Thursday, December 3, 2015

"The Bomb" (Thoughts on Parenting Twins)

I feel really excited about being a twin mom lately. Mainly because of one thing: perspective. We are 16 months into this twin parenting journey and while new challenges present themselves every week, in many ways...

I am out of the freaking woods, people! 

Today, though, I've been reflecting on the beginning. When the twins were only few months old, I was trying to explain the effect their arrival had on our family to a close friend. At the time (and sometimes even now) I found it nearly impossible to fully explain what it is like having newborn twins. Mainly because it was actually really difficult almost every hour of every day and let's be honest... no one likes to hear complaints. Especially a mother's complaints about her own children! That is just the worst. But also because I truly loved it and I loved them every hour of every day. I think sometimes, as humans, we have a hard time letting something be two things at once. Being a twin mom is hard. Being a twin mom is awesome... the best, even. I look at singleton babies and I think, "Where is your best friend? Why aren't you a twin?". It is hard enough for ME to balance the feelings of "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy" and "this is the best thing that has ever happened to me", let alone for someone else to possibly grasp and feel comfortable with that sort of limbo in a few short minutes.

Anyway, as I was trying to explain what giving birth to twins had done to the culture of our family, I had an epiphany: 

It was as if someone waltzed into our home, lit a fuse, and a bomb exploded.

and there we were; left standing in the middle of the fallout. Chaos everywhere we looked. Hands full of newborn babies.

As weeks went by we slowly - very slowly - started to walk around and kick at a couple of the parts of who we used to be to see if there was any life left in them. I'm not talking about core parts of who you are - though those are shaken too - I am talking about lame stuff like doing your hair and getting dressed.

I recovered those two quickly enough.

It wasn't until Ruby and Nora were around 3 months old that the part of my life called "going to church" was repaired. Not fully, though, because during that season I considered church an optional luxury. I'm sure to many that sounds bad, but if I really examined my families needs, rarely did packing them up and skipping naps and stressing myself out only so that I could expose them to the germs of a hundred kids feel like what was really "the best". (There was one morning Josh took all 3 of the girls to church so I could sleep. I heard him explain my absence to Piper on his way out the door by simply saying, "Piper, sweetie, sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is sleep." and I was so grateful for his grace and perspective.) Anyway, we're back at church almost every week now and immensely enjoying a weekly Life Group so I can say that part of our life has more than recovered.

There were parts of my life that took a lot longer to recuperate. The damage was rather extensive. Leaving the house alone. Intimacy. Socializing. Cooking meals. I didn't know it was possible for an extrovert to become an introvert but for a season, I did. It felt as if nearly each part of me had to be resuscitated and rebuilt in the aftermath of the twins arrival. 

In fact, it has only been about a month since I gained back the piece of my life called "a full night of uninterrupted sleep". 

and the part of me called "exercise" is still laying there, dead. (I consider the countless trips I take up and down the stairs in our home to be plenty of exercise for me right now. Ha!)

I don't think this concept is twin-parent specific. It can happen any time a new baby is brought into your home. In fact, people have 'bombs' going off in their lives all of the time. Cancer. A death in the family. Divorce. Diabetes. Adoption. These kinds of explosions change the entire culture of your family. Whether planned or unplanned, when a bomb explodes and identities and roles are shifted and altered, everyone has to adjust. Everything is the same, but nothing is the same. 

Allowing yourself grace and time to sift through the wreckage is the key to survival. For anyone in that season of life, I would suggest making sure that you pick up the core pieces of who you are first. In fact, if your current bomb is a baby or twins, I hope you prepared yourself before they even arrived to make sure you have the cornerstones of you, your marriage, and your family in place. Once you've recovered those parts of who you are, immediately pick up and repair the pieces of your life that bring you the most joy. Protect those things - let them be enough - until you are ready to look around again and build some more. Your joy - especially you, moms - is everything to your family. 

The Bomb was hard to endure with twins. The fallout felt longer and harder than anything I've experienced. But oh when that dust settled, the city and family culture that we have rebuilt is even better than anything I could have imagined and worth the immense effort and pure grit that it took to construct.

1 comment:

  1. This is really, really good, Leslie! You are a talented and insightful writer!