Dear daughter. I love you more than you know.

These days, when I hear “you don’t like me,” it quickly breaks my heart into a thousand pieces.

Why do you say that? And what have I ever done to make you feel that I don’t like you?

When you are sick, I want to make you well.

When you are sad, I want to make you laugh.

When you are down, I want to pick you up.

When you are hungry, I want to feed you.

When you are happy, I am happy. And hearing your laugh or watching your eyes light up with your smile brightens my day.

I remember you as a baby. So smiley and happy, without a care. Back then, I thought you are going to be the happiest kid around. The easiest kid. The chillest kid.

But now, you don’t seem like that same happy baby. It seems something has changed.

And I wonder what have I done to bring you to this point?

Is there something I should’ve done differently to protect you from life’s hurts or sadness?

Is this a phase that you will soon pass as quickly as you entered it?

Or is this simply a small indicator of what’s to come in the truly difficult teen years?

Maybe losing your brother when you were just three years old really DID affect you.
I assumed it didn’t because you were so young.

I know I’m not always the happiest mommy, or the easiest to be around. Sometimes I am the one that is sad. And sometimes I am grumpy. And sometimes I act happy just so you don’t see me cry.

But dear daughter, this is where I would ask you to not do as I do.

One day, dear daughter, you will know what it is like to love someone so much you can’t breathe when they are hurting.

The smallest little thing will bring you the biggest worry. You will want so badly for your child to know joy and smiles. And bypass pain and sadness. To have friends and fun. And bypass loneliness and heartache.

Dear daughter, I promise to love you, care for you, protect you and shield you from what I need to. I also promise to do my best for you, to raise you with self-respect, self-worth, and confidence so that you can adapt to and face the unpleasant with ease.

But for now sweet girl, today, let’s go on that “hike” around the block.

Your mommy

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Elizabeth Gerlach

Elizabeth Gerlach is a mom, marketer, fundraiser and new children’s book author. After her young triplet son Benjamin passed away just shy of his 4th birthday, she and her husband established the Ben Smiles Memorial Foundation to support the special needs community. She lives outside of Chicago and writes about family, giving back, and finding your way after loss.