Living Every Single Day

Each day I wake up and I live my life without one of my children. Being a bereaved parent is hard. I live two lives. One where I pretend everything is fine and dandy and another where my heart is constantly aching and longing for my child that I have lost. I never would have imagined that this would be my reality as a mother. Today, I am able to hold one of my children in my arms, another forever in my heart, and one in my womb.

Every day is a challenge. When I am in local places with my son River, I often get the question that many bereaved parents get asked and they don’t know how to answer, “How many children do you have?” This question always stops us in our tracks. Some not wanting the stranger to feel uncomfortable will quickly answer and not mention their child in heaven and continue on their way. Others, like myself, would feel awkward for not mentioning their child in heaven and tell the stranger about them. Child loss happens often, yet it is barely discussed. I will always break the silence and speak of my daughter Millie and the effects of child loss.

Being a bereaved parent is strength. Each day we wake up and live our life without one of our precious children. Bereaved parents grieve every single day and still manage to keep going. On holidays, we go to our children’s grave and weep while we pray, for birthdays we release a balloon to heaven and wonder how our children would be at their age, we go to baby showers with a smile while staring at the expecting mother’s belly wishing it was still us, we visit newborn babies and hold them tightly and reminisce about the day we held our sweet angels, we love on our other children hard and unconditionally and panic of the thought of ever losing another child. As bereaved parents, we have developed this incredible new form of patience and love, because we simply know how short life can be and how quickly a part of your heart can be taken away from you to live eternally in heaven. We will forever speak of our children we have lost and always long for them.

Bereaved parents are all around you. They are at your local grocery stores, Sunday services, school’s open houses, local parks, favorite restaurants dining next to you, and they are walking around daily aiming to live the best life they can while missing an enormous piece of their life here on Earth. Bereaved parents come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors. There are some who have suffered a stillbirth, some who are elderly who had to say goodbye to their child before they were called home to heaven, and there are some who have no living children as they had to face many storms in their life.

As human beings, we must be kind always. Everyone you encounter has a struggle or is going through their own storm that you may not know anything about. Kindness is free and it should be sprinkled everywhere like glitter. As a bereaved mother, I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who acknowledge my loss of Millie and accept me for where I am. I have my good days and my bad days and their gift of friendship gives me the freedom to let my guard down and to feel. It’s hard to be vulnerable, but we need to feel. Allowing yourself to let it all go is healthy and a price we pay for unconditional love. If you know a bereaved parent, check on them. Even if it’s been 20 or more years since they have put one of their children in heaven, they are still longing for them. Be the friend who acknowledges, the friend who wants to speak of their name, the friend that will take them out, the friend that will wrap their arms around them and just give them a hug when they need it the most, and the friend who is simply there always.

Dear fellow Bereaved parents, I see you, I know you, I feel for you, and each night as I pray, I pray for peace for you. This club that we are in comes with many trials, yet having each other to relate to is what makes the journey a little less exhausting. God bless you today and everyday and may he bless your beautiful children in heaven always.


Blessed is she who believed

When you lose a child, no one tells you how hard the days will be. You wake up each day with a grateful heart and try to find the beauty in each day, because there is good in each day and we should strive to find it. When you approach the days in the year that should be filled with happiness, they are also filled with a little sadness. Each holiday, special occasion, or event worth celebrating is a roller coaster of emotions.

Last year on my 29th birthday, we were 6 weeks pregnant with Millie. At the time, we had no idea where our journey would lead us. We were filled with hope, excitement, and joy to be expecting our second blessing. We had so many plans and looked forward to our future with two beautiful children. In the next few weeks, we would find out that our sweet girl had a health condition and would later lose her precious life. We were given 27 beautiful weeks with Millie. Those weeks are what I hold on to and look back on when the days are hard.

From the day we lost Millie, my life changed completely. I have always been a faithful person who lives in the now and goes with the flow, but my faith was restored and deepened because of Millie.

Today, on my 30th birthday, I envisioned myself holding two of my children on my lap while being sung happy birthday to, instead I have one squirming in my lap, one forever in my heart, and one growing inside of me. God sends us blessings when we need them the most and we are so thankful that he chose us. I am so thankful that God blessed me with a daughter that taught me so much about life itself. Life throws us curve balls and it’s our choice to step up to the plate and strike out or take a swing and give it all we have. For my 30’s,I am aiming to always strive to live my life in love, to choose faith over fear, and to be the best version of myself that I can be for my family, my friends, and for myself. Here’s to making this year the best year yet and fulfilling what the lord has spoken to me.

