Three years ago today, I was giddy with the excitement of finding out whether my second pregnancy would bless us with a boy or a girl. Anxiously I lay on the table, waiting for the tech to get a good view of the baby. My husband stood by my side, and my mother sat on a chair across the room.
I still remember, with a flutter in my heart, looking at the screen and seeing that something was not quite right. What were those two round things, floating on the screen? Even I knew that wasn't what a normal ultrasound should look like.
A moment later, the ultrasound tech spoke those heart-stopping words: There are the two heads.
Of course, she didn't mean I was having a two-headed baby (although, in the panic, the thought spent a fleeting moment in my mind.)
Rather, it was our first introduction to the lives of twins.
Two darling little beings to love and cherish.
(And yell at and chase down the driveway as they run away from me.)
A few months after that day, our family of three became a family of five. Keira came home with me, Colin spent 14 days in the NICU. I was overjoyed the day he came home and the twins were once again reunited, but at the same time, I was completely overwhelmed. The crying, oh the incessant crying of those first few weeks, two babies screaming in tandem for what felt like forever. Two parents physically in one house, yet mentally miles apart due to sleep deprivation and the raw need for survival. The mantra, this too shall pass, repeat in my head. At one point, I considered tattooing my arm, so that I would see it and remind myself that they can’t cry forever. Could they? Double diaper leaks, double illnesses, double everything. Add in a two year old, and it was like tripling the chaos. Three kids in diapers, three kids who needed to be fed, bathed, changed, and put to bed. Collapsing into my own bed when the day was done, only to get up with the sun the next morning and begin again. Throw in a full-time job, a husband as well, a house to maintain, a cat to care for – and I felt like my life was on a tilt-a-whirl.
But as I came precariously close to the edge, I realized I wasn’t supposed to fight this chaos, this craziness, this complete lack of control. I had to learn to embrace what was around me. Embrace those sweet little children who look to me for what they need. Embrace the smiles and the laughs and the tears and the screams. The fact that there is yogurt on the floor, the time my daughter lotioned up her legs with mashed potatoes, the son who tried to wash the cat with wipes, the screaming at diaper changes, the yelling (at them) when they all start jumping on the couch together, the biting, the hitting, the closeness, the bond, the happiness, the smiles, that deep hearty laugh they do when you tickle them… all of those things must be embraced to really appreciate this life.