Nicole: today you are 8 months, 26 days old-the same age your brother, Dylan, was when he passed away from SIDS. He never reached 9 months old, so I pray and hope you will make it past this day.
I wonder sometimes how different life would be if your brother hadn't died. I watch you play on our living room floor or swing at the park and imagine how much fun you would have had with your big brother, but you will never meet him on this earth. What would he look like now as he approached three-years-old? Sometimes just for a moment, I see him in you. When you scrunch your face up just a certain way when you laugh or when you blow raspberries just how he did, I see a glimpse of him just for a second and my heart skips a beat. It confirms to me you were hand-picked in heaven to help me through this difficult time. Losing your brother was like surviving a storm. Choosing to have you, didn't erase the damage, but you do help ease it. The aftermath is still all around us but God promises to help us rebuild.
Today will be difficult. I will cry, most likely hard and often and it will be the same on this day for the rest of your life. But it is a testament to how deeply I love each of you. Each of my babies hold a unique place in my heart made up of special moments that are just for you.
I will never be the same-I know this. It's odd to think you will never know the mother I was before your brother passed away. Your sisters may tell you stories of what they got away with before I was so keenly aware of how one moment can forever change your life. It's impossible to unknow something once you’ve become aware of it. I know now how fragile life is and how vigilant you have to be to protect it and sometimes, that's not even enough. The mother you have is wiser, stronger, braver in some ways but also broken, humbled, and cautious. I live a paradoxical life: a mother to three living children and a mother to one child who is missing. But to you, my youngest daughter, you will only know this version of me. I hope I succeed in making you happy, keeping you safe and caring for you during the time I am graciously given to love you.
Tomorrow, for the first time in your life, I will no longer be counting down the days to when you surpass the life of your brother. Together, we will be stepping into new territory. I might even stop holding my breath and breathe a sigh of relief. You made it baby girl, you're 8 months, 27 days old.