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I never wanted kids. It wasn’t in my game plan. I’d spent so much time caring for babies and kids already, why would I sacrifice my newly found freedom in such a way?

But I dreamed about you when I was 18. I saw you, my daughter, holding her baby brother. And I suddenly had some small hope for this newness of life, this something that was mine that couldn’t be taken away.

But accidents happen. Things don’t happen the way they should. And you try so hard to fix the mistakes you’ve made, but it’s like no matter what you do they keep getting bigger and bigger.

Already, I feel like I owe you a lifetime of apologies. But guilt does nothing for either of us, so I’ve learned little ways to let it go.

I want you to know taking care of you has never been the burden. I’ve never resented you even for an instant.

Somehow, someone like me managed to bring someone like you into the world, with your perpetually shiny little self bounding along so joyfully and so fast that I find I can barely keep up most days.

No, you were almost never what made this hard.

It was the way I found myself chained to a future I chose to accept, and then had my hopes that were so precariously attached to it decimated by people who didn’t care. And I’m sorry you are and will always be so profoundly affected by that.

Even now, the duty I feel to you makes me grimace, because it’s not what I want for either of us. This wasn’t how this was supposed to go.

And all I can do is hope you forgive me for it some day.