Declan’s New "Brother"

We met Jeff almost exactly one month after our wedding. I remember it, because it was a concert put on by local indie station 93.3 and there was band after band playing at Fiddler’s Green as we sat and baked in the hot sun all day. We were married 13 years ago, so Jeff has been integral in our lives for over a dozen years, while Fiddler’s Green has gone through several name changes till it finally came back around to, you guessed it, Fiddler’s Green.

Enter Danielle. We all met her through the same set of mutual friends although not at the same time. Jeff and Danielle were friends first, and then more, and then married. Married, in fact, almost exactly two weeks before Declan’s birth. I remember it, because I waddled around during their reception at the Botanic Gardens in a bright purple dress – the only thing I could find to cover my huge stomach – and the photos from that day are the last ones from me being pregnant, since Declan surprised us by coming 8 weeks early in mid-September.

Since then, Jeff and Danielle have been family. They are guardians to Declan if anything ever befalls us. But more important than the big stuff, there is the little stuff.

They put band-aids on boo boos. The fed him. They changed diapers. They babysat and babysat and BABYSAT. We spend holidays together. We take vacations together. [And regarding the later, let me tell you – 4 on 1 defense is an EXCELLENT way to go.] We have all told Declan that if there is something he can’t talk to Bryan or me about, clearly Jeff and Danielle are his shoulders to cry on.

And while I know they love their relationship with Declan, it’s not the same as having your own child. Which can sometimes be a hard road. A road that takes unexpected turns, has hills and bumps, and is LONG.

Enter Grayson.

This is the 15 month old little boy that Jeff and Danielle are in the process of adopting. They have been doing visitation as a transition, and they had him overnight for the first time this past weekend. Everyone involved agreed it would be good for him to come with them to our summer party, and see how things go. Because some parts of the journey with Grayson won’t be easy. But, what I could see, as I kneeled down in the grass next to him for the first time and looked at a smile that lit up my whole backyard, was a whole lot of AWESOME. My eyes filled with tears for the effort and pain that lead to this moment. And they spilled over thinking about the amazing adventure our best friends were embarking on. And how wonderful it will be to put band-aids on this child’s boo-boos. And to feed him. And change his diapers. And babysit and babysit and babysit.

And watch Declan grow up with him.

We won’t have any more children, and chances are Jeff and Danielle won’t either. For lack of a better term, Grayson is Declan’s little brother.

When I asked Declan yesterday what his favorite part of the party was, he immediately answered, “playing with Grayson.”

They’re already on their way.

This article has 34 comments

  1. Suzanne

    That is awesome, Aimee.

    Sometimes, the family we create is far better than the one we’re born into. Enjoy the new addition to your family-Grayson’s a lucky kid!

  2. heidi daisybones

    Oh, Suzanne said it perfectly! This is wonderful news for everyone:)

  3. Karianna

    Oh, so wonderful – on so many levels.

  4. zipper

    Congrats to them!

  5. Anonymous

    That is wonderful! It brought tears to my eyes.
    Diane C.

  6. Meghann

    Congrats to them on their new son! How awesome. My best friend made a similar journey, and now has a beautiful daughter through adoption.

    p.s.-I’ve done the 4 on 1 thing with vacation, although the other way around. People think I’m insane, but I regularly go on vacations alone with my 4 kids. Lol!

  7. monstergirlee

    What amazing news! I am so happy for Jeff and Danielle – and Declan too. Yay.

  8. Anonymous

    What a lovely tribute to a wonderful couple! – m

  9. Tree

    I am bawling. Seriously.

    Congratulations to all six of you! I am thrilled for J&D and feel as if I know them as well as you do, Aimee. And I know it is going to be quite an adventure ahead for all of you.

  10. chloebear

    My eyes are welling up with tears as I read this. People are going to think someone died. I seriously can’t believe I am lucky enough to have you in my life. Thank you so much for such a lovely, hearfelt post.
    Love you

  11. BethanyWD

    AWWW. That is so sweet – and AMAZING for them. (PS. My son’s name is Grayson, too, and I love “meeting” others with the same name.)

  12. J at

    Love this. Congrats to them on their beautiful little boy. May they have joyous good times together.

  13. Lauren

    Loved this post! What an amazing extended family you have!

  14. LemonySarah

    Grayson’s adorable. No doubt Declan will love being big brother and teaching Grayson some of the fab American Idol moves he showed me!

  15. Erin

    That is so fantastic!

  16. Elaine E

    I cried after reading this. I’m so happy for Danielle and Jeff and for you and Brian. But I’m really happy for Grayson who seems to be getting two sets of loving parents. Congratulations to all of you.

  17. mayberry

    What a wonderful, beautiful story! Congratulations to Jeff, Danielle, and Grayson!

  18. Laura

    This made me bawl, too! Congratulations to your friends. That’s awesome.

  19. Sizzle

    Okay that is just too adorable for words.

  20. Angela

    So amazing!!!

  21. Adventures In Babywearing

    Oh how special… and I love his name- I have a Grayson!


  22. fruitlady

    Hooray and congrats to everyone! He is so cute I can’t wait to snuggle him up!

  23. Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children

    This made me cry, I don’t even know them, but I’m so happy for them! How exciting!

  24. Nat

    He is all kinds of awesome. How can you not love a face like that…

    Wonderful news for all involved..

  25. Aimee estes

    jeff and Danielle,
    what a lucky little boy to be getting you as parents!!!!! I am so happy for you guys! I am sure the road the far has been challenging and difficult but all worth it when he arrives home. I can’t wait for you to experience all the firsts of parenthood. some will be easy and exciting and others will be heart wrenching….but all worth it. u are about to ride the emotional roller coaster called parenthood!!!!!
    It was a very emotional post to read!!!!! I know Aimee will keep us all posted!
    take care,
    Aimee Estes

  26. Mamma

    Oooh ooooh oooooh Those cheeks!!!

    I’m so happy for all of you and your newest family member.

  27. Ashleigh

    Awwww. So cute.

    Declan will be a great big bro.

  28. PunditMom

    That is such great news. PunditGirl entered our lives through adoption, as well! Mazel tov for all your family!

  29. MB

    total awesomeness.

  30. Julie @ The Mom Slant

    Now I’m all soggy again. Where are my sunglasses?

    Love this post. Love that Jeff and Danielle are parents now too.

  31. kristin

    so beautiful. and wonderful that you have such kinship with greta friends. congrats to all of you. and grayson is one lucky little boy.

  32. Lavender Luz

    Congrats to the whole lot of you on becoming a family and an extended family. So happy for Jeff and Danielle!

  33. Shel

    You are an awesome writer. You had me feeling everything. Congratulations to the new addition…he’s as adorable as Declan.

  34. laurie

    Aimee, this is awesome. This is (selfishly) every dream I have about a family coming to me someday through some miracle of timing and meant-to-be, just writ very differently in the lives of your friends and you.

    It’s so cool. I’m so happy for them – and for you and Bryan that you have these people in yours and Declan’s lives. As weird as it can be, sometimes life is really good. xo.

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