Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Seven years of twins

Girls freak me out. They scare me. They make me nervous. I've never been really comfortable around girls even though I grew up with three sisters. Let's be honest - they are drama. They are whiny. They are sensitive (a quality I feel I was born without). That's why I was scared as hell seven years ago, when I was staring at the O.R. ceiling of the hospital, open legged and about to give birth to TWO girls.
I was the mother of a 2-year-old boy then and all I wanted was another boy. I wanted my son to have a playmate.
God thought he needed more. That, or he thought I needed more stretch marks.

I remember my heart racing as the first emerged at 1:03 p.m. She screamed hard and her scrinchy face reminded me of someone I knew. She was the spitting image of her brother. I was in love.
Quicker than 13 minutes should feel, I was pushing out a second little 5-lb baby, another amazing little face that made me wonder how I ever lived without her.
I could tell that day would change us, and it did. From that day on, we were hooked. Especially their daddy. Those girls could ask their daddy for anything and he would cave. I am anticipating matching ferraris for their 16th birthdays - I'm telling you he won't be able to say no.

Mia was grouchier those first few weeks and months and Tèa was the dream baby who never fussed. Mia cried like a teenager with heartbreak. Tèa laughed and giggled with bananas stuck to her face 90 percent of the day. Mia learned to walk first, ripping ornaments off the Christmas tree at 10 months and running like hell. Tèa was happy to crawl after the dog and have staring contests with her brother. Mia spent the first year of her life trying to bite her sister's arm off. Tèa would poop at every inopportune time or place, usually when I was out somewhere without a diaper or wipes. We had to warn anyone attempting to give her a bath - she'd drop one in there every time. I even recall hosing her off at a park once when she obliterated her pants halfway through a neighborhood stroller walk.
Baby A & B - love at first sight

With each birthday, I look at their baby books and wonder where the time is going. The hours lag, it seems but the years fly. They are two completely different personalities, not one thing is the same except for their brown eyes. Every year they grow to like each other more and I hear them tell each other they are "BFFs."
People always say, "I bet having twins is so fun."
Yes, I suppose constant noise, a saggy belly and tired boobs could be fun...
It's more work, mess and exhaustion with a little bit of competition mixed in there too.
They say if you can get through the first year with twins you'll be ok. Well, we made it to seven today. Those little faces I was so scared of seven years ago are the same beautiful faces that scare the hell out of me today.
They are drama, they are whiny and somedays they drive me and each other nuts - but they are the best two girls that have ever walked into my life. Happy Birthday sweet girls!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A tragedy we should never forget

Every year for the past four years on Dec. 14, I have said a prayer for the parents of 20 children I don't know and have never met. I vowed for the rest of my life on Dec. 14, that I will always pray for them on that day.

Four years ago today mothers just like me - fathers just like my husband - sent their kids off to school without a second thought, maybe even without a kiss or a hug. Those parents never realized what terror awaited them that day and how their children would be taken from them in such a monstrous, horrific way. The parents of children shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary never saw it coming.

Sandy Hook victim, via People Magazine
Four years ago my oldest son was the same age as the children they lost that day. My twins are 6 now, the same age as those children lost that day. My husband and I sent our son off to kindergarten that day and went Christmas shopping for our kids. We had their little homemade Christmas wishlists to Santa in hand, imagining the happiness on their faces come Christmas morning, when they unwrapped new bikes, dolls and Spiderman toys. Those parents had that happiness ripped out from under them and their Christmas memories would forever be nightmares of this tragedy instead.

Seeing the news of that day and what evil existed in the world to enable a massacre of 20 innocent children and several teachers made me so sick to my stomach and caused a pain in my heart that was indescribable. The scary part was the realization that if it could happen at all, it could have happened here, to my children, in my corner of the world. I kept thinking how they had to explain, probably to other children or siblings, about what happened. I couldn't imagine the gut wrenching task of telling my children about the horrors that took place inside that school. I couldn't wrap my head around the pain of losing a child that young, and actually having to live with that pain every day after. Every year I wonder how they can carry on and get through another Dec. 14.

Tragedies come and go. Life goes on and people tend to forget. We sometimes forget about horrific events we read about in the paper or online. We live with our blinders on. We do the stuff that gets us through another day. Sometimes I forget or am too hurried to give my children hugs and kisses in the shuffle and chaos of our morning routine. I don't laugh when they laugh, because I'm too "busy" folding laundry. I don't giggle when they put bubbles on their face in the bathtub because I'm preoccupied with wiping bathwater from the floor. I get aggravated and annoyed at some of the things my kids do. I spank and yell at them too much.

But every Dec. 14, I think of those parents whose children aren't there for them to kiss and hug, to laugh with, and even to aggravate or annoy them. Every Dec. 14 I look at my son and realize those parents never got to see their child at this age. I feel so much sadness in that thought. I pray not just for peace and comfort for them and their families, but for all parents, that we don't lose sight of our own miracles - the simple gift of being able to have, to see, to hug and love our children every day.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The 'Christmas Cheer' Fail

I got a gold star today.

The thing is, I'm miserable about it because I absolutely didn't deserve it.

Today was not a banner day for this mom. I made the "Mommy Dearest" lady look like Florence Henderson. I scolded. I swore. I spanked. I time-outed. I told my kids they were terrible and that they didn't appreciate anything and didn't deserve anything. Ouch, I know.

The kids had off school today, and we know that every normal mother just takes their kids ice skating or does a fun holiday craft, right? Well, I'm not a normal mother, sadly. Nope, I promised myself I was going to take my kids out into the world to do good today. We were going to spread some Christmas Cheer to somebody whether or not it killed us. I was determined to make people happy today. Ha! I'm one of those great moms teaching my kids what the holidays are all about!

