Photo by Abby Alger Photography

1. I will love you.

You are here, and I will love you. I will take that love and use it to make sure you are warm, fed, and comforted. I will love you even when I can barely function. I will come back to this love again and again.

2. I will dress you in rainbows.

For photo shoots, for family gatherings, just because. It will happen.

3. But not always.

I promise not every nice picture of you will have rainbows.

4. I will talk about your brother.

You will know about him because he is part of our family. Part of our story. It will never be taboo to say his name or ask questions. He is mine, and he is yours too.

5. I will not let the guilt overpower me.

When it happens, when I feel I’m not doing enough for you or for your brother, I will be gentle with myself. I will do so to help the guilt pass so I don’t get lost in it. I will do my best to balance being a mom to you and being a mom to your brother, and accept that it is my best.

6. I will cry at weird times.

It might not make sense to you, and it might not make sense to me. Maybe when you go to kindergarten, maybe a random Thursday, maybe when you give me a Mother’s Day project…it will happen. Sometimes a teardrop I can blink back, sometimes a waterfall.

7. I will grieve in front of you.

I know it will happen. Some days I will be prepared for it, other days it will surprise me. It might impact my ability to be fully present with you, and for that I apologize. But I want you to know that grief is OK. Grieving is OK, it is how we cope with loss. It is how we express love, and I want you to witness the love I have for your brother.

8. I won’t expect you to grieve like me.

Maybe you will. Maybe you won’t. I will never force you to participate in my grief rituals. I hope you find ways to include your brother in your life, but I won’t make you.

9. I will let you be yourself.

You are not your sibling. You are not responsible for living enough for the both of you. You only need to be your individual, wonderful, perfect self.

10. You don’t have to fix me.

You are not in charge of making me OK. You are not responsible for bringing me back or healing my heart. Things may happen incidentally because I love being your mom, but it is not your job. Your job is to be you. To grow. To play. I’m the mom. I take care of you.

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