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Challenge: Raising Siblings

An apology to the sibling of a child with special needs

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Dear Little Man,

I have been wanting to write you this letter for a long time. I feel like there is a lot I need to say to you and apologize for. It’s been almost four years now since you joined our family to make us a party of four. You are still little, but I feel like some things need to be said.

At first this letter was going to take a more light-hearted approach. I was going to apologize to you for the pink hand-me-downs from your sister. I was going to apologize for the lack of decorations in your baby bedroom in comparison to your sister’s very coordinated nursery decor. I was going to apologize for your empty baby book sitting on my desk, right next to your sister’s which is overflowing with pictures and milestones. (I really am so sorry about that, sweetie.)


As time has gone on, I have found that I have many more apologies that need to be voiced. You see, you are the sibling of a sister who has special needs. You don’t understand this yet, but she was born with very serious medical issues which caused her to have some challenges in life. She needs to work harder and have more help doing things than you do. Now that your sister is entering third grade, Mommy is working very hard to make sure that she is getting everything she needs in school, too. I know this takes up a lot of my time and emotional energy.

I love both you and your sister with my whole heart and would do anything for you. I wish there were two of me so that I could give you both my undivided attention, but unfortunately there is not. So for now I am asking that you continue to bear with me.

I want you to know that I am so sorry for all the times that you need to entertain yourself while I work with your sister. Good thing you love your Hot Wheels and your videos.

I want you to know that I am so sorry for the time that you spend sitting in waiting rooms or with family members while we take your sister to appointments. Thank you for being so easygoing in that way.

I want you to know that I am so sorry for the fact that most of my writing these days is about her. I do feel very badly about this and want you to know that it doesn’t mean that you are any less significant in my life.

Honey, please know even when I seem so busy with your sister that I am 1000% your mommy, too. I will continue to work my hardest to let you know how important you are to me and how special I think you are.

You impress me everyday with your personality and sense of humor. I never knew an almost 4-year-old could be so funny.

You are so kind and loving. I love when you make me “coffee” in your play kitchen unprompted, just because you know I like it. And, when you do things like try to help your big sister put on her shoes, my heart melts.

You are so curious and amazed by the world around you. I love watching the wonder in your eyes when you see something new, and when you excitedly tell me all about it.

You are playful and oh-so-active, but you also still have your cuddly side, too. I just adore when you curl up in my lap and ask me to read to you. I cherish that time we have together.

You are my Little Man. My one and only you. Please remember that even though your sister may have special needs, you are both equally special to me.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate this journey together as a family. I love you more than you will ever know.

Much love,


*This post was first written in 2017. Original can be read here.

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