October 25, 2010
Dear Little Brother,
It’s hard to know where to start in writing a letter to you in honor of your third birthday. There’s so much I want you to know about how special you are to us and how proud we are of you (and your brother) each and every day.
I’ll start with telling you that Daddy and I are somewhat selfish people (surprise!). We always knew we wanted to have a family together but we also knew that having a baby was going to seriously alter our relationships with things we thought we cared deeply about — like our sleep, our social life and our one-on-one relationship with each other. So, when your big brother was born in 2004 (and sure enough, things changed), he lit up our lives with happiness and love. But, we weren’t all that sure there would be another baby to follow.
Don’t get me wrong. We never once regretted giving those things up to start a family. But, it wasn’t easy. Your big brother was colicky, I had a bout with postpartum depression, broke my foot and things were a bit of a mess for a while. We pulled through it, of course, and by the time we moved to Vermont your brother was six months old, I was a happy Mommy (and a walking Mommy) again and our life as a family of three settled into a wonderful little routine.
Your grandparents (Marnie and Jeff) had just one child — me. And while there are hundreds of stereo-types and psychological studies about lonely, spoiled only children, I never once felt cheated out of a sibling. I had many friends and a busy social life. I never felt lonely and I certainly never felt spoiled (does anyone?). So, to me, the idea of having just one child was perfectly acceptable.
Your other grandparents (Grammie and Grampy) had two children — Daddy and Uncle “Mickey”. Daddy and Mickey enjoyed life as brothers to the fullest. They had (and still have) an eternal playmate in one another as they grew up with backyard games, team sports and the ever-present sibling rivalries.
I respected the bond they shared. I loved the stories they shared about growing up together. I loved that, in my marriage to your Dad, I gained a brother for myself.
But, I never envied them.
I never felt I needed a sibling of my own.
So, therefore, I never felt that your Big Brother needed one either.
Then Grampy died.
And, it was horrible and unexpected and so so sad.
We shed so many tears and, although four years have passed, I think your Grammie and Daddy and Uncle Mickey sometimes feel as though Grampy was with us just yesterday. He was a wonderful man.
Suddenly, there was so much to do. So much to think about. So much grief and so many memories. So many details to handle and support to give.
Your Daddy and your Uncle were amazing. They found their way through those first dark days of rushing back home to Grammie, planning services, greeting friends and I can’t imagine how they got through it. I’ll never know for sure.
But, I do know this.
They did it together.
At the most painful time in their lives, they got through it (and continue to get through it) by leaning on each other. When Daddy was sad, Mickey was strong. When Mickey was sad, there was Daddy by his side.
And, suddenly, I looked at siblings differently. I looked at family differently.
Grampy died on October 21, 2006.
You, my sweet boy, were born on October 25, 2007.
Your big brother welcomed you with open arms.
It’s truly impossible to imagine we ever could have lived without you.
This morning, as you slept in a little, your Big Brother was up at his usual 6 am. He emerged from his room, enjoyed the breakfast I left out for him, watched a little Curious George and drew you a picture. He slipped it into an envelope, tucked it under your door and waited for you to discover it.
Happy Birthday, sweet Little Brother.
We love you more than words can say.