Celebrating Life

From the moment you read that positive pregnancy test, you begin to envision your new life. You go through your whole pregnancy making all these plans, but you never plan for the loss. Going through a loss is indescribable. I’ll never be the same again after losing Millie, but I have learned so much about hope, faith, love, and life itself.

In the past, we’ve always waited until the “safe zone” to reveal our pregnancies and now when I think about waiting, it tugs at my heart. At what point in our lives is anything really safe? Why should we wait to celebrate such an amazing blessing, a blessing that brings joy and excitement to all who love us. When conception happens, a miracle evolves. A new life is the most precious and beautiful part of this world. It is our desire to celebrate our new little life immediately. God already has a plan for him or her and we hope and pray that we’ll get to keep celebrating for decades to come. If that isn’t in God’s plan, we want to rejoice this life for the ten, fifteen, or twenty weeks we may have. We are never guaranteed life, we must live in faith and always be hopeful. Life is just too short, so go ahead and share the glorious news, take that job, go on a vacation, eat the cake, make mistakes and learn from them, forgive and move on, get your heart broken and find love again, step outside your comfort zone, and just live your life in love. If you aren’t living your life, then who will!? God created you and there’s only one you, so go ahead and show yourself to the world, I know our new blessing will. 💜💙

Live in Love

Today, it is Easter Sunday. A day we always look forward to come. Easter is so special, it is a time to celebrate our lord and spend our precious time with those who matter most, our family. Each year, we host Easter lunch at our house and everyone close to us gathers for a memorable time. Today, I pictured having two Easter baskets out, but I only had one. I envisioned taking a family picture of four, but we only captured a family of three. I pictured holding my little girl with her beautiful Easter dress and pretty bow, but I’m holding her in my heart instead. I envisioned swinging my son and my daughter together as they sighed in laughter as I stood by counting my blessings. All of this I pictured to be my reality, but it is not.

Even though I felt sadness as I awoke this morning, I can’t help to smile because Jesus has given us so many blessings. Jesus laid down his life for us. He took all of our offenses and died for us, then he rose for all of our justifications. Jesus is love, because Jesus is the hope of the world, and he’s also the hope of my world.

(Matthew 12:20-21)

Without his love, I wouldn’t be standing.

Living my life after losing Millie has been a whirlwind. There are days that are hard and days that are filled with joy. Coping after a loss of a child is a day to day battle. Each day I cope with faith and pour all my heart to God and I tell myself that it is okay to not be okay and that joy will come. If you don’t have faith and you can’t lean on our father, then how will you get through a trying time? Jesus faced an abundance of trying times and always rose above them. In all his actions, he gave his all and always lived in love. It is my ultimate goal in this life to live in love for all my remaining days.

Love, a simple one-syllable and four letter word, which comes with so much power and meaning. It may be challenging to live a life in love when we face trying times, but if we look to God and his word, anything is possible. Jesus didn’t promise us that we wouldn’t walk through darkness in our lost and broken world. But, he promised that we could have hope in the midst of that darkness because he is always with us, and he has overcome this world. My hope in him is what gets my through each day without Millie. His love is the greatest love of all.

Joy Comes in the Morning

Last month as we approached Millie’s due date I had my fair share of rough days. I’ve had days where I would stare at a blank wall at work and breakdown in my office, days where I would drive to the cemetery and stare at her name on that grave and constantly ask god why, and days where I had disbelief that this is our reality and that she is not here with us. I’ve spent many days of suffering in the past few months, but today I have joy.

After the storm, joy comes in the morning. Today, it has been four months without our sweet angel and we celebrated her life with her event, Move it for Millie. The week after we lost Millie in October, I knew we had to do something to bring Turner Syndrome to light and to raise awareness in our community. We set our hearts on February since February is National Turner Syndrome awareness month. We were hesitant, how would we pull of an event in three short months that would be successful? However, we prayed on it and dove right in and I am so incredibly happy that we did. Everyone grieves differently and I knew I needed something to be put into action to help heal my heart while honoring my sweet daughter Millie.

