My girls turned five last month. Five years old. I almost cannot remember what my life was like before they were here.
My sweet daughter A was born at 11:52 pm. The nurses were hoping daughter E would wait until after midnight. Then, I would have twins born on separate days!! After A was born, E wasn’t ready. She finally had the womb all to herself and she was loving it!! She was breech, so the doctor was trying to help out, and on the ultrasound you could see sweet E pushing the doctor’s hands away. But, at 11:57 PM, sweet E was born.
Picture courtesy of Keepsake Kreations (my dear sweet friend)
I was changed forever.
I hope you will forgive some sentimentality today. I just look at these two beautiful children that I have been blessed with, and my heart grows. They have made me a better, wiser, more patient, less self-centered being. So, in their honor today I want to share five things I have learned in five years. Five things that have changed how I view life forever.
1. We are each unique and beautiful children of God. Having twins is a fun and unique blessing. I always wondered how similar they would be. Would they like the same toys? Clothes? Food? As my little ones grow, I see that they came with their own spirit and personality. They are different. They are individual. They came that way. No matter how similarly I nurture them, their nature is different and unique. This confirms to me that we all come with unique and beautiful traits. These are gifts that we are given to make it through life.
2. Being a parent is the hardest, longest, most heart-wrenching and ultimately fulfilling jobs I have ever had. I didn’t know you could still go to work, change diapers, breastfeed, and maintain a piece of sanity on two hours of sleep…in 10 months. LOL. Seriously though, motherhood is harder than I ever knew. But, as my heart has stretched and grown, I realize that love can take you through a lot of things. Love is a healer. Love is a motivator. Love changes you. I know I am just at the very beginning of my mothering years (and believe me, I am not naive about it) but I know that those five minutes, and these five years have changed my heart forever.
3. It isn’t all about me. Once those babies were here, I realized it wasn’t about my time schedule or my needs. It was about taking care of them. They were helpless. They were unable to feed themselves, change themselves, clean themselves. Suddenly I was immersed in a world of “other”. From being single for nearly 30 years, to being a couple for several years, suddenly I was the one someone was relying on. I was the one that was truly needed. It was overwhelming and inspiring all at once. I mattered to these little ones because they needed me. No one had ever needed me in that totally dependent way before. Even as they have grown and changed and become a little more independent, I am that person that is responsible for them. I am mom.
But this has also taught me a greater lesson. Life isn’t all about “me”. Life is about connecting, reaching out, sharing, serving, and giving to one another. That is where the true lifeblood flows. When we share, serve and connect, we broaden ourselves. There is strength in numbers. There is beauty in sharing. There is hope in connection.
4. It needs to be a little about me. Sometimes I forget this. Sometimes I don’t let it be about me until too late. I am tired, hungry, or worn thin, and then the calm life implodes. As a mom, there has to be a little bit about me. I need care. I need food. I need a minute to myself. Finding the balance is a challenge, but it is necessary.
As we go through life, I think there are times and seasons. There are times when we become the givers, and times when we need to take a little. Finding the balance and learning when to ask for help is a necessity. It is something I am not very good at, but I am working on it.
5. Gratitude grows through the struggle. I wouldn’t have said this in the moment, but hindsight has cleared my vision. Waiting, hoping, and wanting something makes receiving that something ever sweeter. It is like that first taste of really cold water after a long, long hike. It is that glimmer of sunshine after a long winter. It is the peace of relief, after the painful recovery.
We waited a long time for our little ones. Much longer than five minutes. But, once they were finally here, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for them. This has happened to me through several struggles. Once I make it through the darkness, the insecurity, and the seemingly hopeless nights, the sunshine has been even brighter to my wanting and waiting soul.
I am ever grateful for those five minutes. I am grateful for my two little ones. I couldn’t possibly ask for more.
Happy birthday, girls! Mom loves you!