If you would have asked me how life with twins would look nine and a half years ago I quite possibly would have broken down into a pool of tears. The feeling of reality pummeling me in the gut, wrenching my comfortable existence, instantly changing life with one child to three overnight. However, I found this little piece of the world called blogging as my outlet to share the adventure of life with twins by simply posting updates. The updates were a genesis to keep family far and wide up to date on the excitement and novelty of twins, but eventually our tales became so much more than just updates. Stories about how real life happens in the most simplistic to the depths of emotional turmoil that shape who we are and who our children are to become. So far, that is what life with twins – nine years later – has been for The Chad and I.
Looking back on their photos I am just in awe of how much time has passed. The moments captured in a digital state, forever unaltered to that second in our lives. One of my fondest memories is etched into one of my most loathed activities, going to Costco.
I would find myself wandering aimlessly through the clothing section. Not truly shopping for any clothes, I had such a poor self image of myself with the uncomfortable amount of weight I gained from birthing and breast feeding twins. Shopping was a way to escape, escape from being a spectacle, the side show you become by having two infants in tow. Keeping my head down, sporting some scowl but not enough to frighten my babes, I would meander through sections to allow the crowds to dwindle before heading to the check out. Just when I thought the coast was clear and I would make my pathetic attempt to dash with two Costco sized carts filled with my children and groceries I was stopped dead in my tracks. A lovely older woman stopped me, she smiled genuinely and whole heartedly, nodded briefly and said, “Twins? Yes.” Answering for me with her rhetorical line of questioning, I replied tired and defeated with my resounding “yes.”
She touched my arm gently and began to tell me how her twins were now 16. Going on, she told me how beautiful my babies were and that everything will be okay. For the first time I sobbed openly and in front of a complete stranger. She possibly thought I was losing my mind and needed help, but she offered the exact help I needed, words of encouragement. “The first year is always the hardest. When you make it past the first six months and then the second, you know that you will make it. Hang in there,” she said, “just remember to take in the milestones. Six months. One year. Two years. Before you know it they will be in kindergarten.” To which I replied, “Or driving in your case.” We both laughed. Yet in that moment I found a kindred spirit of a woman who struggled as I had. She went on to tell me that her twins were also a second and third child which made life with twins all that more interesting. “Once you make it through the first year, you know you can survive anything,” were her closing words and a reminder that she was now dealing with teenage twins.
To this day I still do not know her name, but she brought me hope in a time where I always felt hopeless, defeated, lost and ever so alone. A beautiful stranger helped me to realize that life with twins was about cherishing the small victories and delighting in the struggle. As her message resonated with me, I found more ways to write on my site about our silly day-to-day, making light of the most boring and average everyday activities, and I found a tribe of women in a multiples group that helped me transition from being afraid to be in public to loving every minute of this crazy life for which God blessed me – my life with twins plus one.
For years they were a package deal. Keeping the two of them together was natural, but we knew that would not last long. Each began to have separate interests and ideas and our goal was to ensure each of them had their own identity and not to ever be known as “twins.” The Chad and I wanted Sous Chef and Little Bitty to share on their own if they were a duo.
Kindergarten was the first year we separated them and I think this was more trouble for us than for them. They each flourished. Finding their own friends, interests, and severing the reliance they had created with one another. Until their birthday came along and we realized the err of our ways when we had to purchase over five dozen cupcakes to treat 56 kindergartners between their two classes. Needless to say, that was the last time we separated them in school. First grade they began to ride the bus to school with big brother. Second grade sometimes one would come home without the other. Today, they protect and watch out for the other. Sometimes tattling, sometimes making sure they stay on the straightened path.
Looking at them you would never guess they are twins; mostly in part they are fraternal but they are so different and yet so similar. Some days I still find myself forgetting they are a “package” deal because they have blossomed into these wonderfully independent humans. Gravitating towards one another in times of need, yet pulling away in the drive for their continued self-sufficiency. Yet they remind me they are a match set because they bicker like an old married couple or are doting on one another in their basic co-dependency. I could not smile any larger, laugh any harder, or love them any stronger.
Although we are only nine years into this life (journey) with twins, The Chad and I could not be more grateful, humbled, blessed, and happy for this time and opportunity. We are eager and excited to see what the future brings as we are venturing into the teen years now with G; the young man is teaching us so much about how to be better parents because we see a great deal of our younger selves in him. Sous Chef and Little Bitty are also very observant, they are watching and learning from The Chad and I and the example their brother sets with his smart choices in an ever influential society. For any twin parents no matter what stage in your multiple parent journey, you are not alone. Everything is normal, as normal can be for life with multiples. Life is fun. Life is crazy. This is our life with twins, nine years later, and to think nine more years later they will be adults.