Monday, September 10, 2007

The eye of the storm

I had to travel a couple hundred miles, see and feel the ocean, and relive a bit of nostalgia to be able to come to terms with my inner demons, the ones that had taken over my soul.
You know, things like, where am I going, what are we doing, where will we live, how will we afford anything, will life always be this hard?
On Day Two of Twisterville, I decided that I couldn't really relax. I didn't know how anymore.
So, I set out for my cup of coffee, picked up some donuts for The Da! and then planted myself in the sand, staring at the ocean for 15 minutes.
I would have sat on a towel, but the Hurricanes cried as I left and so going back for a towel seemed a bit cruel.
With nothing but my bare legs, I planted them down in the freshly raked sand and prayed to the ocean.
Heal me, I told it.
Consume me.
Take these fears away.
Cleanse me.
Hold me.
Hide me.

Even as I sat there, still unsettled because directly behind me my little girls were fluttering about on the balcony -- I couldn't sink into it.
But, I was still, and I listened for the ocean's response.
It spit in my face.
Not once. Not twice. But, three times. She thrust her mist several feet onto my cheeks and nose and lips.
I couldn't help but laugh.
Since my legs were crusted into the sand, and now falling asleep, I stood up, and bowed to the vast body of water that has held me and nourished me my entire life.
Then, I breathed deep, picked up my bag heavy with donuts, sippy cups and apples, and walked back into the eye of the storm.


I've struggled long and hard with trying to put a finger on what it means to be a mother of twins. I mean, what it really feels like.
Of course, I could talk all about the little things that annoy me, such as having to load two unruly toddlers into one cart just to push them half way across the parking lot just to find a second cart that actually holds two babies. Things like that.
Those are things that just make up our life. We don't really know anything else.
But, if you are a mother of twins, or higher-order multiples, than you know what I mean by not being able to properly explain to people what life is really like.
How do you explain the beautiful chaos? At the end of the day, exhaustion is not even the right word.
But, why? Why is it this way? Would I feel this way if I had only one child?
I think I figured it out standing on the beach, in the whirl wind of Liana's desire to only walk and run away, and Jadyn's desire to only face those waves, no matter how big and strong they were compared to her little body.
It's not that twins are double trouble or twice the work, even though they are.
It's the energy -- insurmountable, constant, thrilling, chaotic energy. There is no down time. There is no sitting quietly, just me and my baby. There is plenty of pushing and shoving to get on my lap, there's a lot of tugging and pulling over which books I will read, but there are very few moments of just snuggling quiet time.
It's the difference between an intimate dinner for two, and the loud, thumping dance party going on down the hall.
It's the difference between a romantic date in a fine restaurant, and a double date to the ballpark. Everything is bigger, brighter, louder and more exhilarating with two babies.
I know because now and then, for just a moment, I experience being in charge of just one toddler.
This happened on Day Two of the beach. Hurricane Liana and I wandered freely around while waiting for her sister and father to return. My worries melted away. Just one baby to worry about right this second. The energy they use to constantly feed off each other, mimic each other and watch for each other was gone.
It was not physically easier, but my mind was allowed to rest a little. I could sip my coffee while keeping an eye on her. I didn't have to keep one eye on her, and the other on her sister. I could just be with her.
I'm not saying that I don't enjoy the multi-tasking required of raising twins because I do, immensely.
But, it was nice to finally understand why I'm so tired, why I'm so rundown, why I desperately need to take care of myself.
I guess I had to travel a couple hundred miles away to figure that out, too.


myminivanisfasterthanyours said...

I so completely get this! My kids are 11 months apart and whenever only one is awake, I feel like I own the world. To just take one out in public? Can't even imagine the ease that would feel like. But when they make each other giggle? SOOO worth it!

You have a beautiful family :)

InTheFastLane said...

My kids have a huge age gap between them so right now it wears me down in different ways - Potty training on one end and a teenage girl on the other and a strong willed 8 year old in the middle. When my 8 year old was a toddler one think I just kept saying was "thank God he doesn't have a twin!" I might not have made it. Keep remembering to take care of yourself.

Also - I have awarded you the "nice matters" award. You can pick up your trophy badge on my blog :)

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I don't have twins (but oh, is my hat off to you and other moms who do), but I do have two kids, and I get those moments of perspective sometimes as well. It's why I never take advice from anyone with just one child. With one, it's easy to credit yourself, or to criticize others, for things that come of just having more energy yourself or a child with a particular personality.

Having had a high needs baby in my son and then having a "normal" baby in my daughter also gave me a different kind of perspective -- an "ah, this is why things are so tough" feeling.

I guess we just have to ride out the dance party and enjoy it while it lasts.

Anonymous said...

Glory me, this is gorgeous. And the picture: one turned one way, the other another.

lesleysmeshly said...

Beautiful post. I'm not a writer so you put my feelings into words beautifully. I am glad you got some much needed peace and did some soul searching. I hope you feel better rested, mind and body.

Wendy said...

beautiful beautiful!

"Give up to grace. The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to shore.” - Rumi

bella said...

I mean all of it.
The prayer to the ocean, the longing you manage to convey in these words, the hunger and fear and uncertainty, the meaning of twins which I do not know but through you have a better understanding, the relentlessness of it all, of life.
Your honesty is its own gift.
And I am a grateful recipient.

Shawn said...

Ya'll are too kind!! Really. I think it's pretty clear that we all face our own demons and challenges ... but we just have to get up and dust off and try again for a better moment, a better day.

I missed all of you last week!