The Stuff Motherhood Is Made Of

Today, finally, we put into action a plan of several weeks… I am sitting in a coffee shop with a toasted marshmallow latte beside me (decaf, of course), and my babies are far, far away–the distance of about 1.6 miles. Ben is babysitting right now, while I for a few moments do not revolve my life around the needs and wishes of the two cutest little humans in the world. Even though I had been wanting to do this for weeks, to see if I still know how to write, Ben had to practically command me to leave this morning. He settled in the nursery with the two sleeping beauties, showing me that he was dedicated to the task of keeping a close eye on them. I trust him, yes, I do, but 1.6 miles is still quite a distance, you see, much farther than the 2 feet between them in their bed and me in mine, and so much farther than we were for those long months of pregnancy. Perhaps being a mom is just an exercise in trust, in letting go bit by bit of the ones that are more precious to you than anything else in the world. Being a parent, I heard, is like having parts of your heart walking around outside yourself. A twin mom just has two pieces of her heart instead of one gone missing, I guess.

Today is three months exactly since we welcomed the babies into the world. The days since then have been the fastest, the best, and some of the hardest days of my life. They have certainly been the most sleep-deprived, and yet, the hours spent sleeping beside my two tucked-in twins have been some of the sweetest hours of sleep, too. There is nothing like two dreaming babies, side-by-side, peaceful for the space of about three hours…

And those babies… Nobody ever met two little creatures so opposite, so distinctly human and individual. Our tiny little growth-restricted Edmund had a ferocious appetite, we found, and eats with a concentration that tells us he is making up for lost time and intends to someday be a big man like daddy. He passed up his little sister in the space of about two months, as if he knew that she was 8 minutes younger and should certainly be smaller too. He is the one who often puts himself to sleep, the one who will take a bottle of almost any temperature, the one who faces life with an inquisitive little face and sometimes the biggest smile ever. He was the first one to master the art of smiling, the one who now holds long and complex conversations with us in a language that we just wish we could understand.

Little Ellie, the doctor said, is one of few babies who are obviously girls. Her daddy, at least, thinks she is totally girl–from her little worried feminine sounds (“eh…eh…eh…”) that precede crying, to her more high-strung nature. She tends toward hysterical wailing when things do not go her way, sometimes expending herself until she sleeps in utter exhaustion. She is a picky eater, requesting with crumpled face that we please warm her bottle to a nicer degree if it is too cold. Her big dark eyes play us like we are her violins, whether they watch us solemnly, or sparkle with a sudden smile. She might cry heartbrokenly sometimes, but when she decides to smile, she breaks our hearts with the sweetness and the trust in her little round face… When either of our babies smile at us, it seems almost like heaven opens. If we are their violins, it is of them we sing!

I didn’t know, when I came here, what I would write. I often think by writing, rather than write what I think. And now is no different. And here in this coffee shop, I find that my thoughts, hopes, and dreams revolve around my babies. In the last months where I barely wrote, I expressed myself through night-time feedings, diaper changes, and mastering traveling with two tiny ones. Caring for my babies is my life, I told Ben the other day. I don’t remember why I told him that, but it is true. Being a mom is a change in identity–a switch from caring about myself and what I do and say, to caring about my children. My sister said once that after you have children it no longer matters what you wear, just so long as your children look cute. I find this sentiment strangely true, in more areas than just fashion.

So what have I learned in 3 months as a twin mom? I’m sure many lessons have yet to be seen and felt, the effects still too close to me to identify. But I have learned about a kind of love that I didn’t know existed before. Is this how God loves us, his offspring? Does God marvel over the complete perfection of my little babies more than I do? If he cares for them, and for me, more than I care about them, then how can I doubt him to watch over them when they are 1.6 miles away, or if they grow up and move across the ocean to Asia like my mom’s daughter–my sister–did?

Still, it is an exercise in trust in both my husband and my God to go out for coffee without them, a trust I will be exercising for the rest of my life. To love deeply, and trust no less deeply–this is what God is teaching me as a new twin mom. And I have a feeling that being a twin mom is nothing short but the stuff that motherhood everywhere is made of.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Oh, Alison, I’m thrilled to see an update from you – and that you have a husband who insists on giving you some time to yourself. Love your words on motherhood. You put into letters the emotions of all mothers.

  2. Very well put, Alison. You and Ben give Betty Joy and me joy as we watch you parent our first grandchildren.

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