On Monday my twin girls will turn three. I have been a mommy for three years. And this sounds like a big old cliche, but it feels impossible that it's been this long, and at the same time impossible that it's only been three years.
When the girls were born my mom said this to me about parenting: "The years are short and the days are long." Abso-freaking-lutely.
Here is my little, sappy birthday message to my babies:
O., you were my first baby. By four minutes. Daddy saw you first. I was on the table, frozen from the chest down. Daddy and I were chatting as the doctors worked away on the other side of the drape. And then Daddy said: "Whoa." It wasn't a yell, or a whoop. It was "whoa." Like, a statement, as in, whoa... our whole world just flipped and yet, we are the same, and we are together, and now you are here too. When Daddy said: "Whoa" I said; "what?" I honestly wondered what he was reacting to. My pregnancy had been tough on me emotionally and mentally, and I think a little part of my pregnant brain had convinced me that there weren't really babies in there. When I turned to see what the whoa was all about the doctor was holding you up so we could see you. And I felt a little shift. When I laid eyes on you, O., I knew that my life was no longer about me and Daddy. My life now included this baby. You were calm when you made your entrance. Which is hardly a word I would use to describe you now. And you were breathtaking. The nurses said: "She's beautiful!" Which, of course, they say to all the parents. But, man. MAN. You were. And you still are. The common wisdom of the day is that we should all, we parents of girls, be constantly resisting the enormous societal pressure to make females feel that how they look is the most important thing about them. And it is so true. And you are so much more. You are as smart as a whip, you are complicated, and fast, and crackling with energy. But I just can't deny that you are GORGEOUS. You are stunning. Daddy and I have said to each other that we love how your beauty is tempered by your tendency to be so damn goofy. You love to dance, you love all your toys but you love Elmo the best. You love your aunties and uncles. There are times when your whole body vibrates because you are so filled with electric energy and love and empathy. Sometimes I worry that Z. gets more press than you do on Facebook and such, because she tends to SAY funny things, and you just are funny, which is harder to transcribe. You always make the toys have really involved conversations with each other, and when there are no toys around you take strands of my hair and make them talk to each other. And your empathy and caring are so, so perfect. You don't like anyone to feel bad and you say: "You okay?" a million times a day. You love positive reinforcement for yourself and for others. When you pee in the potty you say: "oh, really good job, O.!" You climb everything, and no matter how many times we YELL at you not to, you love throwing stuff down the stairs. You love when I read you stories, and when I stop all the other nonsense like housework and go play with you in the toy room. You love animals but hate when dogs bark. You are a very sensitive soul, and are as kind as can be to everyone. You are shy in public, but at home you are an uninhibited performer. You dance and dance and sing and hug. You made me a mommy, baby O. You were my first baby, and I love you so much. So much. So, so much.
Z., when they held O. up in the hospital I was confused and thrilled and changed. When they held you up it was a tiny bit different. I had been given a lot of drugs, so I was kind of spacey. But you made a bit more sense to me because you looked like every baby ever born in my side of the family. You looked like your cousin Ja. especially. You looked kind of annoyed to have been so rudely ripped from your warm spot inside of me, and, frankly, kinda pissed off. I sensed a kindred spirit in you when I saw the grumpy. When they held you up I knew I was now a mommy to two babies. And you were my baby baby, my youngest. I am the youngest in my family, too. And so is Uncle D,. and Uncle J. We have a lot of youngests, so we all kind of get each other. The nurses told us how perfect you are, as if we didn't know. In the hospital (we were there for a week) you were so calm and quiet we were sure we had a laid back little zen baby. But now that you are three I can say you are NOT laid back. You are a very confident little kid. You are beautiful, just like your sister, of course. But the thing that kills me the most about you, Z. is how damn funny you are. Not only are you one of the funniest kids I know, you are one of the funniest people I know, full stop. You walk into every social situation like you da man! You love movies, and you can sing like a bird. You endow me and Daddy with characters several times a day: Oh, Hi Miss Hannigan. Oh, hi Elmo, and we are expected to jump into your world, and we do. You are so cute it hurts my eyes to look at you. Your little spirit fills our whole house with infectious fun all day long. You love the computers, especially the ipad. You have your Daddy's love of technology, and you already know how to bring up your favourite apps. You love musicals and sing every song with complete conviction, and on pitch. You love animals. You 're not that into dolls, but all animals thrill you. You have a gift with the baby ponies and all the puppies and other creatures we know. You are so fearless with animals. And with almost everything. You think of yourself as the boss. And if someone else disputes your belief in yourself as the boss, you shrug and move on. You are not easily wounded, but if O. is crying it upsets you deeply. You don't like it when others are upset. You are my baby, and I love you so, so, so much.
Somehow Daddy and I always knew we would have twin girls. We talked about it for years before we finally got you. I am aware every second of the day that I am doubly blessed. People don't think sometimes, and say things like: "I'm so glad I didn't have TWO!" And I, uncharacteristically, don't blast them with my disdain. I got two! TWO! I had one shot, one chance at becoming a mommy, and I got two. I hit the damn jackpot. I didn't just get one beautiful baby when I had you, I got an instant family. Since you arrived I have learned what it means to take FOREVER to get out the door, but I know that having you with me outside is way better than going out alone every time. I now know what it means to never feel rested, or finished housework. I now know what it means to find it more entertaining to watch you watch a movie than it is to watch the movie. I know what it means to love my family so much that I see everything through the soft haze of you. Every second of my life is somehow about you. You two. And, as you turn three, I want to say this above all: Thanks, O. and Z., for showing up. I love you so hard it hurts. But in a really, really good way.
Happy Birthday, Babies. Love, Mumma.