By the time this blog is posted, we will be at 40 weeks gestation and LL Cool T may already be here. As I started thinking about what to write on this last entry in the Bump Day Blog, I realized there were so many things that LL will have to deal with as our second child, our first to come home. I sat down and wrote a letter to my baby and would like to share it with you.
Dear LL Cool T,
I want you to know that no matter what, we love you. You are the child we fought and struggled and fell down and got back up again for. You are not our first child, but you will be the first child to come home with us. We wanted you years ago, but the universe had a different idea and so we waited for you.
There will be times where I will have to pinch myself because I will not be able to believe that you are here. I will probably hug and kiss you and hold you more than what most people would consider normal. You can be covered in mud after playing outside, wet after playing in the rain or the pool, and I will still hug you for as long as you’ll let me.
I will fight for you constantly until the day I draw my last breath. I will be your voice to the world until you can speak and then your advocate until you are ready to take that role on for yourself. Even when you take it on, I will be rooting for you, ready to jump in at a moment’s notice with whatever you need. The road to you caused me to grow and develop as an advocate and I know that you being here will only strengthen and nourish that desire.
You will live with complexities and nuances that your peers will not have to endure. In many ways, you will be raised as our oldest and possibly even only child, but you will know that is not the truth. You are our second-born child and you have an older sister that will watch out for and protect you, but will not live in the room next door to you. Colette will be in your life as much as we possibly can include her, but she will not babysit you, she will not get to tease you or drive you crazy, you will not have fights with your big sister like other siblings do. Colette will not reach down and hold your hand to cross the street, she will not teach you all the ways to get away with things, she will not be able to tell you about teachers that she had when you have them, you will not be able to go visit your big sister in college and feel like you are so grown up for that brief moment, you will not be able to dance with her at her wedding, or to hold her children—your nieces and nephews—close to your heart. In fact, I cannot promise you that you will ever have a sibling that can be right alongside you at all those major milestones in your life and all the mundane in between, or at least not one you can see and touch.
But, I will promise you this—you will be surrounded by love, from dad and I, from Colette, from your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, and so many others that will love you, protect you, and be there with you.
I cannot promise that I will not hover over you. I cannot promise that when you are sick, that I will not think the worst and panic, worry, and fret over you. I cannot promise that I will not try to intervene when you are doing something dangerous. I know what it was like to lose your sister and that pain and grief have not gone away even for a moment, so I will do everything humanly possible to protect you and keep you safe to have you here with me for a very long time. As you grow up and become independent, I will be in constant communication with you. Every time you leave my care, I will be on edge until the moment you and I reunite. I will drive you crazy at times, making sure that you check in everywhere, holding my breath until I know you’re safe at home. You will not understand while going through it, but I hope that one day, perhaps when you become a parent yourself, you will look back and realize that all of that came out of a deep, never-ending love for you.
But, I will promise you that I will not sweat the small stuff—that getting a bad grade will not be the end of the world, that when you decide to draw on the walls with crayon, I will not scream and may, in fact, grab a crayon and draw along with you.
I cannot promise that I will never be sad over your sister. I cannot promise that there will be milestones that would have occurred in her life—moments when it would have been her first day of kindergarten or her birthday or anything else—that I will not sit and sob. I cannot promise that there will be days that are important for you where I will look and realize that there is always a piece of our family missing, and that will make me sad. I cannot promise that I will not cry at your milestones, partially because of you growing up and accomplishing all you will accomplish, but also partially because I will miss Colette even more in those moments and wish she was beside me celebrating.
But, I will promise that all of your milestones and events will be grand celebrations and that there will never come a time when your mom is not there, excited, thrilled, and proud of you.
I will promise that I will be open and honest with you about what I am feeling and that I will not take away from your day. I will promise you that we will celebrate Colette as we celebrate you, but that each of those celebrations will naturally look different.
I cannot promise that I will not sometimes be quiet and withdrawn, thinking about what our family would have looked like if your sister had lived. I love your sister so much and I love you so much and I will think a lot about what it would be like if she were in the room next to you. I cannot promise that I won’t think about the house being too quiet and feel her missing. I cannot promise that when I see the bathroom that you would have shared, connecting your two rooms, that I will not cry, thinking of fights over the shower or the general harassment between siblings will not happen between you and Colette and may never happen at all.
But, I will promise you that you will grow up in a house full of fun and laughter.
Yes, there may be moments and times when that laughter is harder to produce, and when one or more of us will not feel much like laughing, but I will promise that you will have fun growing up.
I love you so much and I am so glad that you are our baby. You will always be loved incredibly by your dad and me and by everyone else in our world. You may not have a sister that people can see, but you have your own personal guardian angel and that is not something that every baby gets. I love you, my baby.