder questions.