A Letter to my Baby Brother on His Wedding Day

Dear Sean,

My ten year old voice prayed for you each night, in the much fancier than we were used to  Florida house we lived in briefly early in my fifth grade year. I prayed for the “baby in mom’s tummy” in my pink room, the swimming pool waves reflecting in the moonlight outside the sliding glass door of my bedroom.

When you were finally born, you made your presence known immediately. Once you were here, I would pray that you would stop crying! You cried and cried, plagued with the worst cast of colic I’ve ever seen and later bronchial asthma. Mom and I took turns carrying you. I would bounce you on my hip, singing and swaying. I would listen to mom, rocking you…singing Ride Ride Your Hobby Ho and Hush Little Baby, Don’t You Cry. Grandma used to joke about me having you on one hip and a diaper bag on the other. You were always in my arms or mom’s for the first two years of your life. And, by then, you were still crying! We could never leave you anywhere without one of us staying with you. I would walk you in the stroller up and down the sidewalk when we moved back to Ohio…trying to calm you down, keep you occupied…make it all better.

When mom was single and working in the factory, I took care of you and “Keep” at night. When you were eight years old, and I was going to move out of the house to marry Tim, you looked up at me and said, “But who will take care of me? Who will make me dinner?” Mom switched shifts so that she could be home after school, and I married Tim and started taking care of my own family.

I went to your little league games and even parent visitation one day when mom couldn’t. You were our baby…spoiled rotten and dearly loved. I grew busy with my own family as you grew older. And, mom was there more to love on you, even as she grew ill with cancer. Sometimes she and I argued about how much she spoiled you. You were the apple of her eye.

In the waning days of her life, as you turned twenty-one on the most horrible of days…and watched our mother slip away, I longed to protect you the way I did when I was ten and you were that crying colicky baby on my hip. I still wish I could take the hurt for you…and make it all better. But, I know that isn’t possible.

Today, you are going to get married, baby brother of mine. I get the privilege of singing in your wedding and standing up with your beautiful bride, Megan, as her matron of honor. Mom loved Megan, like she was one of her own. I know she would be so proud and full of joy for you. She would be proud of the man you have become…the amazing father, the hard worker, and soon-to-be-husband. If you get to see the good stuff from heaven…and I like to think we do, she is smiling down for sure. I am so proud of you! And, you are still what my friend Nicki refers to as my cryptonite…my soft spot…the person I would do almost anything for…especially since mom isn’t here to do it.

I am looking forward to this day…to standing up there with your beautiful bride and your sweet kids…to celebrating this new adventure and watching your little family continue to grow and maybe fill up your own row at church on Sunday morning with more sweet nieces and nephews (or pseudo-grandbabies as I like to call them). Happy Wedding Day, baby brother. My heart is full…and I continue to stand amazed at the “sacred dance of grief and joy” that we experience in this life.

Today, we embrace the joy.




P.S. Megan, if you’re reading this…take good care of my baby brother. I know you will. Love you both so much!



  1. What an amazing letter to your brother. How much you love him comes across in each paragraph you wrote.

  2. I’m sure it was a beautiful wedding. That’s a sweet letter to your brother. Congratulations to him and Megan

  3. Mary Koppenhofer says:

    That was beautiful. I could definitely feel your Mom’s presence at the wedding. I’m sure she’s very proud of Sean (and Megan)!

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