My dear second son,

You have always been wanted. From the moment I saw two lines, my heart leaped with joy. From the moment I saw you bouncing around inside and heard your heartbeat for the first time—before I knew who you were—I loved and wanted you. I knew how much fun your brother was, and I could not wait to learn who you would be.

A lot of other people couldn’t wait to find out who you were, either. 

There had been so much excitement when we welcomed your brother, so many showers and gifts. People visited the hospital, sent us meals, asked for frequent updates. They squealed when we shared the news he was a boy and prayed when we shared the news he’d arrived prematurely. We knew we had a good circle in place, just waiting for your arrival.

I’m sorry, my sweet boy, that the circle let you down. 

I’m sorry when we announced we were having another boy, we saw letdown instead of elation. 

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I’m sorry no one thought to celebrate you in the ways they did your brother. 

I hope you didn’t hear the disappointed words, the groans, the awws, the “maybe next time” comments. 

You, my precious boy, weren’t what so many others wanted. They had ideas of what was perfect, what would complete me. People move easily onto what’s new but are often unappreciative of what’s known. 

You, my son, weren’t the sister so many wanted for my biggest boy, but you turned out to be the best friend he needed. 

You weren’t the last piece of a set society thought I needed, you were the missing piece of my heart I hadn’t even known to hope for. 

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I felt like I had to fight harder for you, like it was you and me against the world. I felt like I needed to protect you from their disappointment and love you even harder to make up for their dissatisfaction. I had your back while you were in my womb, and we became a team before you were even here to join it. 

You, my second son, are as significant as my first. You, my second son, are as special as my first. I’m not disappointed I doubled up on boys, I only regret so many others have missed out on what’s so wonderful about you. 

You, my boy, are not a rerun.

You rocked our world when you entered it, and you forged your own path that looked nothing like your brother’s. Every one of your firsts was unique, and not a day goes by you don’t still surprise me. 

It doesn’t hurt that we saved a lot of money by using your brother’s hand-me-downs. It doesn’t hurt that we have had some great themed costumes over the years. But the best part of having a second son, my boy, was getting to meet you.

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I’ve had to defend you since we announced you, convince and console people who had very specific ideas about how our family should look. I’m so glad, my boy, they didn’t get a say. I’m so glad I didn’t get the “perfect” child people thought I should. I’m forever and ever thankful to have you, my second son, sitting next to me, sharing jokes with me, cuddling under the blanket because you somehow innately know that no one will ever have your back the way I do. 

My second son, you weren’t what they wanted, but oh, you are what I needed.

You are a gift, my second son. A gift to your brother who needed his best friend. A gift to your father who needed your sense of humor. A gift to this world that needs who you are. But more than anything, my boy, you are a gift to me who needed to be freed from who I thought I was supposed to be and molded into who I really am.

I love you, my second son, and my life could never, ever have been complete without you.

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There’s just something between a mother and her son. This book is a must-read for all of the boy moms out there! Don’t have time to sit and read? You can listen here, on Audible.

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Jennifer Vail

Jennifer is married to the very handsome man she's loved half her life, with whom she juggles 3 hilarious, quirky, sometimes-difficult-but-always-worth-the-work kids. She is passionate about people and 90's pop culture, can't go a week without TexMex, and maintains the controversial belief that Han shot first. She holds degrees in counseling and general ministries, writes at This Undeserved Life, and can often be found staying up too late but rarely found folding laundry.