Today, we moved it for Millie. In our beautiful small town of Thibodaux, we came together and honored our daughter’s memory while raising awareness. Words can never begin to express how amazing today was and how thankful my family is for all the outpouring love and support. We were blown away today and it moved me to tears to see so many people near and far support our mission to raise awareness of Turner Syndrome and to honor Millie always. I formed new relationships today with two girls who have Turner Syndrome and their families. They expressed how thankful they were to see someone celebrate Turner Syndrome and raise awareness in their trying time. My heart is so full and I am so incredibly thankful for today.

Millie Raelynn Benoit. A sweet angel who was only here for a short period of time but left the biggest impact I have ever seen in my entire life. We are so remarkably blessed to have been handpicked by our lord to serve as Millie’s parents. Although I only carried my daughter in my womb for 7 months, she’ll live forever in all aspects in our life as well as many others. We find joy in knowing that our sweet Millie Rae was never touched by fear or hate and she only knew of our love and faith for her. We know God has her in his arms while we carry her forever in our hearts.

Millie, a strong, courageous, and beautiful butterfly who continues to inspire, give hope, instill faith, and serve as an inspiration.

We love you to the moon and back! 💜


Today has been hard, this entire week has been hell. I cried more than I smiled and I sit here exhausted. Exhausted from grieving the daughter that I should be bringing home from the hospital this weekend. Exhausted from trying to fake a smile daily, when on the inside I’m torn completely apart. Exhausted because I am always giving my all to others and not taking the time to give to myself. Each day it takes all of my strength to rise above and seize the day, because in all honesty, all I want to do is lay in my bed and hide away from the world.

Today, I feel robbed. I should be packing my hospital bag, stocking the nursery, and giving my son, River, the big brother pep talk. I should be checking the car seat and washing all the newborn clothes. I should be dreaming of the moment that River would meet his little sister for the first time and my heart would be completely whole in that moment. I should be having terrible back pains and heartburn and wishing to go into labor to get some relief. Instead, I am here wishing that I can feel those kicks, hear that heartbeat, and console my daughter while she gives that cry that I am also dying to hear. This feeling, plain and simple, fucking sucks. I want to scream, yell, and throw River’s toys with him in anger. This is not fair. Why us, why Millie, why did this have to happen? This weekend instead of bringing my daughter home to begin her life with her family, I will be visiting her grave instead. Why do we not get that moment of becoming a family of four? Why doesn’t River get to hold and love on his baby sister and be her biggest protector? I am angry today because all I can fathom is the pain from this and ask why. Even though I am an emotional mess today, I am praying to God as I write these thoughts to help me through, because even though I am suffering, he will provide joy in the morning as he always does.

Even though this has been an extremely crappy day, I am thankful. I am thankful for these moments because it calls me back to God. It calls me back to rely on my faith and to trust his plan always. Even though this grief hits me like a wave and at the most unpredictable moments, I know that God always has my best interest. He always has his best interest set for his children. I am his child and I know he loves me unconditionally. So today, I am rejoicing in my suffering. This weekend, we may not be able to bring our sweet Millie home, but we will celebrate her life and continue to make her proud each and every day. It was so therapeutic to speak of her this week and to share our story in a different social media light. I prayed to her to give me strength during the interview while speaking of her and she had my back tremendously. I will always look to her when I need a wave of hope and a reminder that she is living her best life in heaven. A life that is pain free, a life without worry, a life without the craziness of the world today, and a life with our God. Millie, I love you with everything I have and please watch over us in all our days. As each day passes we are one more day closer to being reunited with you and oh how special will that day be. 💜

