My teenagers turned sixteen today. Someone congratulated me on their birth, but I wasn’t even there when they were born. Some might argue that such a situation is the best possible scenario in terms of birthing, but not me. I loved being pregnant, loved giving birth. But I was not pregnant with them. I did not give birth to them.
My husband and I adopted them seven months after their premature birth.
I think about her today, of course. I wonder if she thinks about them–I know she must. I wonder why she stopped contacting us. I hope she is well. I hope that one day, when my twins grow up, they will circle back to her and understand how they fit into our world and her world. I hope and I pray.
Meanwhile, I bought them sixteen Mylar balloons today and all the food they’ve recently requested. I regretted the balloons almost immediately and have spent an unpleasant amount of time today ordering various kids to “STOP HITTING THAT BALLOON!” All my kids relish a boxing match with a balloon. And it drives me crazy. I forget that fact from celebration to celebration.
I grocery shopped with them in mind and specifically brought home Ruffles with dip, cans of clam chowder and spaghetti sauce (among other things). A few years ago, they complained that there was nothing to eat–I said, “Eat a sandwich. That’s what most kids do.” But they turn up their noses at a run-of-the-mill sandwich. They didn’t believe me and I said to their friends, “Hey, what did you have for lunch?” and every single boy said, “A sandwich.”
My boys have never eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (Their weirdest meal? When they were about two, they each ate a bowl of ketchup for lunch.)
Tonight, my husband planned to take the two of them to dinner to celebrate. (They are having a birthday sleep-over Friday night . . . save me!) The boys wanted to invite their friend. But another friend was over, too, so my husband invited that boy, too. Then my daughter wanted to go. (I couldn’t go because I was working and then had to pick up our 11-year old from lacrosse practice.) My husband agreed to take her, too . . . but she was at her friend’s house down the street . . . and so she invited her friend and then they couldn’t leave the other brother home alone, could they?
And that’s how it happened that my husband took seven kids to a restaurant tonight. And I wasn’t there.
I did not ask how much that cost!
After dinner, our boys went to youth group and had ice cream cake (provided by my husband). (He is such a good dad.) They came home smelling like garlic and hopping around with birthday joy.
Tomorrow we’ll be back to normal. I will look up at their blemished faces and daydream about those long toddler and preschooler years that seemed like they would never end. How do those warm bodies curled on my lap–both of them at once–grow so quickly into these young men with deep voices and giant feet who know more about being a parent than I do? (Oh, I laugh.)
Blink. Babies. Blink. Toddlers. Blink. Preschoolers. Blink. Elementary school. Blink. Teenagers. Blink. They’re gone.
Just that fast.