Yeah, no, it turns out I'm not.

The tension began in the morning when my 4-year-old didn't want to wear a coat... and it's 25 degrees out. I spanked her for not getting her coat and shoes on and not getting in the car when she was told. Meantime, the other kids were whining about having to get in a cold car, mumbling about why they have to go anywhere and why they can't just stay in jammies and play iPads. The yelling continued down the driveway as I told them we were going to surprise some unsuspecting people today with Christmas Cheer so put on a happy face! I didn't really have a plan, but I couldn't tell that to four cranky kids at 9 a.m. on their day off from school.

My good intentions led me to Dunkin Donuts, where of course, munchkins are born —and what poor stranger could refuse delicious, free munchkins from a cheery mother and her ever-so-chipper children? Well, today it would have to be all the strangers, because the f-ing registers were down, so I left Dunkin empty handed. But hey, no computer glitch can squash my Christmas spirit! I headed to Panera on my quest to do good, all the while yelling at the children to behave, don't move, stay here, don't touch, get out of people's way!

We left with as many hot coffees as I could hold and a dozen bagels... and a mocha latte for me that fell on my lap two seconds after I got the kids, bagels and myself into the car. Now I'm cursing at myself, and this pea coat I have to wash, and I don't know how to wash shit —and do pea coats even go in the wash? I don't know, I'll worry about it later because I have Christmas Cheer to spread!

My plan was to drive to a place where they take donations for less fortunate because I see old men with all their belongings sitting on that street bench. Maybe they'd like to have a hot coffee? But I get lost navigating one-way streets and couldn't find it. I get frustrated when one of the twins says she thinks we're driving in circles. The other one asks if they can be done yet with Christmas Cheer. I find myself back on the interstate going the wrong way, yelling at the kids in the rear view mirror that they need to shut up while I'm driving or we're going to end up in Columbus if I can't turn around.

Ok, yep, now we're in downtown Cincinnati. The kids are unbuckled and tattling about who is touching who and one of the twins is laying across the back trying to kick her brother in the face. I scream for them to shut up and just look for somebody with a cardboard sign. Please, for the love of God, homeless people, show yourselves! 

I tell the kids, "look how cold it is outside!" and "aren't you glad you have a house, and heat and clothes and food to eat?" I tell them how terrible it would be to not have a family or a job to keep you busy all day. My son tells me he likes the sound of that. At this point, at least four of the Christmas Cheer bagels have been eaten. I couldn't find a homeless person right now if my life depended on it —and it does because if anyone has driven with a distracted me, they know that a seatbelt and a prayer are their only bets for living right now.

We spend what feels like a Minnesota winter driving around downtown. My youngest has no coat, socks or shoes on and is crying I think because her brother breathed on her. I see a homeless person, I think, wearing a puffy, navy coat and has a backpack. Please, God don't just be a Proctor & Gamble associate out here on a coffee break. No - wait - he's clearly peeing on a concrete barrier - yes! He's homeless! I circle the block so he can zip up. The kids want to know if they can get out too, and give our guy some Christmas Cheer. Hell no, I tell them, are you crazy, it's freezing and dangerous in the city! I park near the corner, grab my bag of bagels and a coffee and lock the kids in the car. I approach him like I've just arrived with a Publishers Clearing House check and this shit's going to change his world. After I gave him a couple bagels and a coffee, he mumbled a thank you and went on his way.

This cheer crap is hard, I think. The kids feel the same. They have now officially lost it in the backseat and everyone wants out. It’s as if the last 25 minutes in the minivan has been a Shawshank Redemption for them. I can't get anyone to listen to me or stop whining or complaining. I start telling them about how happy I would've been to go on a ride when I was little, how excited I would have been to NOT be in school, on this adventure! They better be good, or I'm taking away Christmas presents, I yell at them. I've taken away their dessert tonight, too. I decide to leave the rest of the bagels and Christmas Cheer at a nearby park where three men are smoking. They likely were not homeless, I'm guessing, maybe just city workers on a break, but they were happy to get a few cold bagels and a tired smile.

After more yelling and breaking up sibling fights by noon, I have become a volcano on the verge of erupting. I am screaming about how they should be good and loving to each other and if it were up to me, they wouldn't get any presents for Christmas. And I was thinking of getting you all a puppy - take that you ungrateful children!

It wasn't until after the kids were in bed tonight that I emerged from the exercise bike in the basement that I found the note. It was a small, gold paper near my toothbrush, on which my daughter had drawn a star, "To Mom."

The tears came at my realization of how badly I failed today. I failed my kids, I failed Christmas Cheer. I failed at everything this season is supposed to be about. That love, the giving, the patience and goodwill —all that starts with ME, in my heart, in my home. I spent the day trying to cram it down everyone's throat but didn't realize I was the one who needed it. Who the hell am I to try and spread that crap when I can't even hand it to my own children? I wished right then that she was awake so I could tell her, tell all of them, that mommy was so sorry. I'm sorry I failed you today —and yes, I probably should have just taken you all ice skating.

But my 6-year-old got it. She was so right. It’s about the star. Our love, our purpose and meaning here is in the hope of a star, the shining star and light of Christmas! It can only be shared and spread when we realize it in ourselves. Without a light within us, how can we have life? Thank you my sweet girl, for showing your mom at the end of a miserable day that it's all about that star. THE star. HE will bring us goodness and light!

**this blog was republished Dec. 5, 2018 here at That's Inappropriate Parents.*