Last week I took Annie over to my friend Tara’s house so she could play with Tara’s kids. Even though Annie asks me (no joke) 37 times an hour if she can “go see Baby Molly,” the trip was more for me than her. Mike was gone and I needed to get out of the house. Tara’s backyard is everything ours isn’t: big, grassy, and full of awesome toys.

Tara’s oldest daughter Reilly is six now. I have a hard time remembering that…she’s still a toddler in my head. But, that girl is smart and picks up on everything around her. I was joking with Tara and said the word, “gangsta,” and Reilly said, “Heather, what does ‘gangsta’ mean?” Whoops, my bad.

Later, when the kids were on the swing set, Reilly asked me my middle name, then Mike’s, then Annie’s, and then Maddie’s. I remember when I discovered middle names – they fascinated me. I stood there pushing Annie and then Reilly said, “It’s sad that Annabel never saw Maddie.”

Reilly talks about Maddie a lot, and I really love it. This time I told her, “yes, it’s very sad, but the good thing is that you remember her, and you can tell Annie all about her.”

Later, the kids were jumping on the trampoline. I told Reilly and her brother Georgie that Annie had never been on one before, and to please be careful with her while she got the hang of it. Reilly would take a few jumps, then ask Annie if she was okay.

jumpin' jumpin'

At one point I heard Reilly say, “Annie! You have a sister named Maddie, but she died! She was so beautiful! I will tell you about her, OKAY.”

Annie didn’t get it, but said, “OKAY!” back. She was just happy she had Reilly’s undivided attention.

I love that Reilly loves and remembers Maddie so much. So many people are afraid to tell me that. I hope some day she does tell Annie about her because, cause, yes, Reilly…..Maddie  IS so beautiful.