Prologue to Upside-Down Mommy…

I let the tears fall as I looked into my husband’s eyes and quietly thanked him for sharing his life and love with me, for being my best friend and my lover, for not giving up on us through the hard times, for keeping me grounded and honest, and for raising our beautiful son with me.

I shifted my gaze to the last one in the circle. My sweet son. My angel.

We smiled at each other through the tears, and then he moved closer and rested his head on my lap the way he had done a million times. I could almost hear his thoughts – “I need Mommy time!” – the words he always used to let me know he needed a snuggle.

Sweet Boy. I ran my fingers through his hair. How could I ever put into words how your presence in my life has changed me? How could I make you understand how you helped me heal my heart and taught me the most important lessons I have ever learned as I tried to figure out how to parent you without limiting you? 

Everyone in the room must have seen our interaction and decided to give us some time.  

Feeling my lap dampen with his tears, I rubbed his back and wondered…

How can I make sure he doesn’t forget who he really is and has already been to me, especially through the grief of losing me?

And almost as soon as I finished asking the question, I knew the answer.

I’ll write him letters, give them to Ryan, and ask him to share one every year on my birthday…


The dream was so real, so intense, that I woke in a puddle of tears. I kissed my husband gently on the cheek and then slipped out of bed.

“Mommy?” his little voice sounded confused.

When I knew he had fallen back to sleep, I let the tears flow again.“Yes, Big Man. It’s me. I’m here. I just needed some Big Man time.” I pulled myself onto his top bunk and snuggled up next to him.

“How can I make sure he doesn’t forget?” The words echoed through my mind.

I’m not even sick, let alone dying. Why did I have that dream?

I watched his chest rise and fall, and listened to his sweet little sleep sounds.

What would I say to him if I knew I only had a year left?

What would I leave for him to remember who he is?

What would I apologize for?

Gulp. The tears flowed harder as I remembered the one moment I knew I could never take back…

                                               Finish the story here…

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