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It’s early 2010. Our daughter is two years old. My husband is in the midst of building a company from scratch. For those who are entrepreneurs you can understand the enormity of stress that simple sentence describes. In addition, we’ve recently miscarried a child.
All three of us are in the doctor’s office for an ultrasound, because we are pregnant again. The nurse gets quiet, which makes me nervous. I ask if everything is alright and she said “Yes, but I think there are two in there.” “Two what?!” I fire back. “Well, there’s one heartbeat….and there’s the other.” My husband’s face gets red. Mine goes pale. My daughter is confused (she’s not alone in this).
Twins. What? We didn’t do in-vitro, we don’t have a family history of twins, how could we have twins? Surely this nurse needed glasses!
But she was right. Identical twin boys would be joining our family that fall. While full of joy (mixed with total panic), the stress that was already all consuming in our life went through the roof as my husband and I set out to deliver and welcome healthy twins, and become a family of five. The real adventure had just begun.
When our beautiful boys entered the world our daughter had just turned three. They were healthy. They were perfect. We were tired. They were hungry. They are always hungry. Again, we were tired.
Being a parent brings a whole host of emotions; joy followed by terror; exhilaration followed by anxiety; joyful hope followed by worry if you can handle the entire job of parenthood. My husband and I looked at ourselves nearly every day going, “You OK? Do you got this? Do I got this?” Only parents understand this constant drive to do the best job you can, yet question whether you’re making the right choices at nearly every turn!
Our boys grew and grew fast. They have always eaten like high school football players! Both were happy, each unique in their own way and both positively loved the other one and their sister. We have children who respect each other and love each other immensely. My husband and I are proud of that.
I remember so clearly when they were just newborns, we went out to dinner. It was one of those nights I just couldn’t bring myself to cook. I was so tired! As we were walking in to the restaurant carrying two car seats, and holding the hand of a three-year-old a woman stopped me. She was teary. “I just sent my identical twins to college this week. Just you wait. In one single day you will say goodbye to both your babies at the same time.”
I smiled and then in my exhaustive fragile state looked at my husband and started to cry! I think her sentiment was to treasure the time. I don’t believe she was coming from a malicious place. But I remember turning to my husband and saying “She’s right! They are going to leave us at the same time! In one day they’ll be gone!” He held my hand, made me eat a hamburger and told me “baby, I love you, but right now the kids are starving and I’m exhausted and college seems like four lifetimes from now. You need to get it together and I need to set these heavy car seats down.” This shook me from my blubbering, hormonal state! Thanks, hubs.
This fall our beloved boys start Kindergarten, and our daughter third grade. All three will walk onto a school bus at the same time, going to the same school, and I will walk back into an empty house.
Will the quiet be nice? Yes. Will I feel comfortable in it? Probably not. For nine years my house has been filled with noise from morning to night. I will very likely pace and clean and pace and clean out of nerves. And cry. I’ll cry from the happiness I know they’ll be having at school, cry worrying whether Matthew forgot where his classroom is, cry thinking of Andrew wave to me from the bus and cry watching their big sister proudly teach them the ropes.
I will cry remembering them in baby clothes with drool and wobbly necks we needed to support. I will look at the family room they took their first steps. I will walk into their closet and see where they now get dressed all by themselves. And I’ll peak into my daughter’s room and see the giant books she’s now capable of reading to herself instead of needing me to read a bedtime story. I will weep with sentimental thoughts and I will weep with pride.
My husband and I have done all we can to get them ready. Are we ready? I don’t know. The pull of a parent’s heartstrings is so strong when the crossroads of meeting a goal are met. The goal is always to raise independent, strong people who can survive happily in the world without us. Yet when it’s time for them to survive without us, even if for only part of a day, a part of your heart beats so loudly you can’t hear and the tears sting your eyes.
Parenting is one part holding on, one part letting go. Come August we will hold their little hands to walk them to the bus stop, watch them with their backpacks that will be larger than them get on a bus, and I’ll sit at the bus stop an hour before they get off wiping the tears away to greet them with a smile, a giant hug, and sit in the kitchen to hear every story they want to tell me.
Kindergarten. We’ve made it. They’ve made it. Now pass the tissues…
Now that I’ve made myself cry my eyes out, I need to pull it together to share that I’ve partnered with Hanna Andersson for Back to School. We are a perfect match. I’ve believed in their quality since my daughter was born. Their pajamas have kept my babies warm at night and their clothes for playing and exploring life for almost nine years.
This year I asked my boys what they wanted their very first backpack to look like for Back to School. “Camo!” they both screamed in unison (identical twins think and talk alike!). I was so lucky to see that Camo backpacks were available at Hanna. I knew I could trust their quality so imagine the happy dance I did seeing Hanna Camo backpacks! Relief! But the camo doesn’t stop there (oh no, they need to be “completely invisible, Mom!”).
Hanna has matching camo lunch bag and pants. They can now start off the first day of Kindergarten going back to school in camouflage. This makes them ultra-excited. When I showed them their new back to school outfits and backpacks they immediately threw them on their bodies and walked taller. They felt amazing. And I felt amazing knowing they were happy and the quality would last them the whole year.
So with a tear and a smile my husband and I will send our boys to school fully camouflaged in the good hands of the amazing school staff and the quality of Hanna clothes. I already can’t wait to greet them off the bus.