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

– Romans 5:3-4

You’ll always be my favorite what if

It’s been two months since I felt that last kick and heard that sweet heartbeat. 36 weeks and counting….This week I would be and I should be 36 weeks pregnant. I should be anxiously awaiting the arrival of our sweet Millie and longing for her debut. I should be complaining of heartburn and kicks to the ribs, instead I am longing for those kicks and am constantly praying. Yesterday, we took our family Christmas picture on Christmas Day as we always do and I should have wrote, “Last Christmas as a family of three.” Of course a fun smiley and baby emoji would have followed too. Instead, we stood there as a family of four with smiles that have heavy hearts. We have three present here on earth and one serving as an angel up above in heaven in our beautiful family. I envisioned our Christmas picture with a huge belly and big smiles from all of us. Those smiles would reveal an abundance of love and happiness to what would come in January of 2018. Instead, we all stood there yesterday revealing smiles with broken hearts. We should have spoke about how Millie would look, how she would be as a newborn, and how amazing River would be to her as a big brother. Instead, we spoke of her memory, of how hard she fought through her journey, and how much she is unconditionally loved. We spoke of Millie all day because even though god has her in his arms, she is forever in all of our hearts. Millie may have been born silent into the world, but her life speaks volumes. She tiptoed into this world without a peep and just for only a moment, but she left footprints on our hearts forever.

Millie only lived for 27 weeks, but she made an everlasting impact that will last a lifetime. It is because of Millie that we will forever be changed. In our lives, we often encounter trials that we can not overcome and that we can not change. When we are faced with these trials, we have to give it all to god and allow these trials to change us. Sometimes we are broken to reveal our true purpose. God sends us signs all throughout our lives that reveal who we are by how we handle the trials. I truly believe that god gives us more than we can handle to reveal our divine faith in him. A mother shouldn’t ever be able to handle the loss of her child and I am only standing here today because of my faith in our lord. God has a reason for everything. Yes, I can be bitter, angry, and simply be frustrated with the world and with our god, but what kind of life would that be? Losing Millie is extremely unfair, but I have to put all my trust in god and continue on my life journey he has paved out for me to live. We do not know what our future holds for the new year, but I do know that Millie will forever be a part of our family and her life will always be celebrated.

2018 should have been our year; our year to grow as a family, our year to watch our only son blossom into a wonderful and loving big brother, our year to learn how it would be to raise a strong and beautiful daughter, and our year to be a beautiful family of four. Even though god may bless us with future miracles, I will always long for Millie and will always wonder who she would have been. When you lose your sweet baby, I don’t think people realize how much is lost. You don’t just lose that newborn stage and watching those first beginning moments, you lose everything. You lose celebrating the very 1st birthday, turning 5 and her starting kindergarten and also celebrating that sweet 16, and watching who she would have become. You lose the sleepovers, the Christmas mornings, the first days of school, the dance recitals, the teen love relationships, and seeing her finding her forever person and walking down that aisle to get married. You simply just lose it all. Millie was called by god to run home into the gates of heaven. She was chosen to walk ahead of us and our walk home to Jesus and to her will be the hardest and longest walk of our lives. Millie will forever hold my heart in her hands and she’ll always be my favorite what if. My dearest Millie, rejoice with our lord at his throne and dance like no one is watching. Momma loves you with all of her being and will only rest easy until she is reunited with you and can dance in the sky. 💜

Be Still

The lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)

I often get comments on how inspiring it is to see me out and about and living my normal life after losing Millie. Tomorrow, it will make a month since we welcomed our precious girl into the world and held our angel. When I look back at this past month, it is a blur. There were moments where I completely lost it and sobbed for hours and then there’s the anger, oh the anger. The anger overcame me and the questions of why this had to happen and how it isn’t fair often consumed my mind. There were days where I accomplished so much and then there were days where I stayed in my pajamas and watched endless episodes of Gilmore Girls sobbing and wishing to have Millie here so we could live out my Lorelei and Rory mother-daughter relationship goals. I often have people say, it’s good you are staying busy but make sure to rest and take time to yourself and try to be still, but being still doesn’t mean doing nothing. For I have always been still, since being still is a simple gesture that I have and always will give it all to god. I have always followed his plan for my life and I have never feared the outcome. I know my god has my back and that I can rest in him and be still. I am living with our journey and doing what he has called me to do. I do not stand in fear, I keep moving and strive to conquer each day with a grateful heart. A month ago, when I laid on that hospital bed in the labor and delivery room and heard the words, “There is no heartbeat,” I didn’t have peace in that moment,but god granted me comfort. I had comfort knowing that Millie was no longer suffering and fighting a hard battle. She is living peacefully and dancing around his throne with other beautiful angel babies in heaven. There will always be a part of me in heaven with her and she’ll always be in my heart.

