There’s a distance that seems to be widening as they grow a bit older: five and a half years, to be precise. Like I’m watching from afar, not quite so close. They are doing exactly what they should be doing—what we want them to do—they are growing up.
When I watch him playing buddy baseball at school and he waves to me from afar out in the field, my heart grows 84 sizes.
When she sees me during a park district class and she feels miles away across the big gym, she winks and waves and my heart rockets out of my chest to cling to her.
I’m sitting in a play place right now as I type this and my kids are in the other play area next door doing just fine without me hovering. Twins always have a playmate and it is glorious. GLORIOUS. They stick together and watch out for each other (most of the time). I never thought I’d get to the place where I didn’t have to hover. Where they would be big enough.
But here we are.
I honestly don’t even know where they are right now but I know they’re okay. Can you believe that? Then they run over to check in and get some water and are off again.
She calls me over with a wave and a smile and a “Mama come watch!” to have me see what she is working on. The play place has this pretty amazing American Ninja Warrior like course set up and these kids are in heaven. In the last couple weeks, on exactly the same day, they both made it across the monkey bars for the first time. Every day, for the last school year, they tried. They tried and fell. And fell and fell and fell. They inspire me with their endless ability to fall and get back up again.
But one day recently they didn’t fall. They made it across. Twins, man. On the same day. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. One after the other, they are masters. They are strong and confident and unswayed by the falling. They fall and get back up. My boy got some good blisters on his little hands yesterday and was so so sad to have to miss out for the rest of the time at the playground, but he knows he’ll be back up there again in no time.
That look from across a crowded playground or just across our family room tells me they are crazy about me and they know without a doubt that they are my everything.
When they ask me to teach them how to do a cartwheel, I grin, panic, catch my breath and say, “Okay, next time we are at the park and there is room.” When that time comes and I wonder if I still have a cartwheel in this 45-year-old body, I hold on for dear life and just DO IT. They watch me without blinking. It shows me muscles I didn’t know I still had and it hurts in places I hadn’t given a thought to in years. And it feels GOOD. This stretching ourselves. So I keep doing it.
They try it over and over and over. With a wink and a wave, we are in this together.
That is the difference between babies and little big kids. We are in this together. This teamwork and reasoning.
This is mothering little big kids.
This is a sweet spot. They want to cuddle and be my babies and yet they want to do everything by themselves. My girl wants to dress herself completely and my boy says, “I want you to do it mama” and I oblige him because they are 5. It won’t be like this forever.
I haven’t wiped a bottom in about two months. They wake up and help each other all the while with their endless banter that I hear as a whisper from downstairs. This morning there wasn’t any extra toilet paper and Bubby had to come down and get more for his sister who was upstairs yelling, “GAH WHERE ARE YOU?” “I AM COMING BEBE”, their old married couple status solidified as we are endlessly entertained at 6 a.m.
This summer before they start all-day kindergarten feels oh-so precious. Like the ending of their little littleness. Every day I want to find something special to mark this passing of time. But perhaps the most important way to mark it is to recognize exactly where we are. Whether sitting on the couch or out on an adventure, we are soaking it all up.
I still cannot believe they are here. We are here. That these babies have somehow gone through being babies and toddlers and are now well on their way to becoming big kids. But not yet. I am still mothering little big kids. And it is delightful.
They hold my hand and give me all kisses and hugs and point me out to say, “That’s our mama!” as they wink and wave and I turn into a ghost and fly right up into the ether from cuteness and love.
Had you asked me five years ago, when they were 6 months old, if I’d ever get to a place where I felt like I could sit on my own and write while they played by themselves happily, safely and contentedly, I would’ve said, YOU MUST BE MAD. But today I know.
I am here to tell moms of multiples in particular that it gets better. It gets so so so much better. You get to feel like a person who has full use of her own body and hands and the ability to say GO PLAY – meaning by themselves (but oftentimes together which is also great) and you get to do your own thing.
The way she so effortlessly makes friends with other girls – that’s a whole post in itself – it’s beautiful and the sweetest thing when these little girls smile at each other. The way she introduces her brother to other kids around them to make sure he is included because as confident as he is he oftentimes thinks other kids don’t like him. They do not need me to make introductions any longer. They don’t need me to facilitate connection any longer because they are doing it themselves and it is astounding to watch.
This is all equal parts incredibly sad and cause for raucous celebration. All the damn feelings. That whole roots and wings nonsense, you understand.
It seems we may never ever ever escape from the non-stop neediness of two babies all day long and then it becomes quiet for just a few minutes too long and….
WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T NEED ME. I don’t know what to do without the chaos. I love the chaos. Kindergarten is going to be hard. For me.
*pauses writing for one second because they want me to watch them jump into the squishy ball pit* AHA! YES!
He winks at me from across the room and I am a puddle. She waves to me from the top of the stairs and I melt.
But as much as I wouldn’t go back to them being babies because MY GOD BABY TWINS ARE NOT FUN, there are things I do miss. I do not miss the double crying so hard all day every day and just counting the seconds until my husband got home from work. I don’t miss losing my cool so often I would often times scare myself with my reaction to them and need to place them in their car-seats out on the balcony of our building (they were plenty safe—safer than around me in those moments) just to walk away and cry and gain my composure again before bringing them back in.
Actually nope. There isn’t really much I miss about them being babies.Twin babies are HARD. But you just do what you need to do and one day you look up and your five year olds are washing the strawberries and pouring the cereal and having conversations about politics like 45 year olds and IT IS GOOD. This is a sweet spot.
There are about five other twin families here today—with toddlers—and they all look at me like, HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT YOU ARE SITTING THERE NOT HOVERING and I talk with all of them after my kids run back off to play more and assure them that it gets better. Because it does. One day they too will enjoy their coffee and moments of independence. They will indeed!
I never thought I would say this but it is indeed going awfully fast. I can find solace in the fact that today I am actually sitting in a play place, SITTING in a play place with a coffee and my laptop and I am writing while they are playing on their own. Without my constant attention or fearing for their lives or the safety of others around them.
A little wink meant just for me. Those little hands scanning the room for my face, that light in their eyes as they find it and then wave. I am mothering little big kids now. But as I glance up over my laptop I see a little face—one of my little faces—and with just a little wink or a wave, I know they still need me. And that’s not going away any time soon.
Every day this summer, I am soaking up their littleness. Their amusement and enjoyment of all things little. They LOVE hanging out with me and I have never had so much fun in my life. Today is my favorite. Even on the hard, trying, testing all my patience days, this is a life beyond my wildest dreams and I’m so grateful and in awe of this life and these two kids who show me each day how to be in the moment, be courageous and just have fun. This—this—is my happy, joyous and free.