I am currently in Seattle visiting my dearest friend. It is the second time I have been away on my own since Henry was 18 months old (he’s 3 now) and the first time since the twins were born. I realize I need to get out more but the logistics involved given our three small children and two full-time jobs makes that hard. Even so, I have to make it happen. Here’s why:First, I love it here. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever know. We used to live here, years ago, and I still miss it like crazy sometimes. The water makes me feel like the world is a big place and my problems are actually very small and everything is most likely going to be okay in the long run because there will always be a place I can go that is lovely and wide open and makes my heart happy.
Second, my girlfriend is the fucking best. We are very different people in some ways and our lives are basically at opposite ends of the adulting spectrum right now but she gets it. All of it. I don’t really even have to explain. Just being in the same room with her makes me feel more like myself and that myself is a good thing to be.
Third, being away from my home and my husband and my children has given me some much needed perspective. It’s almost as if struggling each day has become a habit for me. That I can’t ever see the light because I am always looking at the dark.
My life is not that hard. It’s not easy, by any means, but it’s not THAT hard and, even when it is, I can do hard things (thank you, Glennon). I’m having a wonderful time but I miss my husband and I miss my children and that feels good; it feels right.
I’m going home tomorrow and I’m going to do my damndest to hold on to to this feeling. That I can do this. That home is where I want to be. That sometimes it’s good to go away, but that I will always want to come back home again.
I’m going away for the weekend to visit a dear friend. I really, really need this break and yet I still feel anxious and guilty about leaving. I know everyone will be fine without me. More than fine. But I also know they will miss me. My oldest especially. And the thought of doing anything that makes him sad breaks my heart. Even though I know it’s for the best. For everyone. I suppose this is what being a mom is like. Doing things that are right but still hard all the same.
I know it’s really the little things that make up a life together. Not the big things, the highlights or the low-lights; only the things you do so often you hardly notice but still you do them, day after day, until suddenly you’ve been married ten years and have three children together.
It’s the little things that I want to focus on, to cherish, or at least recognize, instead of always searching the horizon for some big new change that will finally be the thing that makes me feel better, about myself and us and our life together.
There is no big new thing out there. There is only us, our kids, the life that we make together, one day, one hour, one little thing after another.
I want so badly for that to be enough. To be able to stop expecting something more or different. I’m so tired of looking for something that isn’t there, that isn’t coming.
I feel like my mind has betrayed me, betrayed us, and all I really is want to feel like myself again, to feel content here in my life as it is.
Half a year has gone by since the twins were born. How is that possible? It seems like they just got here. They still feel so new to me. Not like my oldest. He’s always been with me, or at least it seems that way. I wonder if I will always feel this way, like my second and third child are some how newcomers to our little family of three. I don’t think so. In time, it will feel as though all three have always been with us, always been a part of my life.
But for now I am in that strange in-between place. I feel like a mother of three and yet I don’t. In my head I’m still a 20 something or even a teenage misfit, just trying to sort myself out. Will that ever go away completely? Probably not. And I suppose that’s OK. Continuing to sort myself out at the same time that I help my kids figure out who they are isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe it’s an opportunity to show them how to do it with more self compassion and self-love than I’ve shown myself in the past.
We are all in this together after all.
So apparently West Africa has the highest number of twins per capita relative to anywhere else in the world. If you give birth to twins there, you’re given special status, a special nickname, special treatment. Because twins are considered a wonderful, yet difficult thing.
In the US, I have found that people just ask you inappropriate questions about how your twins came to be and generally expect you to get on by yourself just fine.
Well, I’m here to clarify the twins are fucking hard. I mean, we are talking about TWO babies at once.
For all of you who’ve had one baby at once just let that sink in–two babies at the same time. All of their baby needs, all of the diapers, the witching hours, the up all night crying for no apparent reason, the spit up, the blow outs, the baths, the need to be held, to be carried, to be bounced, times two. All. Day. And. All. Night.
I know there are women out their with triplets and more. Girlfriends, I don’t begin to understand how you do it. I have six month old twins and a three year old singleton and I am slowly losing my mind, even on the good days.
It’s just so much need to be met, mostly be me, and I’ve never been that good at taking care of myself, let alone me plus three vulnerable, small children. It’s terribly rewarding when it goes well but also terrifying pretty much all the time. So far my screw-ups have been small but I’m so scared of what might happen if I’m not able to keep all of these balls in the air at once. If I fuck up, do we all come tumbling down? I hope we never have to find out.
My regular readers are well aware that part of my twin experience has been a relatively nasty bout of post partum anxiety and depression. I suffered a bit of the same with my first born but nothing as deep, dark and sustained as this.
This weekend I started to feel really afraid that I might never get better. That I might always feel this way, at least as long as I am parenting three small children. This shit is hard and anxiety-inducing for many people, but when you spend most of your night googling inpatient treatment centers you know something has gone horribly wrong.
The thing is, I’m not crazy (I mean relatively speaking) and I don’t need to be hospitalized. I’m actually quite functional. But my mind wants me to believe otherwise. My own brain (or at least some of its chemical makeup) is lying to me about who I am and what I am capable of. And that sucks. Because it’s hard to tell when your own brain is lying to you. It’s nearly impossible to see the truth when you are living with a constant lie.
I am doing every damn thing I can come up with to get better, for my family, but mostly for me. Because if I don’t figure this out for myself there’s no way I can help take care of them, at least not for long or in the way that I want to.
I’m still not sure what the answer is. I’m guessing it will have multiple, moving and ongoing parts. My life already feels too full, but my life won’t mean much if I don’t get this fixed. And so I will. Hopefully. Eventually. One day at a time.
I realize my babies are just siblings with the same birthday, even still it surprises me at times how different they really are.
Calvin is all about movement. He wants to roll and push and pull himself as much as possible. He’s only still for eating and sleeping purposes, if that.
Lucy is all about touch. She wants to be held and cuddled as much as possible. She will contentedly sit in my lap (anyone’s lap, really) for hours.
Calvin is definitely the eater. Big on bottles, now big on solids. He gets the wiggles and happy screams whenever it’s time for a feeding.
Lucy could take food or leave it; she’ll eat when she’s really hungry but she doesn’t seem to enjoy it, at least not yet.
Lucy concentrates most of her energy on being a social butterfly. She was the first to smile, the first to make eye contact, the first to notice when I left the room. All she wants is for you to look at her and preferably to touch her and even more preferably to simply carry her around all day long.
They are six months old today and things are good, except when they aren’t. Having twins still feels overwhelming at times but also doable in the sense that we are already half way through the first year–everyone still alive, husband and I still married.
I don’t expect having three small children will ever truly feel easy for me. I’m just not that kind of girl. But I am enjoying the moments of sweetness and light more than I had been, which seems like a shift in the right direction. I still have my dark days but they no longer threaten to repeat themselves infinitely, which is nice.
So, I guess it’s a happy Valentine’s Day after all, sort of. I mean, I haven’t cried yet.