Studies show that stillbirth is one of the most unmentionable subjects, yet there are an average of 26,000 stillbirths a year in the United States alone. Before losing Millie, I only knew one woman who experienced the heart wrenching journey, now I know over a dozen. After losing Millie, I learned that many woman in our community have experienced stillbirth. Just by communicating with these incredible mothers, my heart has hope….hope that we can come together as a community of mothers and walk this journey together, because this is a journey that no mother should ever have to walk alone. No one tells you how incredibly hard it will be to deliver your baby sleeping and to never hear that first cry, no one tells you how awful it will be to sit in that wooden chair at the funeral home and plan the burial of your stillbirth child, no one tells you how you’ll have this unfillable void that bleeds in your heart, no one tells you how hard it would be to see newborn babies, to watch baby commercials, or to pass by baby clothes in retail stores, no one tells you how to deal with the grief. The grief of a beautiful stillborn angel is very different. This grief is like no other. There aren’t any happy memories to sustain you or to reminisce on, there are only wonders of what could have been, what should have been, that wasn’t. Each day I find myself thinking about what Millie would have been like, would she have her mother’s outgoing personality and big heart or her daddy’s sense of humor and his strong will? Would she have blonde hair and blue eyes like her brother River? Would she be a dancer like her mother or play basketball like daddy? Even though we will never have memories to look back on, she was our miracle from god and boy was she loved.

As mothers, we love fiercely in that instant of finding out that we have a miracle growing inside us. I knew Millie before she entered this world but god knew her way before I did. I truly believe that god used Millie’s life to enhance my faith and to teach me more of what true love really is. He has shown me how hard it is to love and then let go, just as he had to do with his son Jesus. As I weep, he weeps with me and he knows my pain, but god doesn’t cause pain without allowing something new to be born. My pain may linger forever, but I rejoice in joy everyday. I am granted joy because I have an abundance of blessings in my life. All of these blessings are from god and his unconditional love. He has one of our biggest blessings as his angel and we will always long for the day to be reunited in heaven and to live eternally. 💜

Learning To Live After Loss

Today, it marks three weeks, three weeks that our sweet Millie gained her angel wings. Losing her still does not feel real, but the reality is that she is in her forever home living pain free and I will grieve and long for her forever. As each day passes, I strive to find a piece of happiness as I walk the journey of learning how to live without her each day. I will never get over the loss of Millie and I am simply just striving to rebuild myself. One day, I will feel whole again, but I will never be the same and I am incredibly okay with that. Losing Millie has opened my eyes to a whole new adventure. I will forever spend my days advocating for her and aiming to raise awareness of Turner Syndrome. I also am striving to help guide other grieving mothers that have to experience the nightmare of losing their precious children. You can not fathom the pain of losing a child, unless you have been there yourself. I want to instill a strong faith into other grieving moms and to build a family to know they are never alone and that we can walk this journey together.

They say time heals all wounds, but no matter how much time passes, there will forever be a constant unfillable void. There will always be a sense of wonder, a longing in my heart of what could have been. In my heart lies a hallow place that will forever throb for Millie. My dearest Millie, I want to tell you something that I often think about, you are so incredibly wonderful to think of, but so hard to be and live without.

As I go on living my days and learning to live without my sweet girl, I smile. I smile because I am abundantly blessed with an amazingly supportive husband who always keeps me laughing and has been by my side through thick and thin since we were 17 years old. I smile because I have an incredible group of family and friends that are my support system. I smile because I am healthy and alive. I smile because River is always watching me and he is and always will be my strength to go on each day.

I smile through these hard times because I know that my God does not cause pain without allowing something new to be born. I am hurt, mentally and emotionally, and some days I just sit there starring at a blank wall crying inconsolably, but everyday, I wake up and choose to be happy. Everyday, I walk with a smile, even though my heart will always have a wound that can not be healed, I smile because that’s just who I am: the woman who never stops smiling.

Each day I strive to keep busy, it helps to keep my mind at ease, but when I am alone with my thoughts and lay down to fall asleep each night is when it hits me. In these moments, I cry and pray. I pray to Millie and to god to continue to give me the strength and faith I need to go on. There will always be days where I grieve more than others, because grief is just like an ocean that comes in waves. Some of those waves are clam and some are overwhelming, but we must choose to dive in and learn to swim. We are given one life and our life is meant to be lived. I will always have this brokenness in my heart that will never be fixed, but I will continue to embrace my life and live it with worth and a purpose. We must not waste away our lives, we are meant to laugh, smile, love, and to serve. So as life goes on, I will continue to smile and continue to walk this journey with my faith. God is always on my side and I am one of his biggest fans.

