That’s not new.
I’ve been scared this whole pregnancy. Of something going wrong. Of not bringing these babies home. Of all of the worst case scenarios.
Which is why it surprises me so much now to be scared of the opposite.
Ever since we’ve set the cribs up in the twins’ room I’ve been filled with trepidation. Partly because I’m still worried we won’t fill them. But also because I know we could. And if I dare say the words my anxious, superstitious heart begs me not to… We probably will.
Two cribs. Two babies. How did this happen? I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m still not sure I even believe we’re having twins. I know I’m not sure we’re really having even one baby who’s here to stay. I’ve spent the past 30 weeks trying to believe we could make it to the end of this pregnancy. I haven’t had the time or mental energy to imagine what comes after. And there was a time I thought we’d never get this far. But here we are…
I still feel like I’m living in a dream. A very strange mixture of a nightmare and a lotto winning fantasy. Ever since Liam died there’s been part of me wondering if I can somehow just wake up from this. That’s never completely gone away. And then on top of that is the bizarre juxtaposition of finding out we’re the one in 300+ parents who were never “supposed” to have twins, but by some fluke one potential baby decided to split into two. (How weird is that?) Surely, this couldn’t really be my life. Dreams are supposed to be insane and reality is supposed to be boring, right?
I don’t think you ever forget the image you first had of what your life would be. I sometimes still think about my middle school fantasy–me married to a tall brunette, surrounded by our five kids, prudently and efficiently spaced apart, all by the time I turned 30. We’d live in a suburb, and we’d have no pets… well maybe a cat. I’d be a full-time stay at home mom, no thoughts of a career had crossed my mind at that time. Even the concept of a husband was fuzzy in my middle school mind. All I really wanted was be with my kids. No thought to who those people were, their existence was all I needed.
Of course the first thing about my fantasy to change was K. I remember realizing shortly after marriage how different K was from my fantasy, and how completely clueless I’d been. K isn’t a tall brunette, but he’s more important to me than I could have ever imagined, and a better friend and supporter of me than my middle school mind could have recognized I deserved or needed. He’s literally more than I could have asked for in a husband, because I didn’t know what to ask for. I couldn’t imagine what he would be like until I met him and got blown away. So I’m not sure why I expected any other aspect of my middle school life plan to stay the same. But I did.
Losing our first baby was not part of that plan. I still don’t have the knowledge and foresight I would probably need to ever write that into my plan myself. But writing Liam in, that I would do every time, no matter how it had to happen. He’s not just a lost baby, or an unanswered future. He’s our Liam. I miss him not because he was our first chance at having a child, but for his own sake. I miss him because there will never be anyone just like him, and I wouldn’t want there to be. He’s mine and he’s my perfect little boy. And it’s all just another testament to me that for what my middle school future family picture had to offer in terms of heights and hair colors and ages and numbers, it greatly lacked the depth of love that I feel for the people in it. I never knew how much I could love a little boy in such a short time. How could I know?
And now there’s the twins. I sometimes imagine my middle school picture conjuring up a new image with each milestone I pass. Tall brunette turns into my cute K. Our dog poofs into the picture. Liam joins the picture somehow, though I feel differently about exactly how he’s represented depending on the day. Until the twins there were still at least four more bodies in there that hadn’t really changed from that original fantasy. But the image has a hard time updating to include the twins. I think it’s such a shocking change that the whole fantasy just starts to crumble a little. More pieces are based in reality now than my fantasy, and none of them are the same. Not even me. I’m a different person than middle school me thought I’d grow up into. And I’m proud of that. But the twins were the last straw–the piece of the picture that broke the fantasy altogether, in the best possible way. The piece of outrageous surprise that finally shook me into reality enough to realize I have no idea what is coming next.
I have no idea how to raise twins. I spent years preparing to have a baby of my own, but never once considered preparing for twins. That would never happen to me. (Of course, I also never prepared to parent a dead child, because that could never happen to me. And somehow I figured that out, as much as it can be “figured out” anyway.) But here they come, ready or not.
And whatever is coming after them will make its way, too. And if life continues the way it has been, I won’t be ready for it, and I’ll have no idea what it will be like.
And that’s scary.
But it’s also kind of great. My real family picture is so much more messy than the fantasy I drew up. It’s a picture of heartbreak and joy and longing and love and grief and excitement. It’s a picture of a family that came together when it could have fallen apart. It’s a picture of God’s blessings and promises. It’s a picture with growth and movement and feeling. My first picture had none of that, because it’s not something you can know until you have it.
I’m sure the years ahead will be just as messy, and some of that is really hard. I’m sure taking care of two newborns is going to be really hard. And even just feeling my belly grow for another 7 weeks is going to be really hard. But that’s how I’ve gotten the color in my picture, and it’s the only way I’ll ever add any more color to it. I’m not really any less scared knowing all this. I’m just a little more excited despite it all.