Each time your child has a birthday I think it is perfectly natural to think back on when they were born. Thinking back on the birth of my twins fills me with horror and dread. Even though life is much easier now, I haven't forgotten what it was like then. I think everyone has at least one thing that they hold in their pocket for when someone else is telling a specific kind of story. It doesn't matter if the story is one of triumph or defeat but it always deals with comparison. My immediate (mostly unspoken response) to these stories is "Oh yeah, well I had twins. AND four kids under the age of 5. AND four kids in diapers so meh." That meh is when I imagine sticking out my tongue at the person who has upset me.
For some reason there is a language in my church that everything that happens is a trial or a blessing. There isn't much in between that is just life. Well there is lunch and laundry, but sometimes even those have been trials and blessings. I've often heard the saying "My biggest trial was also my greatest blessing." I don't like to think of my children as a trial. (Though often I've had trials of my patience through the children). But having twins and all my kids so close together was really hard.
There was the time I lost four year old Zac at a park and left two year old Chloe in charge of six month old Katelyn and Nathan to go find Zac. There was the time I had an argument at o'dark thirty with Scott about which twin I was holding. There was the time I sat humbled in the WIC office to get some desperately needed food assistance. There was the time that Katie said "Mama" for the first time and I sat on the kitchen floor and cried because I didn't think I could adequately take care of the needs of all these small children. There were days that I counted down until everyone slept through the night, wiped their own bum, fed and dressed themselves, and went to school. There were also days when I cried that they'd become big enough to do some of those things.
It was a journey that I look back on and can't believe was my life. Because of this experience I know angels walk among us. Sometimes they are flesh and blood, other times they are just felt. I am loved. And oh boy can I do hard things. But I don't do any of it on my own. EVER. Our family frequently pulls together to get through hard things. My kids and husband are endlessly patient and understanding with a mom who can't do it all.
I've been so excited for each growing up milestone. We cheered when Zac joined Cub Scouts, Chloe got to attend Activity Days, and at each Baptism. Now as I sent my baby off to his first Cub Scout meeting, Katie is meeting with Activity Days leaders, and the twins are getting baptized in just 12 days, I just keep thinking how little they are. Zac and Chloe seemed so much older at this age. Chloe sitting in the chair to get her ears pierced looked all grown up and ready for a new adventure. Katie seemed to be my tiny 4 lb 15 oz baby that I rocked to sleep last night.
We've had a good life with so many adventures. I don't miss the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, or clinging children. But my heart aches a little bit that my babies are so grown up. It's a paradox even my logical brain can't find an answer for.
Twelve, ten, and eight. That's our life now. It's so much better than four, two, and zero. Even if I have to answer questions about penis's and missionary companions who aren't married. There are times each one drives me crazy. But most of the time I'm lucky to have some pretty great kids.
This past weekend we "finally" got to celebrate Katie turning eight. We celebrated Nathan last week, but Katelyn's was delayed due to snow. For three hours I sat on the sidelines while they bounced, flipped, and swung. Though occasional hugs were given, and "Mom watch me's" were said, each of my babies were big enough to explore on their own without me worrying that they'd walk out the door unannounced. We've come a long way in the last eight years.
Seriously can you believe they used to look like this????? Me neither.
May you enjoy your time with your babies.