The reason this is so clear in my mind is that, over the last week and a half, I've really seen the bond that siblings have. Watching Bobby and Maya, I realize that the bond they share is twins is so much greater than anything us non-twins could have. Jimmy and I are 4 years apart; my toddlerhood was over when he was born. We didnt have my formative years together, the way we would have if he were my twin. They are with each other all the time. And it shows.
If one is awake and the other is asleep, the awake one will chatter nonstop, touch the sleeping twin's face, anything to try and wake them up. (And what usually happens is that, as the sleeping one wakes, the awake one falls asleep and the game starts over in reverse!). At night, as Peter and I try to drift off to sleep, we hear the nonstop talking between them. To us, it sounds like a mishmash of sounds and grunts. But they answer one another and perfectly understand the other. A cure if one isnt sleeping well? Put the other next to them! They fall asleep and sleep so peacefully together, usually holding hands or spooning. This morning, Peter actually pushed the snugglenests together in the cosleeper so that they could hold hands. Crisis averted.
Watching them together, I cant help but be reminded of Jimmy and watching him grow up. And growing up with him. I know Peter is also reminded of Robert. Perhaps even more so, since their age difference is only 22 months.
I have no doubt that Nicholas and Sophia shared this bond in the womb. Alexander, who wasnt a twin, I believe had the benefit of his older siblings in there with him. Which I guess means these two were like quints... Not alone.
The other day, someone told me that I really have it together. If they could see the inside, they might disagree. On the outside, right now, they would see a woman, cross legged on the couch with her daughter resting on the couch next to her while she feeds her son, nestled in those crossed legs, with one hand and blogging with the other, all the while drinking on her cup of coffee. She fed babies this morning, snuggled with her hubs, showered, and made breakfast. Her house is mostly clean and laundry is caught up.
But if they could see her from the inside out, they'd see that she overcompensates (or tries to) to alleviate her guilt: her guilt of failing her miscarried babies by not giving them a chance at life; her guilt of failing her dead babies by not carrying them long enough to give them a fighting chance; her guilt of failing her healthy, happy twins by not giving them loner than a 27w5d gestation, for making their first months full of alarms and tests and needles, for no longer being able to exclusively breastfeed them. They would see her crushed heart being held together by the sheer love of all her children, by the eyes of the infant son that are looking up at her right now, by the fingers of the infant daughter that hold her like there is nothing- or anyone- else. They would see her eyes constantly searching for the children she has lost: for the eyes she never saw opened, for the laughs she never heard, for the cries she never was able to comfort.
If they could see her mind, they would see her living from moment to moment. Praying to God that this moment- this moment RIGHT HERE- wont be the last. That she will live to see her children old and, possibly, with children of their own. That when she puts her son down to feed her daughter, that he will be breathing when she returns. That her daughter will awaken when she is picked up to be changed and fed. Praying that her husband will come home to her, safely, every night until they are 100 and die together in their sleep.
They would see that she worries **something** might be wrong because her son spits up after eating if he isnt held upright for 15 minutes. That she is concerned her daughter would rather sleep a long stretch than wake up on her own to eat.
That, even though their pediatrician and their NICU doctors tell her they are perfect and fine and healthy, she worries they may be wrong.
But, of course, they dont see that person. They never will because I can keep her well hidden, behind the woman who has it together. My husband sees her because he can see past the smiles and the chores and the lists of what to do when. You see her because you understand where she is coming from and what it means to live two lives, intertwined: the life of an orphaned parent and the life of someone living so that her dead children live through her. But to the rest of the world, she is one of them. One of those mothers who seem to be able to do it all.
Because, as my dad says, I dont know how to fail.