Until We Meet Again 

As a mother, when a life evolves inside your womb, the feeling of unconditional love evolves immediately. As mothers, we love like no other and our children are our greatest joy. Growing up, I always envisoned myself with a big family. My heart has so much love to give and if I can give that love to my own children, how beautiful of a life we will live for an eternity. When we became pregnant for the first time with our son River, it was the happiest day in our lives. Feeling him grow and then welcoming him into our world was the most special moments in our lives. Being the crazy person I am, while delivering River, I mentioned to my amazing doctor, Dr. Ashton, that I would do this all over again and that labor wasn’t that bad. River wasn’t even in my arms yet and I was already thinking about having more beautiful children. Crazy much? River was such an incredible baby and a joy to watch each and everyday. He was and still is the happiest and sweetest fun loving little boy that we are so blessed to have as ours. Shortly after River turned one, Brad and I began discussing bringing another miracle into the world and to have River become a big brother. We knew it was going to be a challenge to have two little ones under the age of 2, but we were ready to give our unconditional love to a new blessing from God. 

In April 2017, we became pregnant with our sweet Millie. I remember going in for our first ultrasound and having that gut feeling again that we would have another beautiful boy, but we later discovered our beautiful miracle was indeed a little girl and she was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome.    I remember how amazing Brad was when we received the news, he hugged me and said, “if this is what God wants for us then we will play the card and we will love her unconditionally. ” He has been my rock through our journey and has always helped to keep me smiling and laughing in the darkest of times. I am blessed to be married to my best friend and to always have him by my side through thick and thin. Our pregnancy with Millie was stressful, but Brad and I stayed hopeful and celebrated her always. At every appointment, her condition became worse, but we always clung to the good. We remained hopeful through it all and prayed hard for our sweet girl to overcome her battle. With Turner Syndrome, butterflies are given a 1-2% chance of survival. Even though the percentage was extremely low, we always chose faith over fear and truly believed that our girl would defy the odds. Even though Millie lost her battle at 26 weeks, we admire her fight and her determination through it all. Being able to hold our girl in our arms and see her beautiful soul was a precious and amazing moment in our lives. We will always long for the day to hold our sweet girl again, but being able to hold one of god’s most precious angels was an indescribable feeling. 

Purple is a color that signifies dignity and strength, it is also the color that represents Turner Syndrome. We were so humbled to see so many of our amazing friends and members of our hometown community join together and wear purple to honor and recognize our beautiful angel. I knew yesterday would be hard, but seeing my timeline overflow with purple and outpouring love gave us the strength and encouragement we needed to get through. I will forever be thankful and grateful for the sweetest sentiment that warmed our hearts and soothed our pain. We love you all. Millie is flying high and watching over all of you. 

 Yesterday, on November 2, 2017, we gathered with our immediate family and friends to say our goodbyes to our beloved angel and to celebrate our Millie’s sweet soul. The ceremony was absolutely perfect and beautiful. As hard as it was to stand by her grave, we knew she was there with us and wrapping her arms around us as we said see you later. After the burial, we gathered at our house and released purple balloons in Millie’s honor. As the balloons drifted to heaven, for a split second they formed a beautiful butterfly. It was an amazing sign from our girl showing that she was no longer in pain and that she was already watching over us. I miss her terribly already and I know my heart will always long for her. I always dreamed of having a daughter and having her be my Rory to my Lorelei (all you Gilmore Girls will understand this reference 💜) 

God surely blessed me with an incredible daughter. A daughter who taught the world about his unconditional love for his children, a daughter who taught the world about hope, faith, and determination, and a daughter who inspired and left an everlasting impact. As God’s children, we will all one day live with our father in heaven. He wants us all to live eternally with him, just sometimes, he choses his extra special children early to live with him and serve as angels among us. We hit the jackpot and have the most beautiful angel there is and we will always look forward to the day until we meet our Millie Raelynn again. 💜

We love you sweet girl! 

Love you more, 

Momma, Daddy, and River