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A Letter to My Middle Daughter

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To my sweet Bean,

I needed to get these words on paper, as I feel so much has been left unsaid.

I remember you coming into the world. My biggest baby, plump and rosy and so serene in your evening arrival. Your nurse shared the same name and couldn't wait to meet you. Yours was the only birth my doctor was able to make and so it carries a special bonus. Your first days were a mix of summer sun, learning to have an infant again, and afternoon photoshoots.

And while we never did get the nursing down, all the anxiety I had with your sister seemed to, thankfully, stay at bay with you.


Then everything changed.

As we moved the last of our former life out of one home and into another — we closed on our house three days before your debut — your Dad received a call. My father’s surgeon had found stage 4 cancer during a routine hernia surgery. My Mom didn’t want to worry me, and broke the news to him instead.

The next five months were a blur of doctor visit recaps, flights to Houston, late-night prayers for healing, and FaceTime sessions where we tried to smile through the pain.

Your Baba got to hold you and you were there for his early birthday celebration on the hospital’s palliative care floor. I think your precious presence might have sustained your Gigi through such a devastating time.

And so, I’m sorry, my little love. Between trying to still show your older sister attention and processing an unexpected family tragedy — you got lost. Your baby days were marked by tears and “what did the oncology team say?” conversations, rather than picking out the cutest in new outfits and soaking up your tiny goodness.

We did try, though. It was probably the saddest Disneyland trip anyone’s ever taken, but we sought out joy amidst great uncertainty and loss. We put you and your sister in matching pink stripes that October day, and you and I snuggled while she and your Dad rode everything twice.

After Baba passed, we worked on picking up the pieces while not stuffing our grief. It was a hard time, yet lighter knowing he was with the Jesus he so fully loved. Your first birthday was a happy affair, complete with rainbows and polka dots.


As you’ve grown I feel like we’ve finally started to get to know another. You are my mystery child, and unlocking your secrets is a privilege beyond compare. Participating in your life is an adventure marked by the greatest highs.

In you I find a comedian, a student, an artist. Making others laugh comes so naturally to you, and you love to tell me new facts you’ve taken home from class. Creating scenes on canvas and bedazzling bracelets have become required activities.

But I think there’s no greater treat for you, then to spot every animal in a one-mile radius and give them all your hugest Bean embrace. The owner of one of the most nurturing souls I know, you hold both your stuffed turtle and baby doll with extreme care, tucking them into drawers at night to make sure they’re safe for slumber.

You live set apart. And while this has created some challenges in adjusting to school life and making friends — I see a strong, radiant strawberry blonde ready to make her mark on this world. A lover ready to share compassion and hugs. A force for happiness and empathy, in these days where we need so much more of it. And most likely the greatest veterinarian the world has ever seen.

My Bean, you inspire me to be myself. To spread love where it is needed, many times unknowingly. To be vulnerable and ok with showing it. To find my way — in my own way.

I know our start was not ideal, but we’ve got each new day forward to build our lifetime bond. Thank you for taking the part of me you hold, and making it so much more beautiful. I love you.

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