one by one,

with each trip

to minnesota,

they started to appear.

new to me.

new to maddy,

but obviously

only new to

the two of us.

first it was

the bucket of crayons.

then the silk pillow

and matching silk blanket.

then the baton

with the water

and green glitter inside.

this trip?

a plastic doll house

and all the

accessories that

belonged inside.

no one

had to say anything.

i knew they

belonged to


when she was child.

i could tell

the age of each

item simply by

noticing the wear,

but the more

obvious signal

that they belonged

to her was in the

looks her parents

had on their faces

as maddy enjoyed

playing with them.

they were happy.

because these things...

they're not being

treated as museum relics,

banished to some

storage box never

to be seen again.

they're in maddy's hands,

taking the abuse

of another 2.5

year old.

just as they would

have if


were alive.

so as maddy's crayons

wander off of the paper

and on to the table,

or as maddy's pillow gets

covered in drool,

or maddy's baton is used

as a golf club,

or as maddy's dollhouse

accessories get thrown

from one end of

the room to

the other,

the three of us

can watch,

smiling together,

happy to see

her so happy.

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