Letter to Scarlett at Two Years

Dear Scarlett,

You are not Lucy.

I’m sure you know that. You’re a smart kid. But I want you to know I know that. And I don’t want you to be Lucy.

I never want Lucy instead of you. I want you both, but you are never, never second best. Mothering you not only expands my heart, but shines a blinding light through the cracks.

I worry how you will process Lucy’s absence as you grow. What does it mean to you now? Probably not much. Your sister lives in Heaven instead of our house. You have never known otherwise, so why question it?

A few months ago, I began dropping little hints that having Lucy as a sister is different. I told you in simple terms what “dead” means, that the pictures we greet and kiss everyday are just that – pictures.

If you grow into a sensitive child, as I did, this will come to mean a great deal to you. You will feel sad, angry, and cheated. A small part of you might like the attention the story brings your way.

I am almost certain this will all hurt one day, love. You will realize that what is true for your family is not true for all. I am so sorry. I want your sister for you so much. It is so very cruel that you never met.

However, I want your life to be about you. I hope that you will honor your sister’s memory and try to know her. But you are SCARLETT! The most unbelievable blessing. Here are just two of the statements I made about you this past weekend:

“I wish she would just let me kiss her cheeks all day.”

“Can you believe we made something so beautiful?”

So many gifts, dreams, and wishes are bound up in your existence. Your first cry, your first step, your 2nd birthday … all answered and assuaged my cries of pain, anger, and fear.

Max made my dream of becoming a mother come true, Lucy made me the mother of a daughter, but you are so truly my rainbow baby. I have enjoyed you so wholly and completely. Life gave me not just a second chance, but a third, and I’ve poured all the love, hope, happiness, and devotion into you that I possibly can.

You have brought me so much. For the first time, I feel fairly certain I have been a good mother to you so far.

You are sharp and clear and cuddly and ALIVE. You burst with love, confidence, and happiness. I am so excited for you to start school. You will set the world on fire.

Oh, I am just, you are just …. my BABY! I don’t know how to capture this feeling rushing through me. Nothing compares to looking in the face of a child you love. Your face is some special kind of voodoo, little one.

Before I sign off, I will provide some snapshots of two-year-old Scarlett.

You crawl along the walkway from the living room to the kitchen in a mini Boden dress adorned with scenes of London, roaring the word “Roar!” Max commands “Scarlett, roar!” and you happily oblige, triggering laughter every time.

You sitting in your booster seat with it half buckled AFTER you undressed and went to the potty by yourself. Without making a mess!

You learn your first knock-knock joke, a classic. The original goes like this:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Boo who?

Don’t cry, it’s only me.

Your version:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Boo who?


You count to 4 and beyond:

“1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 16”

Your hilarious response to a now-forgotten transgression on Max’s part:

“No, sweetie!”

Your answer to “Who is Scarlett?” Still


And to “Who is Lucy?”


You don’t feel well one day, which slows you down (a little). You sit on the travel potty in the back of our car. I stand guard as usual. My fingers comb tangles until your “Ow” causes them to reluctantly relinquish your silky, golden hair. Then, I smooth your long bangs to either side and kiss your forehead as I cup your cheeks. Unusually, your eyes look straight into mine, rather than eagerly out at birds (“Boids! Boids!”) and red trucks. Your eyes settle on mine with such peace. Their proximity fills my vision with vibrant blue. Despite your stuffy nose and our crazy schedule, you lean into the moment and trust it. For a moment, I do, too.

I love you, my tripping, laughing ball of sunshine.

Love, Mama

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