Having had two sets of twins so close in age, I still feel a sense of sadness that for so much of their early years I was in survival mode–just trying to keep up with the demands of four children under the age of two. Everyone was relatively healthy and seemingly happy, but I somewhat grieved that I was just barely keeping up with basic needs. And, I can still be brought to tears when I think of Luke and Will (the second set of twins) as babies. My memories of that time with them is almost blank.
My husband would often sing that country song, “You’re gonna miss this” to me to emphasize that all of this would pass and I would miss it. But, I felt like I was constantly looking for the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel when preschool and then elementary school would start and I could finally breathe.
And then things actually were getting easier.
At this point, I was seeing that proverbial light. . .all of the children were potty trained and showing increasing degrees of independence. There were actual period of time where they’d play together and I could “get something done.” I’d even bought a serger so that I could nurture a hobby or two.
And then we became pregnant with Dylan.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that after the disbelief there were many tears of realization. I felt like I was playing the game of Sorry where I was “almost HOME” and then. . .sent back to START. And, don’t get me started on how I tortured myself and Scott with the question, “Do you realize how old we’ll be when he graduates from HIGH SCHOOL?”
Ironically, I couldn’t see that this was my chance to embrace a babyhood with the attention and devotion that I thought I failed to provided the other four. I could finally be the mother who could breastfeed, cloth diaper, nurture a baby without the chaos of four toddlers.
A dear friend, who also was of “advanced maternal age” when she became pregnant with her sixth baby, related to my tears and frustrations and feelings of fear (really, wasn’t that what I was feeling?). She had difficulty acknowledging her pregnancy–even up to the ninth month. While the first year was fraught with the challenges of this little person, she said that as the baby grew so did her love and her appreciation that this person came into her life.
I too had a change of heart after this little boy appeared on our scene–ok, maybe it was after the collicky period subsided. We see a person who needed to be born. We see a personality that is bursting out of his two year old body. We learned that embracing the unexpected means accepting a gift that you didn’t even know you needed or wanted.