Being a parent of twins is extremely challenging. I would say THE most challenging thing I've ever done in my life. And it started early on. My twin pregnancy was far from "easy" pretty much from the moment I peed on the stick that told me I was pregnant. By the time I was about 16 weeks pregnant it just hurt to be alive. Moving hurt. I remember every morning sitting in the bathroom crying to my husband because it hurt to move and I couldn't muster the energy to get in the shower and go to work. Once they were out it was a new kind of challenge. Sleep? Forget it! Nursing a newborn is a round-the-clock job, nursing two of them is utterly exhausting...but well worth it.
As each week, month and year has passed, I can't say that it's gotten easier as I had naively hoped in the beginning. It's just "different." Twins come with unique challenges that never present themselves with singleton children. And when people tell twin parents that they "always wished for twins" we usually cringe because they have no idea what they're talking about.
That said, there are those moments in the life of a twin parent where you are reminded beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have been gifted with something very amazing and very special. I have had many of these moments over the last (almost) 5 years but the two that stand out most to me are the day my girls were born holding my TWO newborn daughters in my arms together...holy shit there REALLY were two in there! And yesterday at preschool graduation. I almost thought my heart would explode with happiness, joy and pride.
This is the second preschool graduation for my girls. Last year wasn't "real", so it didn't have the same impact on me, but this year, they're turning 5 next month and heading off to kindergarten in the fall. The girls have been in separate classes this year which meant separate graduation ceremonies. It was an all-afternoon ordeal. It's the kind of event where you take about a hundred "parent pictures." "Parent pictures" are those that only parents appreciate...you know, where you have 25 different shots of little Johnny signing the months of the year. And you get irritated because Susie's mom keeps sticking her camera up in the air in front of yours and you think you just might have to take her out if she doesn't stop. Yeah, it was like that. And hey, to spazzy little Mikey's mom and dad...can you talk about what to have for dinner AFTER the program?
First up is Heather's class. She is my sweet, darling. She is my compliant, easy child. After everything these kids have been through she seems to be unscathed. Well, if she didn't have potty accidents nearly every day you would think so. The child who is easy doesn't get your attention like the others do and so, they find other ways to get it. I find that on days I love her up extra good she does better than on days when we're all running around harried. Watching her up on stage singing her little heart out was one of the sweetest moments of my entire life...ever. I love my children equally, but there has always been a different connection to this child that I haven't had with my others. While my heart was overflowing with love, I was equally overcome with guilt. Here is this sweet, smart girl, my resilient child standing up on stage wise beyond her years, confident and beautiful.
Next up is Hannah's class. Hannah, along with Brenden, have had the most difficult time adjusting to all the changes in our lives these last 2 years. She has been angry and I can't fix it. When she came out with her arms crossed and her brow furrowed I almost had to laugh...it is so Hannah. But unlike the Mother's Day program, she got up on the stage and sang her little heart out. She did all the signs to every song. I cried a little...I was so proud of how far she has come. I stood in the back signing "proud" to her and watching her light up in response. When the program was over she bee-lined to me in the back of the room...not to my parents seated in the front, not to her dad standing on the other side of the room...to me. She jumped into my arms and squeezed me harder than I think anyone has ever squeezed me before..."I love you mommy." Oh my God! If I die today it's all good.
There are many moments that I am overwhelmed by mommy guilt. I'm not the class parent who is there to help with parties and art projects (and as most everybody who knows me knows, that's really just not me). I'm a workaholic and I throw myself into my business...with the goal of providing my kids a good life, in hopes of giving them more of ME as my business grows and needs less hands-on time from me. I needed yesterday. I needed to see that my girls are thriving and doing just fine. That I haven't "ruined them" by the choices I've made on their behalf. And they proved to me yesterday that they are better than just "fine", they are amazing. Smart, beautiful...and really, really happy.
I needed yesterday. I needed to know that they're okay...that they're better than okay...that they're HAPPY. And they are.