I’ve written one of these birthday posts every year now for five years. For some reason, this one feels like the closing of a chapter. Five feels like we are entering kid territory. We are past babies, we are past toddlers, we have kids now. I’ll save you the trouble and say THEY ARE SO BIG HOW DID THIS HAPPEN WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE because this time I agree. It’s happening at lightening speed.
Best friends. Bebe and her Gah. Gah and his Bebe. Twins are magical.
This morning she told him, “I was born magic, Gah. I taught you how to fly and you wouldn’t know how to fly without me.”
He said in return, “But I can do this” – holds hand over one eye and then switches hands over eyes so the light jumps back and forth – “so see that proves that I’m magic too. You’re not the only one that’s magic, Bebe.”
I like to take the time to look back over the last year and recognize all the progress and milestones and just, well, growth that’s happened. And I’ve done that. I look through the thousands of pictures and videos and I take it in. I cry, I laugh, I remember that photos don’t tell the whole truth. The smiles are sometimes forced and the straight, sometimes irritated faces are at times the purest form of who we are. It’s weird that we always think we should smile in photos, isn’t it? I don’t always smile in my photos, so why should I try to force them to?
Each year, I’ve taken some time to appreciate and also mourn all that’s happened. All we will never pass through this place again. While I don’t want to go through these years again, I admit there is a sadness along with the overwhelming gratitude that accompanies the passage of time. It’s important to acknowledge and feel it all.
Four was a good year. A magnificent year. They’re still little enough to need us to wipe bottoms and tie shoes. Still little enough to say callepitter and not have any earthly clue about what day tomorrow is. But big enough to head off to school each morning with the excitement of meeting their friends and teachers to fill some spot in them that I can no longer fill. Big enough to have their little pants look like floods because the growing is in high gear. The baby fat is all but gone, the lengthening of the limbs is almost audible.
I mean, they’re older than Caillou now. From a closet Caillou lover (it brings me simple comfort along with all the pbs shows), this is kind of FREAKING ME OUT. But we will keep watching as long as they like.
This fourth year she let go of her paci and he let go of his Dida. Two items that seemed to be attached at all times and we would never ever be rid of. To be honest, and you parents and caregivers know, this is all harder on me than on them. This letting go of their babyness. Even though they were stinky and easily lost or forgotten, to me they were part and parcel of the package and to think that they no longer require such accoutrements is still unsettling to me. Like I’m forgetting something.
What they haven’t let go of is needing is each other and us. They fight and they love and it’s a fine fine line between hugging and choking sometimes. The power dynamic shifts hourly and they complement each other so well, it seems they could make the perfect old married couple. They give each other comfort and courage. They have each other’s backs and fronts and sides.
Their talks at bedtime and in the morning are some of my favorite moments to listen in on as they still take such comfort in sharing a room. Just them, when they think I can’t hear them, is more precious than sleeping another half hour for me.
My girl is so strong and seemingly feels no pain, but when she cries those real tears, I’m reduced to crying them with her. She is a listener and a bystander, but then she whispers something so incredibly philosophical in your ear that you know nothing gets past her. She has a temper like mine and it’s a struggle to harness it for good rather than harm. She has a confidence about her that I dream of. She rocks her short hair.
My boy is achingly beautifully sensitive and never ever stops talking. With that loud, deep voice of his. The philosophical questions come at machine gun pace and just when you reach a point of not being able to answer one more question, he thoughtfully says something that brings you right back to your knees thankful he is exactly as he is. He makes me swoon.
He is part of the crew on the playground that runs and screams and plays tag and tackles.
She can be found on the swings every minute allowed.
They do not tolerate injustice well. To themselves or to people they care about. Or people on tv or in books. Or their make believe friends. Or the air.
They plan and scheme and laugh and cry and soothe and mourn and bait and join forces.
They are separate but together. Together but separate. Their teacher said they are the perfect example of how twins can be in the same classroom and yet do their own thing. Just knowing the other is in the vicinity is all they need.
They are both so funny in their own ways, we just stare at them in utter disbelief.
This year they graduated from their first preschool. After this year of Pre-K, in the fall, they will begin all day Kindergarten. Every time I think of it, my heart jumps into my throat.
“How do you spell chocolate?” “How do you spell Batman?” Seems like all day every day we are shouting out how to spell words for them to write down their thoughts and wishes for cards and books and posters and shows and one of these days very soon they won’t need us to spell it out, so I try to remember that this moment is short and I can keep spelling these words for them all day because soon my husband and I will not be able to spell out things we don’t want them to hear any longer. They will just KNOW HOW TO DO IT THEMSELVES.
But that is not today.
On January 7, 2018, we have 5 year olds. And as I keep telling them, I’m so proud of them. I am so thankful I get to be their mama. I am proud that they are funny smart clever kind brave and cute and I’m forbidding them from getting any older or any bigger. I KID. They know and they tease me that one day they will be so big and we laugh and laugh and I say NO YOU WILL BE MY BABIES FOREVER and yet I am so thankful for these healthy growing kids.
I wouldn’t go back to that first year for anything in the world. At five years old, I still haven’t missed that newborn stage because oh my lord was that hard and pretty awful. I didn’t know it at the time, but babies are not that much fun. Kids are fun. I am here for this.
What I already know I love about five is everything I loved about four and three and two and one. Everything I loved about newborns even. Everything is them.
When they are up on stage at their Christmas show and so proud of themselves, when I wave, they wave back.
My boy holding my hand during the entire new Star Wars movie.
My girl asking me questions about my body while questioning some things about hers and looking for reassurance that she is perfect because she is.
As we walk anywhere, I can count on reaching down and two hands instinctively grabbing back. Safe. Their hands are cold and I get to warm them up.
They’re no longer babies and yet not quite big kids. This is a sweet spot.
Today is my favorite. As was yesterday and tomorrow and all the days I get to be their mama.
The things we keep are written down, captured in photos and videos and smells and fabrics and if we are lucky, in our minds. If we are really really lucky, we get to be present for all of it. Even when I’m really angry, frustrated, tired, exasperated, cannot handle one more question, I’d still rather be here than anywhere else in the world. Because mostly? This is one million percent more fulfilling and awe inspiring and downright hilarious than we could’ve ever expected out of two kids.
The baby dimples on the hands though, they’re still there. And when I see those hands reaching for mine, I know I will always see them this way. Just little enough. Filled with pure magic.
Happy fifth birthday, Bebe and Gah. What is the magic of five year old twins on their birthday? Well, it’s you. I am so excited for all this next year brings. We will walk through our fears and our joys together. Your mommy believes in your magic. Keep spreading it around. The world desperately needs your brand of magic.
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