It was only once you were born, that I realized how deeply I could love.

And it wasn’t until I had to disappoint you that I realized how deeply I could hurt.

I am sorry, Jack, that you were only four months old. I am sorry that you were breast-feeding and that you had to take a bottle suddenly. I am sorry that I could not lift you for three months. My heart broke when you would reach your arms out to me and say “mama” and I could not pick you up.

I am sorry, Michael, that Mommy and Daddy were scared and nervous and crying all of a sudden. I am sorry that you had to see me with bandages and drains and in pain. I’m sorry that I had to spend nights in the hospital. I’m sure you were scared and confused and that your little three-year old mind had no idea why your parents had changed so drastically, so suddenly.

I am sorry that I was bald and sick and burned from radiation. I am sorry that when you jumped up to grab me, I often had to flinch.

I am sorry for the times I could not go swimming with you, or sledding with you, or on the roller coaster with you and that I missed Michael’s kindergarten orientation and Jack’s Thanksgiving feast. I am sorry that we have had to leave places early and that I have not been able to get up to get you ready for school all the time and that  I have not always been able to go trick or treating. I am sorry that you have had to worry through 20 surgeries in eight years and my heart broke when I overheard Michael telling Jack that “Mommy won’t die, she’s had lots of surgeries and she always comes home”.

I am sorry that the other woman who you love most in the world, your MiMi, also got sick and had to be upset, and nervous and scared. I am sorry that Mommy was nervous and upset and scared all over again for her. I am sorry for the conversations you overheard, that probably scared you to death and I am sorry that I was not able to shield you completely from some of what has gone on.

Only some of it, though because I am not sorry that you have learned to believe that although things can get bad, they can also get better. I am not sorry that you see that Mommy and MiMi are still here and that we are having moments of joy, along with our moments of uncertainty and fear.

I am also not sorry that others have helped in bringing you up. That your eighty year old great grandparents came and stayed a few nights every time I had chemotherapy or surgeries and that you got to spend that time with them. That your great grandma Nickie got up with Jack in the middle of the night and rocked him back to sleep. That Michael sat on great grandpa Mike’s lap and watched cartoons while Mommy was inside resting. Those are moments that you will never forget.

I am glad that you are so close to your aunts and your uncles and your grandparents. I am glad that you know, without a shadow of a doubt, how loved you are by all of those people. That they would go to the end of the earth for you.

I am not sorry that I went to Disney World with radiation burns on my neck and a bandana on my head. I am not sorry that I forced myself to attend countless movies, birthday parties, play dates, beach dates and vacations in pain, or nauseous or just exhausted.   I am glad you learned that the only time you should not do something you enjoy or that is important to you or someone you love is when you absolutely can’t. Otherwise, suck it up and do it. You only get one life and you will almost always be sorry that you didn’t.

There is a wonderful lesson that I am glad you are learning being my sons. Life will knock you down.  You have to be able to pick yourself up and keep going. Not only go through the motions but, really live with passion and joy.

I love you, boys.