Dear Aden and Connor,

Aden and Connor, you are loves of my life. My mother told me this same thing days before she passed away from breast cancer. I was confused and a little saddened by this, I thought it might be some commentary on marriage, but today I realize precisely what she meant. I am obsessed with your father. I am convinced I won the relationship lottery.  He has proven to be the man better than any of my dreams or expectations.  However, my love for you both is a supernatural kind of love that cannot be named or described- an unspeakable love. I would rip the flesh from my body an inch at a time to be here for you. There is quite literally nothing in the world I would not do for you. My love for you is like breathing oxygen or the unconscious familiarity of my own arm- I do not exist apart from it.  Facing a diagnosis of cancer at 36 is daunting because of my commitment to be your mom while you grow up. This is quite certainly the only thing that matters in my world right now, all other things are just noise.  This experience has illuminated the wisdom of The Giving Tree. I don’t fear for my own mortality right now, I only fear that my absence will bring harm and hurt to you.  Facing one’s mortality this way is perhaps something that mothers of young children experience more intensely, I don’t know, but it is remarkable.

The following words are written to you with loving intention. Today you are three and one years old. Since my diagnosis on March 18, I have been possessed by a desire to share with you my dreams for your future and whatever wisdom I can impart to help you lead happy lives. I pray that these notes might bring you solace, comfort, wisdom and hope when you need it.  I also want to document this tough journey that we are on as a family right now, and share any lessons that might help other people going through this. My prayer is that we look back on this time someday and see how good it made us.

Connor, below is a picture taken of us 10 days before my surgery sitting on an ancient tree on the walk up to Thomas Jefferson’s home. I brought you here to play when a woman came over to us and asked if I had a camera so she could take a picture of us. “Moms never get to be in the pictures,” she said.  What an angel. I will never forget this random kind act. As with a lot of pictures in the weeks before my surgery, I look a little sad. I promise though, I am so happy and grateful to have this picture with you, sweet boy!


2 thoughts on “Dear Aden and Connor,

  1. NIcole,
    Your messages to your sons are really wonderful. Tom recently told us about your surgery and recovery. Your words are reassuring – not only for comfort to your boys – but for conviction that you will do well. Thank you for sharing.
    With warmest thoughts,


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