Friday, January 28, 2011

Done My Time

As you would imagine, my friends that fall into the same age category and I are scattered at different stages in our lives, and different degrees of parenting; some remain our parent's children, not yet in the parenting world. At the other end of the spectrum are my friends with teenagers, who have paddled the murky waters of parenting for so long that they just nod in understanding at my struggles. Yet I see in their eyes that they are glad to have that "stage" far behind, and instead can only look forward towards their own reality.

I hate to sound callous, but for me, children younger than my own are merely reminders of how far I have come, and warning of how much I don't want to go back, despite a whiff of desire that seeps into my brain occasionally for my own little boy. If only he could appear as an eager, well-behaved pre-schooler. The thought of midnight feedings, breast engorgement, diapers, potty training...Hell, just the thought of giving birth again steeps my mind with fear and loathing.

I had drinks with an old high school friend that has an 8 month old. He's adorable and sweet and spunky, but listening to her just made me exhausted. Sleepless nights? Check. Incessant colds? Check. Concerns over pre-school vs. day care? Check. Check, Check, Check!

And while on a play date with my college roommate and her 2 1/2 year old daughter, I thought to myself, 'How did I manage with two two-year olds?' I guess the answer is that I just did, and that I'm sooo glad I don't have to do it all over again.

Last week at twin mom book club, one of our members - who has 2 year old twin girls - announced that she was pregnant.

With twins.

The whole room filled with twin moms roared with delight, and collectively sighed with relief that it wasn't us.  I joked with her that I was So Happy for her, but So Glad it wasn't me because "that is my own personal nightmare."

I've done my time.
"Kangeroo care" in the NICU

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Birds of a feather flock together... The conventional advice to any new mom of twins or triplets is to join a moms of multiples club. Just the word 'club' sounds so dispassionate, like French club in high school, when the only prerequisite was enrollment in Francais, and the only benefit was a group picture in the yearbook.

My first moms of multiples club meeting felt awkward and unnatural, sitting in plastic chairs set in a huge circle in donated space in a church, scanning the faces around me for vague familiarity or potential friendship. They all seemed so different from me - did they have the same struggles I was having? Did they have other kids? Did they want more? Did they work full time like I did? Or were they happy to stay at home changing diapers and prepping bottles? I had tunnel vision in terms of these women, because I hadn't yet come to terms with being a twin mom, and I needed to feel a kinship of some sort, besides just the fact that we carried more than one baby in our womb at one time.

Looking back, I think what I really needed from these women was commiseration. Was I the only person in this circle of mothers that cried when I discovered I was carrying two babies? Was I the only one that struggled through my pregnancy, trying to feel thankful instead of terrified and anxious? And was I the only one that viewed my newborn daughters through the clear plastic incubators without emotion?

Was I the only one that was depressed and didn't know it?

Three years after abandoning the detached circle of twin and triplet mom faces, I was adopted into a twin mom book club, and seeing them each month swells my heart with companionship and a blissful understanding of what I went through; what we have all been through.

What strikes me now about the women in my book club is how very different we are from each other. And how accepting. There's no judgement when one of us is telling a story, or sharing a feeling. Sometimes I need not even finish a sentence before their silent understanding washes over me.

At our last meeting, when the mulled wine had been devoured, the zucchini soup sat cold on the stove, and our mouths were tired from speaking, we packed up to go home. Christine, my dear friend since junior high, looked at me and commented that I looked good; I was glowing. I looked at her inquisitively. We giggled as she said, "I know you're not pregnant" (no, indeed!) She and I have both struggled with depression, although her path has been much more arduous, fighting it for years longer than I, and to a severity unbeknownst to me.

As I pulled out of her driveway, I knew.

There is nothing more powerful than to be understood. Truly understood.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

You're My Everything

You're a falling star
You're the getaway car
You're the line in the sand
When I go too far

You're the swimming pool
On an August day
And you're the perfect thing to say

And you play it coy
But it's kinda cute
Oh when you smile at me
You know exactly what you do

Baby don't pretend
That you don't know it's true
'Cause you can see it
When I look at you

And in this crazy life
And through these crazy times
It's you, it's you
You make me sing
You're every line
You're every word
You're everything

You're a carousel
You're a wishing well
And you light me up
When you ring my bell

You're a mystery
You're from outer space
You're every minute of my every day

And I can't believe
That I'm your man
And I get to kiss you baby
Just because I can

Whatever comes our way
We'll see it through
And you know
That's what our love can do

And in this crazy life
And through these crazy times
It's you, it's you
You make me sing
You're every line
You're every word
You're everything

And in this crazy life
And through these crazy times
It's you, it's you
You make me sing
You're every line
You're every word
You're everything

You're every song
And I sing along
'Cause you're my everything
Yeah, yeah

Michael Buble' 

I used to croon this song to my infant daughters strapped in their car seats, willing myself to believe the words - that my daughters had become my everything; that they were all I needed. 

Last month, at my office holiday dinner, our new administrative assistant remarked that she would have never imagined that I didn't always want kids because of my utter love for them. I told her that I used to mock women that had babies to give them purpose in life. I wanted my purpose to be ME... 

Alas, now that I have children, they are my reason for living. 

The four women that make up my office each represent a different decade in regards to age; 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's. The 3 eldest have very different stories to tell of the circumstances on our journeys to becoming a parent. 

Caprice, in her 40's, does not mince words when she tells us that Kat - her brilliant, gorgeous daughter - now a distinguished member of the elite Marine Corps band and her best friend in the whole world, was "the best mistake she ever made". 

We all nod our heads in agreement. 

Ah, but it was not always like this. It was not always Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice, as the nursery rhyme goes. 

The good things in our lives never come easy, do they? Most of us work our fingers to the bone for the good things in our lives. I never should have expected that parenting would be easy, just like marriage isn't easy, nor is dieting or friendships or... 

For years, I had a quote from Rose Kennedy on my fridge, given to me by my step-mom after a heart wrenching breakup that changed the course of my life; 

"I have always believed that God never gives a cross to bear larger than we can carry." 

I never really understood the quote until I learned that she outlived only four of her nine children. 

I never fully comprehended the quote until I crawled out of depression. 

Worth every minute.... 

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