Last week, we were at the doctors office and a couple sat across from us. "Twins? They asked. "Yes." we responded with a smile. That's the usual. When you have twins, people stare, people ask. Some strangers are very happy for you. "I've always wanted twins," they say. You worry that they might even consider sneaking one twin off with them, like, she's already got 5 other kids, she wouldn't notice. Some strangers are terrified for themselves. These are the most entertaining. I see them when I walk in. They eye me suspiciously, then look down abruptly. As though twins are a like some sort of contagious disease they will catch if they maintain eye contact. I see them lean over and whisper to their spouse "I could never do two babies at once." I know that's what they're saying because after a minute, they lean over to me and say the same thing. Like they just have to confess it to me, "I could never do to babies at once, is it so hard?" And I tell them the truth. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Another funny reaction to going somewhere with twins is inevitably the stranger who feels the need to tell us how hard life is with twins. These are never people who actually had twins. They're people whose neighbors cousins wife's brother had twins. "And they were exhausted all the time." they tell us, "They couldn't go anywhere for two years. You're probably going to start enjoying them when they turn about 2. Before that, it's really hard."
And I'm always like. "Okaaaaay." And I wanna say, "You realize I have twins now, right? And believe it or not, I enjoy it?" I get it though. I think what they "or their distant parent of twin relations" are trying to say is that there is a haze with twins. It's where you wake up one day and realize your babies are old and you're kind of like, "Where did all the time go?" It's all sort of a blur. A good blur, but still, a blur. I have days that do stick out though.
Last week, I took all the kids to the park after a quick ear appointment for the twins. And some really cool parks and rec employee thought it would be a great joke to leave the sprinklers on all morning. So picture me carrying the car seats, trying to navigate through the sprinklers to get to the playground so I don't get wet, while 3 of the other kids do try to get wet because how fun is that? And then my two-year-old isn't moving fast enough so she gets caught in a sprinkler shower, which suddenly means that she's lost the ability to move her legs, thus making her more soaked until I put the car seats down somewhere dry and brave the sprinklers to get the little toddler out of water's way. All this happening while other moms are watching like "can't you control all these humans you brought into the world?" Great fun. And I know they probably don't care, but I felt like a crazy awesome spectacle, none the less. By the end of our park day, I was dripping with sweat from all the moving and pushing on swings and what not. And I sat on a bench and felt very pitiful. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't regretting my life choices or anything. I love being a mom. I know their happy time and hard times. It's just sometimes I feel like I give my all, but my all is so little. So I said a prayer, on a park bench, while my kids did monkey bars and ate tree bark and other such lovely things. And I said to God, "I honestly don't know if I can do this."
I then heaved a sigh and proceeded to herd my kids across the park, back to the car, to go home and get lunch. That only took another 30 minutes.
Right as I was about to load the twins into the van, I heard, "Twinners?" And I turned around to face a smiling runner. Running in place, as runners do. She was spry and happy and everything I was not at the moment. I don't even think she was breaking a sweat. And I said, "Yes."
"I had twinners!" she responded happily.
"Oh? And you survived?" I said, rather sarcastically.
"Oh yes! I absolutely loved it! Are these your first?"
"No, I've got 4 more kids in the car."
"So fun! My twins were number eleven and twelve. I know it's hard sometimes at first, but mine are sixteen now and it's so much fun, I promise. You've got this, Mama!"
And off she ran. I was ready to drop the car seat and do a slow clap for this random woman who I was convinced was an angel sent to help me on my way. To remind me that I've got this. I can do this. I'm soaking wet from sweat and sprinklers, but I can do this.