Happy Thanksgiving to readers in the US!
I have a lot to be thankful for today. My husband is home, and with troops being withdrawn from Iraq, I’m pretty sure he won’t be going back there, although Afghanistan is in his future. My sister is here in the US with her spitfire son, 20 months old. He is my daughters’ only first cousin, and this is their first meeting. No Christmas present could ever beat this gift of time with my loved ones, seeing my girls as amazed (and, I’ll admin, annoyed) by a younger kid following them around as I was by my sister.
My daughter J made the observation that she felt sad for her cousin, because he’d have no brothers or sisters to play with when he returned home. My husband reminded her that most kids are born solo, and many of them don’t have a big brother or sister waiting for them. “We’re lucky!” said J. “We’re lucky to be twins and Oskar and Abel are lucky too!” (Abel and Oskar are Tracey‘s identical four-year-old sons.)
They are lucky to be twins.
I, too, am lucky that our girls are twins. I tend towards perfectionism, and often take responsibility for things that have nothing to do with me. I suspect that if I had had a singleton, I would have considered every success, every milestone, and every personality trait a reflection of my parenting. My mum certainly felt that way about me, and later about my sister.
Instead, I was given the gift of identical twins who are altogether unique, despite sharing DNA, schooling, their home environment, and most experiences. From the start, my daughters showed me that they were people in their own right, and not reflections of my parenting decisions alone.
My twins gave me the gift of perspective, and for that I am most thankful. From the very start, I tried to become the right parent for each of them, rather than trying to turn them into my ideal children. I have seen many of my parent peers agonize over where they’ve gone “wrong,” trying to understand why one child has a speech delay or another is biting her friends. I have also seen parents congratulate themselves for their children’s brilliance in math or unusual athleticism. I am thankful that my girls are who they are. M’s chatterbox nature is hers, and is not because of anything my husband or I did particularly right or wrong. J’s generosity is also her own.
I am thankful to my twins for helping me see them as people in their own right, instead of as reflections of my husband and me.