Next week, my little monkeys will be ONE! That one saying is so true. What is it again? The days go slowly, but the weeks and months fly by, or something like that? The other night my husband and I were watching photos float by on a slideshow from the past year. While it’s impossible to adequately describe the first year with twins, a few of these moments help summarize the roller coaster.
Photo: both 8-week-old babies are in just a diaper, passed out on my husband, who is also asleep. My son’s arm is draped over the face of my daughter, whose mouth is wide open. Everyone looks exhausted. I recall this night in particular, because it was taken at the end of the first night we decided to “try” one of us going out for a few hours during the “witching hour.” This witching hour was so very real in our house between about 5 weeks-13 weeks or so. This particular night they started crying about 10 minutes after my husband left the house (of course), and they seemed to ratchet each other higher and higher on the scale of hysteria for the next 45 minutes until I called him, beckoning him home. I still have no idea what got them so upset, but it was one of those nights where I needed to put them each in their crib and walk away for a good 3-5 minutes because I truly did not know how to calm them. Eventually they stop crying for just as mysterious of reasons as why they started. I still feel shell shocked by those first few months with two infants. I can almost still feel the anxiety, counting the time until I’d need to go pump or breastfeed two babies again, or feel the burn in my sleep-deprived eyes.
Photo: taken after a bath, and the babies were laying side by side, and my son reached out and was touching my daughter on the arm. She smiled back at him. They were about 5 months old and it was taken on our first trip (see also: only) with the kids. (We really took on the challenge of a first vacation with infant twins: Cold weather. Over Christmas. Staying at high altitude. Attempting to take turns to go skiing.) It wasn’t likely the first time they connected like that, but I do think it was the first one we caught on camera. It captures the hope that I have for a close relationship between them and the warmth I feel in my heart when I see the connection between them.
My heart aches and is filled with gratitude simultaneously when I see the photo of my son smiling, holding a small box of cheerios in a hospital gown, the morning after our first night (and, hopefully, only for a very long time) in the hospital a few weeks ago after he took a bad fall and sustained a head injury. We spent the night saying prayers that all would be okay, while we realized the vicarious pain one can feel for their child, as a parent. Seeing this photo, even just a few weeks after, makes me so grateful that he is okay. I’m almost equally as fearful of other accidents and illnesses that no doubt lie down the road for us as a family. I was warned about how you experience pain when your children hurt, but it is truly something you cannot understand until going through it.
Photo: my daughter standing, holding onto the collar of our 8-year-old pitbull-boxer mix makes me giggle. I remember coming around the corner and catching her standing there with our dog, who patiently sat and let our daughter examine her “necklace.” Mind you, she cannot walk yet, so this means she crawled over and pulled herself up on our dog’s collar. Her fascination with jewelry has begun early, as has her love of feeding this doggy all her vegetables. This photo captures the delight and fascination I feel as I watch these kids discover their world and learn new skills every day. It’s incredible to watch them stand for the first time, or make a new sound and see their faces light up with pride.
And, that has been the emotional cycle of the past 12 months: Exhaustion, Joy, Fear, Fascination, or some derivative of these feelings. I truly wish I could stop time for a day or at least an hour to really reflect on the ways life has changed and motherhood has changed me in the last year. But, for now, a post like this will have to do.
Katie has b/g twins that will be one next week. She lives in Chicago and balances full-time work, being a mom and training for a sprint triathlon for which she regrets signing up.