“Did we grow from a piece of your heart?”
That’s the question my girl asked me the night before their birthday as I told them the story of when they were born, as I do each year at their birthday.
The story goes like this – I never wanted kids. But then mama and dada got back together and we wanted you so so badly yet we couldn’t get any babies to stay in my belly. Then doctors and science helped us to get not just one baby but TWO babies in there (magic beans) and we were so very happy. You grew and grew and grew and played in there and got the hiccups at the same time and took up ALL the room in my tummy. The day came to get you out of there and YOU WOULD NOT COME OUT. You were having too much fun in there together! So mama pushed and pushed for so so long and finally early the next morning – 24 hours after we got to the hospital – the doctor carefully cut my tummy open and took you out. And you cried and cried. Mommy cried and cried. Daddy laughed and cried. It was every feeling you can imagine and all I could think was how happy I was to meet you. You are the best thing that ever happened to me and I am so so grateful I get to be your mama and you are my little girl and boy and it gets better each year. I would walk past every other little girl and boy in the world to get to you. I would look for you forever. And then they say, “You’re crying mama.” And I am. I absolutely am.
So, my answer was yes. Yes absolutely you grew from a piece of my heart. Along with science, hope, and love, a piece of my heart is definitely part of the equation that produced these babies.
When I celebrated 7 years of sobriety, the man (he’s since passed but I remember him fondly) who gave me a special 7 year coin and told a story of how every 7 years we grow an entirely new layer of skin. I don’t know if it’s altogether true (though a nice concept), but that’s stuck with me. So each 7 years, I think of how we’ve shed an entire layer of skin and grown a whole new layer of protection. Of softness. Of memories. We let go of the old and welcome in the new, the pliable, the strength and the softness.
My babies turned 7 years old on January 7th and they have a whole new skin.
It also happens to be their Golden Birthday and we think it’s just grand.
No matter how old they get, no matter what happens, no matter where they are or what is happening, they will always have the same birthday. We have this conversation often. How lucky they are to share the same birthday and that no matter what, they always will.
Since I’ve written one of these posts every year on their birthday and I like to believe they will read all these (and everything I’ve written) one day, I like to highlight a few things that have happened during the year.
My beautiful babies – you have graduated from kindergarten to first grade. You are still in the same classroom because you bring each other great comfort while doing your own thing all day long and making your own paths with your own experience along the way. You’ve both learned to read books. Like, really read books! It’s miraculous to me to hear you read aloud what was once hidden to you – and I have to be careful what you see now because you can read almost everything! And your math and science and music and art and even gym classes are teaching you so much that you are becoming such well rounded kids and I’m continually impressed by how much you are learning.
You’ve lost too many teeth! My girl with 8 teeth lost and my boy with 2, but catching up. You’ve grown your hair, you’ve cut your hair, you’ve grown about 18 inches or so it seems and when we measure you on the wall we cannot believe how big you are. You tried and tried and tried to do the monkey bars and now you can both do them!
More than any physical or educational growth, is your emotional and mental growth. This year has been a bit more difficult because you are growing up and understanding more and more. You’ve encountered kids and adults alike who are unkind or not very understanding and you’ve worked through it. We’ve worked through it together and made a plan and you are learning that just because we are kind doesn’t mean everyone else will be, but we do our best to show kindness anyway. We are learning how to stand up for ourselves and for those who need our standing up for them. We watch out for each other and our friends.
You love animals more than anything else and your compassion and empathy is so encouraging to me. That will serve you so well in your lives and while feeling all the feelings is hard sometimes, it is such a gift to be able to feel it all. We are all learning to feel these feelings and then how to deal with them appropriately. Together.
We are letting go of little little kid stuff and moving on to bigger kid stuff and it’s an adjustment for all of us. There is sadness and all kinds of feelings in all of this that we are working through together. You have so much bigger kid stuff to look forward to! Maybe even later bedtimes one day – maybe! But I promise, Baby Gum and Dida are FOREVER.
Bubby – you are the MOST into Star Wars. Nothing compares. Except animals. And you are so so clever with your drawings. You create your own worlds and stories and act them out without any need for anyone else. Your brain is magnificent. Your empathy and questioning of everything and everyone is at times maddening, but also you are so tuned into the human and animal experience. You are an old soul and while at times I feel as though I’m speaking with someone who is 46 years old like me, I have to remember you are only 7!
Bebe – you are into Frozen II and the Descendants and all things singing and dancing and make up and dolls and dress up and playing school. You are so good at formulating a plan and executing it – while bringing your brother into it at the same time. Your brain is astounding. You are so funny and make us laugh constantly and that is not all that easy to do. You surprise us every day with the things that come out of your mouth. That is a very good thing. You hold onto a grudge (I get it – don’t wrong my Bebe!), but you also take such good care and think of your friends and people you love always. You draw pictures and bring little gifts for everyone you love wherever you go.
I am just so incredibly proud of you both.
You are your own people while still loving being a twin. You no longer think you are the same person (as you did when you were little) but you still have each other’s backs no matter what. You get each other better than anyone else ever could. Even me. When you get mad at each other it is big and mad and feels like forever, but then we forgive and move on and the cycle begins all over again. Mostly though, it’s love and laughter and goofing around. When there are hard things, we get through them together.
I cannot carry every load for you, much as I want to. But I can help you through it.
And so, another year of growth for all of us. We measured on the wall, we partied with our families, we’ve eaten many sweets, we’ve sung and opened gifts. We will never stop celebrating these babies. Every year when they turn a year older, I cry. I cry and sob and weep and think of all that happened to bring them into existence. All they’ve brought to our lives since being placed in my belly. If it weren’t for a woman’s right to choose, they would not have been. We never knew love, light and pure joy until you. May we all live many more 7 year cycles together and filled with so much love.
You asked me what my favorite age of yours has been my favorite. And my answer is all of them. Each time I think it can’t get any better or more fun (sprinkled in with frustration for sure), and my love for you cannot get any bigger, wider, deeper – you get older and I love you even more.
My darling children, when you ask “Did we grow from a piece of your heart?” Yes. Yes you absolutely did and everywhere you go and everything you see and hear and feel in your lives, my heart will be with you. Always.
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Past birthday posts: