This isn’t the letter I wanted to write. It just isn’t how it is supposed to be but sadly it is the way it has turned out.
You’re 3 years old! But you have been loved for much longer than 3 years – you are the first person I ever loved before I met you. I loved you as soon as I found out your mum was pregnant and I have loved you more every day since.
We met you when you were two days old and a little bundle of utter perfection. The most beautiful baby I had ever seen – instantly all the annoying big brother things my brother had done were erased. In the months that followed we got to know you. I happily let my Christmas dinner go cold to have the honour of cuddling you.
Covid hit when you were 6 months old so seeing you became more sporadic over the next few years but it was always our priority. I would take you out to the park and people would assume you were my son – turns out you look far more like my son than either of my actual sons. In direct conversation I would correct people “no I’m his aunt” which I think gave me free reign to boast about you. Other times I admit there were times when I if people assumed you were my son I didn’t correct them .
You are one of the main reasons that Lenny and Bhai exist. Spending time with you made us certain we wanted to have a little person of our own. We told you we were expecting Lenny far before we told anyone else – you kept that secret well. I was so excited that you would have a little cousin just 2 years younger than you who lived just down the road. I imagined you would grow up together, more like siblings than cousins. A sibling relationship is the most enduring of our lives it is special and a two year age gap is exactly the gap between me and your dad. He is a person I’ve looked up to since I can remember and I imagined that Lenny would look up to you. Lenny should be here and I’m so sorry you missed out on that special relationship, I’m so sorry that you also didn’t get to meet Bhai – it’s just not fair! Unfair is putting it mildly – there are other words but I’ll let grandad Jim teach you those.
I’m sorry I’m not able to celebrate your birthday this year – it’s not that I don’t want to – it’s the exact opposite of that. It’s that my two little boys (who exist because I love you so much) died on their birthdays and birthdays are too sad for me at the moment. It turns out we have a meeting to find out why Bhai couldn’t stay with us on your birthday – sometimes life is cruel.
I’ve agonised over this I really have. One of my favourite things is buying gifts – I far prefer giving a gift than receiving one. The custom built balance bike we made for you was one of my favourite ever gifts. I also enjoy other peoples’ celebrations far more than my own – other peoples’ birthdays or weddings. I’m not able to celebrate anything at the moment – not because I’m bitter but because I’m just too sad. I don’t want to be a dark cloud over your happy day – I only ever want to do good in your life.
You will always be my barometer for what Lenny should be doing 2 years later and what Bhai would be doing 3 years later. That will be bittersweet I know but in time may make me feel closer to my boys and what a beautiful gift that is.
I know you will forgive me for not being able to celebrate your third birthday- I know you will be surrounded by love and fun. I’m sorry I can’t be the joyful person you deserve. I can’t remember what my aunties did for my third birthday but I do know they have been and continue to be a source of constant support during this the hardest time of my life . My hope is you won’t encounter heartbreak like this in your life but there will be challenges – I promise I’ll be there for you too .
Thanks for being patient and gentle with me – I miss you. I miss our walks, the park, teaching you to ride a bike, you getting frustrated at my rubbish football skills or how I can’t read your mind for your song requests and our dancing but there’s no rush, we have forever.
Love you more than you could know,
Auntie Mim xx