Letter to my COODIE PIE: 25 months.
August 22, 2011

Dear Charlotte,

Nearly a century ago, an essayist named Marcel Proust put his pen to a paper and wrote this: If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.

I want to pass that on to you because this past month has been a rollercoaster and you, sweet wonderful you, have really bore the brunt of it.  For a few days this month, you lost all control over your life.  You lost your father while he took care of me.  You lost your baby sister, someone you had very much looked forward to meeting.  And you lost me, because I was too sick and too exhausted to do very much of anything.  Your every life rhythm was thrown into chaos.

Your Daddy makes your world go ‘round.  You always pout when he leaves for work in the morning.  You demand DADDY DO IT! about everything you need help with - from using the toilet to playing with puzzles.  It’s adorable.

This is life, darling, and the truth is that it isn’t always sunshine and roses.  When life is good, IT IS EXCELLENT, and I encourage you to ride those waves as often as possible and as long as you can.  Pounce on every opportunity for happiness that comes your way and make the very best of it.  But when life is sour, it is truly awful.  I want you to learn this lesson now, okay?  NEVER GIVE UP.  When someone pushes you down, STAND UP.  When the path you’ve chosen is difficult, KEEP GOING.  And when a dream is torn away from you: DO NOT STOP DREAMING.  No dream is ever dead so long as you believe in it and no person is ever gone so long as they are cherished.

Even with our family’s loss, this month still had its good bits – and like I said, the good bits ARE EXCELLENT.  You have gone through another verbal explosion and along with forming complete sentences you have begun telling us stories that you make up from scratch.  You have also made huge leaps in imaginative play over the past few weeks.  Yesterday you made-believe that there were sea monsters in our living room.  You pretended to be a pirate, hopped in our laundry basket crying BOAT MOMMA! PADDLE THE BOAT!, and pretended to escape the sea monsters by ocean.  NO LIKING THE OCEAN! SO MUCH NOISY MOMMA!

Every morning when you wake up, you greet me by saying HELLO COODIE PIE!

Every day, you amaze me.  You have such a big heart, schatzi.  There are no words to describe how you have made my heart flutter over the past few days.  You are so gentle and patient with children younger than you and with people who need help.  You are so nurturing, so kind, so loving, and every time I see your compassion in action I am filled with pride.

You are still obsessed with doing things by yourself, but the one daily activity that takes the cake is getting dressed.  The sky actually falls in if I try to help you.  SERIOUSLY!  We go places in a constant state of shoes on the wrong feet, plaid pants matched with inside-out denim shirts, and baseball caps flipped inside out.  The first time that we needed to leave the house with you dressed like a colorblind hooligan, I thought OH NO, here come the eyerolls.  But in fact, people always compliment you on your style.  The other day you wore an entire mismatched outfit with a swimsuit on top and strangers came out of the woodwork to tell you that you were glamorous.

Ahhh…to be a two-year-old again and have the entire world in the palm of your hand.

To get you out of a too-small swimsuit that was cutting off your circulation, I told you that my tank top was a beautiful dress and you could wear THAT instead.  You bought it hook, line, and sinker and have been obsessed with my tank tops ever since.  It’s pretty stinking cute.

Last week, your father and I made two phone calls that have the potential to drastically change our lives.  First we called the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.  Then we called a board member for a local adoption agency. The greatest gift we will ever give you is a sibling, Charlotte.  You’ve heard us talk about adoption seriously for over a year; this is not a hasty decision for us.  One day, I want to be pregnant again.  I want to give birth.  But losing your sister was a blow that I am not ready to recover from yet.  Right now, I want to have my body to myself so that I can mourn.

When you are older, I will tell you about this time in our lives and I will explain to you that the woman I was before I lost your older brother is gone.  Every time I see a child his age, it takes my breath away.  When I hear his name, it stops me in my tracks.  I have thought about him every single day since I found out that his heart was beating alongside my own, every single day, and there are days even now when his absence fills me with profound distress.  The same is true of your sister.  For the rest of my life, I will remember her and I will wish and I will wonder.  You are never the same person again after you have lost someone you love and you are never the same person again after your dreams have been shattered.

