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!
4 reasons to blog. Why I blog. Blogging life
Why I blog.
My blog is a little over a year old, but only in the past month have I actually “published” my writing. When I hit the blue publish button, I cringe, hold my breath, and say a few expletives — I am not a shy or introverted person, but writing exposes you in different ways.
Ironically, my first “successful” post was about my brother’s death and how I managed life, marriage, and motherhood after a tremendous tragedy.
Friends and family responded by sharing personal stories of Steven. I received messages from people I didn’t know, thanking me for my courage in sharing. I even received a private message asking if I needed a therapist. Don’t we all?
I was “new” to blogging at that point. This particular topic made me vulnerable. It is raw, it is real, and it is my life.
Read it here: Life is a Wonderful Mess
Criticism is scary. When publishing anything publicly, there is always the risk of negative comments and negative exposure, but there are also compliments and encouragement There are people that don’t understand what blogging actually is and think it’s a cute “hobby”— there are people that don’t understand the purpose of writing — and the importance of giving voice to your thoughts.
Even more so, there are people that can’t publicly compliment because they privately criticize. But, since venturing into the blogging world, I have learned —
I. Just. Don’t. Care. I care about what I write —not what people think.
You write for YOU. Write because you have a passion for the topics you write about. Write because you want to tell your story —share your story.
Fortunately, there’s been more compliments than criticism, for which I am grateful, but there’s still plenty of people that don’t understand what I’m doing or why I’m sharing—and YES, you can SHARE my posts. In this absolutely insane world of social media, anything shared publicly is fair game.
Simply scroll through Facebook and you will see friends sharing articles all over social media. Some from Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and NY Times…Those articles and posts are blogs, videos, and websites that have gone viral.
Why I love blogging…
It’s My Story: I can share experiences, likes, and dislikes — and the beauty is… it’s my story. Not everyone cares about Disney and there are readers who don’t care about parenting and motherhood posts —but there are people that do. It’s simple, don’t like it, don’t read it. Small disclaimer: there’s plenty I write that I don’t actually publish. I’ll wait for retirement for those stories and I promise, they will be good—Real good.
I’ve developed an eye for meaningful things: I don’t have time to read articles that don’t matter or don’t have meaning — my eyes search for credible and interesting topics and writers. Anyone can post, publish, and deem themselves a “writer.” It’s an important lesson and one I teach my students. Find things that matter and have credibility. Connect that to real-life, it’s a good motto to follow — find genuine people and steer clear of the opportunistic ones —find purpose and find meaning.
I want to write to inspire and entertain: I am inspired by other writers and I am entertained by some super funny people like The Truth Bomb Mom and Cat and Nat. I vicariously live through their humor and inappropriateness. I follow Disney bloggers to learn and stay up-to-date on Disney News. I also follow some serious and not so serious motherhood blogs for tips and tricks on surviving motherhood — I swear, I’m just winging this motherhood gig and hoping I don’t screw my kids up too much. Mostly, I want my readers to laugh, to cry, and to feel as though they are living my story and can connect to my story.
Writing Creates Opportunities:Writing is freaking hard.Sometimes I spend upwards of 10 hours getting a post “just right” and I still hate it —Currently, I have 28 articles in my drafts. I don’t sleep, my laundry is always at least two weeks behind, and my two-year old has been known to raise havoc with markers – mostly on herself while I am writing. I just “don’t know” how that happens! Writer’s block strikes more often then I care to admit…and when it hits, it’s like the flu, hard to shake. I’m learning new things every day: SEO, Google Analytics, Tailwind — I didn’t know what any of those were a few weeks ago and I haven’t mastered them yet, but I will. I also don’t know what opportunities writing will bring, but I’m hopeful and excited.
I am eager to write and to tell more stories — to show my daughters that they can do anything and everything, like run half marathons or stand up paddle board in the ocean. That they can survive tragedy and come out stronger. To show them to stand up for themselves, and to respectfully speak up when it matters. To show them that life is a lot like writing…
We don’t always get it right, it’s definitely not perfect, it can be frustrating, but we learn…we improve…and we keep looking up… that’s the secret to life.
Here are some of my favorite blog posts: This is TEN