Dear Maya and Lila,
My sweet, sweet girls. You are so precious to me.
Lila, you are 16 months old, and you have just started walking. Uncle Robert came to visit for three days, and on the second day you took two steps. On the third day, right before he left, you took four steps. I don't think you even realized that you were doing it. You were just looking ahead and it was clear that you were thinking about something, and you took four steps.
Maya, you are turning six on Sunday. You only have one week left of kindergarten. You have been identified as gifted this year, as I knew you would be, however, your behavior is still that of a five-year-old. You are doing math on a fifth grade level. You read on a fourth grade level. Yet, you cry at the slightest provocation. Sometimes I think you do this to get a reaction out of me; sometimes, I think you do it because you really mean it. The problem is, it's very hard to tell the difference.
You started kindergarten a whole week late because grandma died on the 18th of August unexpectedly. That was and probably always will be the strangest day of my life, yet, I knew it was exactly as it should have been. In the time since she has died, you have mentioned her many times. Most of the time, you mentioned her because of selfish reasons such as she will never send me packages again; but sometimes you mention her for unselfish reasons like Lila will never know her. You cry, and I try to console you, but, at the same time, I don't know how to because I feel exactly the same way.
Your best friends have moved to Tennessee. The boy you have known since you were 15 months old and have spent at least 2 to 3 times a week with for the past two years is gone from your life.
You and I have experienced so much loss in the past nine months. I will never know for whom it is more difficult, the child who is only five who has lost her greatest advocate and her greatest friend or the woman who is 36 and will never again physically see the woman who gave her life.
My dearest, adorable, most wonderful Lila: You will never know for yourself what you have lost, but Maya and I will try to tell you. You will never know the joy of receiving a package from grandma in the mail, but Maya will tell you how important it made her feel. You will never know how exciting it was for grandma to visit because you knew she was bringing you a plethora of new books, but you will still reap the benefits because neither Maya nor I have ever let go of those books, and I see how much you love them on a daily basis.
Though Maya no longer has need of baby books or infantile stories, she reads them to you every day, and she enjoys them because you do. It never ceases to amaze me how excited she gets when you laugh, and she goes out of her way to make you laugh. She is truly a wonderful big sister, and I hope that she will always remain a better big sister than I have ever been.
My sweet baby; you, more than anyone, has lost the most. You will never get to know the person who gave me life, who wanted me and desired me and brought me into this world. Sadly, neither of you will ever know my grandmother, the woman who knew before I was ever born that I would be the baby girl that she had always wanted. She wanted her daughter to have a little girl to love and cherish just as my mother wanted that for me.
If my life can possibly be an example to either of my daughters, it will be that you will have many friends in your lives; you will love many people, and people will love you, but no one will ever love you as much as your mother. Once you realize this – how much a mother truly loves her child – I hope that it will not be too late, as it was for me. I hope that you will find, before such a tragedy occurs that your mother should pass, a true and loving friend in your own flesh and blood; that of your sister whose life was brought about specifically for you by the person who loved you the most.