But that’s no reason to stop dreaming, darling.

Over the weekend you turned twenty-five months old.  We spent it together, playing puzzles and building wood block towers and reading books and spending time with your grandparents.  And when it was over, your father curled up with you in bed and you sailed away to your dreams.

Oh, sunshine.  Dream all the time.  No matter what, dream all the time.

We love you so,
Momma and Daddy

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  1. By on August 22, 2011

    Beautiful, Sarah!

  2. By Kirsten on August 22, 2011

    I second the first comment…..SO beautiful!  :-)  You have inspired me to start writing letters to my own children.  How special they will be to them when they are older…

  3. By on August 22, 2011

    My heart goes out to you for the losses you have suffered. Life has cruel twists and throws some “stuff” when we are least able to handle it. May your decisions create the family you desire and may each step we take lead the way to Peace.

  4. By on August 22, 2011

    I have thought about you so much in the last while. I also experienced miscarriage after the birth of my daughter, in fact 5 miscarriages. We badly wanted another child - and a sibling for our daughter. I realized the losses were taking too much of a toll on our family. I really understand the guilt of not being available because of the toll - emotional and physical. Anyway, I decided to take some time and heal. By this time my daughter was 10 and as a family we adopted a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. We are celebrating 10 years as a new family next month. It has been the best thing to happen to all of us. Good luck Sarah.

  5. By Amber on August 22, 2011

    Your letters to Charlotte often move me to tears, and this is no exception. You have a beautiful spirit, Sarah. I feel so lucky to get a peek into your life - thank you for sharing with us. Oh, and all of these pictures are beautiful, but the one of her in the tank top “dress” takes my breath away!

  6. By Clare on August 22, 2011

    I have been a long time reader and an infrequent commenter.  I find your letters inspiring and Charlotte a very lucky mother. I love your honesty with your mistakes and your pain.  You are authentic and true to yourself. You are true to your daughter and also to your son and other daughter.  I am so sorry for your loss.  My heart cries for you.  But I rally at the strength you give Charlotte and hope I will be able to be the same for my daughter.

  7. By on August 22, 2011

    you are so awesome. Charlotte is truly blessed to have a mother like you

  8. By on August 22, 2011

    I was so sorry to read about your family’s loss, but it is inspiring and reassuring how you have remembered to focus on the wonderful, sweet girl you do have with you. The love that surrounds her is evident in the stories you share—thank you for them.

    “A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven’t. Most don’t mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn’t happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had.
    But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she’ll know.“
    - Barbara Kingsolver

  9. By Rachael on August 22, 2011

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, but your letter to your daughter was beautiful. Your daughter is lucky to have such a caring and inspirational mother.

  10. By Sarah@Crazy Love Gamble-Style on August 22, 2011

    That is a beautiful post Sarah.

    On another note, I LOVE how easy it is to get them to do what you want at that age, like the tank top dress, you just need to use a little creative redirectioning.  It gets MUCH trickier as they get older : )

    I am excited for all your future children that will come into your lives, they will be very fortunate little people, you raise them well.

  11. By on August 22, 2011

    My thoughts and prayers are with you Sarah. You are a beautiful person, this shines through all you write. I encourage you to have a look at this link. Thursdays Babies. https://www.thursdaysbabies.com
    A friend of mind started it after she battled with her own fertility issues and it is a beautiful support group for all who have/or are still struggling with their own issues.

  12. By Nilu on August 23, 2011

    What a loving sweet letter. Donald seems like the perfect protector, tall and still always bowing down to her it seems :)
    Because German is my mother language it is so funny to me how you call her Schatzi. I guess you now it means “little treasure”. In my surroundings mostly cute old Grandparent say that to each other, but that doesn’t make it a bit less cool!!

  13. By Sarah Christensen on August 23, 2011

    Nilu - As a kid, I went to German school - but I didn’t really retain much of it lol.  I know a few older couples who call each other schatzi, but the reason we started calling Charlotte that is because when she first started saying her name, it sounded like SHOT! SHOT! and then SHOTS! SHOTS! and then SCHATZI! SCHATZI! and now she refers to herself as both schatzi and Charlotte =)  I think it’s so sweet.





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