Joy and grief. Clarity and confusion. Ease and difficulty. Twin emotions that came with the birth of our beautiful, amazing twins nearly three years ago. One, a girl, snuggly and often crying, but simple to figure out. The other a boy, born with Down syndrome, squirmy and quiet, hard to hold, host to some odd little traits that needed sorting through – and still do. Now they will turn 3 in a few short months and start preschool programs, flying from the nest, half finished, into a bigger world. Their older sister will start Kindergarten, the first step along the road that only leads further and further away from hearth and home. What I get out of this deal is a little more time to myself, and a new routine for the kids that maybe, just maybe, will make them a little bit less crazy, more in control of their behavior. How do I feel? In a word, ACK!
Elated and freaked out. Happy and so sad. Excited and nervous. Those twin emotions, back again. The children are gaining independence, a wonderful thing. Learning how to survive on their own, without their sometimes overwhelmed mother at their side. But they are so full of life, such fun kids, so innocent, and our lives feel unusually blessed most days. I know in my heart that school will be just what they need, but change is always unsettling. Will we be able to preserve our little cocoon? Will our sweet and sensitive big sis be OK in the rough-and-tumble world of public school? (I’m sure she will, actually). Where did this year go, the year I was supposed to be savoring every moment with the Three Bears and blogging about it?
I’ll tell you where it went: the fall, winter and early spring went by in a blur of sicknesses, hospitalizations and operations, minor ones. Snot and saline spray were my constant companions. It was not pretty. We were trapped inside and I was always on the phone with doctors or nurses or billing offices. I knew it was bad when my 5-year-old proudly showed me a drawing she had made on a big piece of poster board. It was an awesome piece of work, very detailed. The outline of a house, with a wreath outside for Christmas. In the living room, a sofa with three figures on it, big sis in the middle flanked by the twins on either side. They were watching TV. Off to the side, a woman in a dress, talking on a phone. Me, smiling at least.
“Oh,” I cringed as I spoke to her, “is that how you feel? That all you do is watch TV while I talk on the phone? That is so sad!”
“But Mommy,” she replied, pointing to the small square devices they each held in their stick-figure hands, “we each have our own remote controls and we’re watching our own shows! It’s not sad, it’s great!”
That drawing now has pride of place, taped to the wall of our living room. It’s a living reminder of all the twin emotions in our lives — frustration and laughter, getting stymied but making do, falling ill but getting better. Since late spring, we have been freer — less sickness, more time for playdates, strawberry picking, riding bikes, trips to the park or the pool, bowling, lots of ice cream and other treats. The other side of the coin is showing. I like this side. Please don’t flip back again come fall, please, I silently plead.