A personal story on sibling loss and explaining death to your children.
December 12, March 14, July 25, October 16
- The date of my brother’s birthday
- The date my brother became a father.
- The date I became a Mom.
- The date of my brother’s death.
Since the death of my brother Steven, I’ve become a student on surviving loss and trying to deal with the loss of a sibling. I have an ongoing lesson on how to explain death to my daughters. Each year as the girls get older, their questions about Uncle Steven get harder and harder to answer. Parker wants to know “exactly how he died.” Peyton has asked, will she get to meet him one day when she goes to Heaven? And with each question and with every answer, no matter how many years have gone by, no matter how much I have tried to learn and understand, I am paralyzed and unprepared for their innocent questions. I will never get over the shock and loss of Steven, but through my children and my niece, I have learned to heal my heart, to seek out my own answers, and to take another step forward, while clinging to memories and a powerful part of my own childhood.
If anyone knows me, they know how much I adore my niece, Abby. My sweet Abby turns TEN today! Double digits. She is so special to me, and this blog post is so special to me too – We love you Abby. Have the best birthday ever!
A Letter to my Niece on her 10th birthday
To my brilliant and fearless niece on your 10th birthday,
On the day you were born, I had no way of knowing just how much your sassy and strong presence would impact our lives. It felt like eternity waiting for your arrival. But in true Abby fashion, you were born when you were good and ready, and on your own terms. I couldn’t wait to see you…to hold you. Jokingly, I kept asking your mommy and daddy when I could paint your nails. Now, ten years later, it’s one of our favorite things to do together. This is ten.
You were complete perfection wrapped in a blanket with an adorable pink hat on – I wanted to hold you- Like. All. The. Time. – I even took off work after your mommy got home from the hospital. I sat on the couch holding you and staring at you for hours. Mommy and Daddy said I could lay you in the pack n play, but I wasn’t giving you up. This was my day to snuggle you. All your aunts took off a day of work to help out mommy and daddy. Daddy was probably so sick of us being there all the time, but we wanted as much time with you as possible.
I had no idea I could love anything so much. I may have my own girls now, but you will always be a very special fourth daughter -and I know your other aunts feel the exact same way.
My Abby girl, you have been a gift to everyone since the day you were born, but we had no idea just how much of a gift you were until 7-months later. You became the core of this family. You became the light that kept us going. You made us smile and you made us laugh on our hardest days. I would have loved you with my whole being, even if your daddy didn’t go to Heaven, but now I get to love you extra for your daddy too.
Your life has been a series of beautiful, BLUE, dragonfly signs. When you were a baby, the wallpaper and decor in your room were dragonflies, the hooks for your dogs’ leashes were dragonflies, and at Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s house, you would stare at a fan with dragonfly lights and giggle and smile. It confirmed what we knew all along, that your daddy is always with you.
At the age of ten, you are the oldest of ten cousins and your brothers who look up to you. You are a role model for the younger girls, Peyton, Parker, Piper, Kami, Lexi, and Jordyn. And you are a leader among the boys in the family, PJ, Brayden, Zach, and Jaxon.
In honor of your milestone 10th birthday. Here are just a few of the reasons why I love you so incredibly much.
Guest Writer: Prince Charming (Kevin Daniel)
Disclaimer: My wife made me sound like an actual writer in this article. I want to thank her for her talent, patience, and laughter while we wrote this together. And a very special thank you to my brother-in-law, Chad, for the inspiration behind this post.
I’m not like a regular dad…I’m a Disney Dad.
Before my wife and I started writing this blog post, we did a quick search to see how many articles have been published from a Disney Dad’s perspective. Instead of finding articles about Walt Disney World, we found the real definition of a Disney Dad.
Disney Dad (paraphrased in our words): A subpar dad that showers his kids with gifts and toys to compensate for poor parenting and guilt over divorce – Also, dad who attempts to look like the better parent by purchasing excessive and expensive gifts.
Uhhh yeah — Not exactly the direction we were going…and a little sad too!
Disney Tips and Tricks from a Disney Mom.
Know Before You Go: Tips and Tricks from a Disney Mom Part II
Read Part I here: Know Before You Go! Part I