Having a sibling is exciting news for any child.
While some can be a bit jealous of the attention, most kids wholly embrace the responsibility of being an older guardian.
Sometimes, wanting to have a little brother or sister is something that further encourages other parents to conceive. But what if they can’t?
If Santa would ask Mikey Marotta what kind of gift he wants, he already has something in mind.
And no, it’s not a gaming console, phone, or a mini car. Mikey, according to his parents, would most likely ask for a baby brother.
In fact, Mikey was so ready to become an older brother that he planned far down the road on what they’ll wear as siblings come Halloween. Whenever he gets something new or extra of something, he’d always put them aside and “save” them for his brother.
At one point, he even told his mom to eat buffalo wings because he thought it was the reason he got his ginger hair. And this time, he wants his brother to have the same color as well.
But getting pregnant was not easy.
Jessica and Michael Marotta tried their best to make Mikey’s dreams come true. But their attempts were dulled by fertility struggles. The most difficult part was when Jessica lost a baby in a miscarriage in 2007.
When they felt that their efforts are fruitless, they decided to sit down with Mikey. During one of those heart-to-heart talks, they explained to him that it’s perfectly okay to just be a family of three.
“When Mikey would ask when he was going to get his baby brother, we would explain he may not get one — that some families only have one child and that is OK. He would tear up and say, ‘That’s OK if I don’t get a human brother; I have Dillinger,’ our dog.” Jessica said to TODAY.
But in the summer of 2017, everything changed.
Jessica found out that she was pregnant. But one person is much more excited than both Jessica and Michael. Jessica said that Mikey “teared up and was very happy.” However, the family ran into complications once more.
The baby was diagnosed to have intrauterine growth restriction. The baby had to be delivered via C-section. Then, Mikey spent his days in the NICU.
There, they were able to explain the importance of skin-to-skin contact.
Jessica held Mikey against her skin too when he was younger, so she knows how powerful this could be. So when Mikey was cleared to hug his brother, all sorts of emotions flowed through him.
Every so carefully, Mikey would hold Jake close to his heart. He knew he had the capability to be a big brother and now that he really needed to show that side of himself, Mikey was more than willing.
The two only grew closer since then.
Jessica shared that whenever his little brother would hear his voice, he would turn his head in Mikey’s direction and look for him. Mikey was also the first person Jake ever smiled at.
And Mikey is never ashamed of expressing how much Jake, the greatest gift he could ever ask for, means to him.
“He says things like, ‘You are a part of me and I will never let anything bad happen to you,’” Jessica shared. Mikey also keeps a picture of Jake in his wallet.