I told Mike a few days ago that I didn’t know what to write. All the stories about Madeline have been told. There are no new ones, no new pictures. The questions I had last year are still the questions I have this year. The words have all been written. It makes me sadder than I thought possible.

On Saturday we went to the birthday party of a girl who was born on the exact same day as Madeline. I watched the gaggle of girls Maddie’s age play games, giggle, and interact. Some had missing teeth and lisps. They wore princess dresses (lots of Elsas, with some rogue Belles and Tianas thrown in) and plastic jewelry. They played house and store and shrieked a lot. They danced to Frozen and Taylor Swift, and dined on glittery cake.

It was nice to see what Maddie might be like, what she might be into. I can almost imagine the pitch of her voice, the way she’d talk. But mostly, it was hard, because she wasn’t there, and she never will be.

I still don’t know what to write today. These days just get harder, paralyzingly so. I miss my girl so much it physically hurts. I’ll never stop wishing she was here, dancing, shrieking, and eating sparkly birthday cake.

Happy birthday to my first girl. I love you forever.

my little Madeline