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My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And Now They Are Five

children mentioned...

The ChickieNob and Wolvog's birthday was spent packing. We were leaving for a wedding, leaving for a week at the beach a day later--poor planning perhaps on our part, but also somewhat out of our control. I could have packed earlier or not overscheduled us. But what was done was done.

Which meant that the whole day was filled with tantrums. Mine and theirs.

Theirs stemmed from an obvious source of frustration--the overwhelming excitement of a birthday coupled with the anticipation of the trip divided by the sadness that we weren't doing anything special on their actual day meant that I was greeted at 6:30 a.m. with snarling and whining and spent most of the day wiping tears.

Mine and theirs.

My internal tantrums (as well as the external ones that involved a lot of hissing through clenched teeth and a few threats to flush all toys down the toilet--as if I'd relish dealing with the clogging that would bring) were harder for me to pinpoint. I was sad. I was really really sad that the twins were five. When I started the blog, they were turning two and I wrote about how hard it was that they were giving up the bottle. When I asked at the end of the post: "Do the transitions get easier? Does it just become more bittersweet?" the answer is that it still feels as if someone is taking their nails and clawing them across my heart, with an absolute disregard for its delicate nature. Gouging. Ripping.

That week, Lindsay and I were making baby food together and she started crying because it was V's six month birthday too. It hurts because it goes so incredibly fast and there is nothing you can do to stop it, slow it down, hit pause. The ChickieNob walked through the kitchen at one point and helped herself to some water out of a pitcher in the refrigerator. Remember, Lindsay has known them for almost 3 years, since they were in that stage of giving up the bottle. And we both just stared at her and Lindsay finally said, "you're just so grown up."

The ChickieNob smiled at us with an expression that said, "I know."

But she couldn't possibly understand what we meant by those words; two infertile women who had been discussing moments earlier the otherwise, the what we wish would be, the what we can't control.

*******
That night, two minutes before midnight, I went into their room to spend their last seconds being four with them. I kissed them and whispered for the last time, "goodnight, four-year-old" to each of them. And then I stood between their beds and eeked out one, "please don't grow up so quickly." And then I beat it out of their room so I could cry inside my own.

*******
My mother and I took them for the first half of their scheduled vaccinations the day before their birthday. They had been nervous about the injections, but made it through with no tears. They treated their arms for the rest of the day as if they were fragile china appendages.

The next night, on their birthday, they didn't want me to remove the bandaids pre-bath, but I did my special bandage removal technique and they lived to tell the tale. The ChickieNob asked me if I had ever had an injection and I told her that I had to do a lot of injections to get her in my belly. I could even show her an old Sharps box.

"Really?" she asked with interest, even though she knew the story without the visuals.

I took down the box pre-bath and showed them the leftover needles and empty vials of medication. I had one Sharps box I never returned to clinic. I'm not sure why I'm keeping it. Truly. It's in a box in their closet, taking up space that we could use. But after we shook the box around and they commented that it was a lot of medication and needles in the bag, I placed it back in their closet.

Maybe I can't get rid of it because it's part of their babyhood. It is quite literally the tangible remains of their conception, the medications from the cycle that created them. Maybe it's the same reason why I keep jewelry I'll never wear again because it came from an exboyfriend. It's history. It's a tangible reminder of where I've been.

But they are also a tangible reminder of where I've been. And so much better than a needle or an empty vial. They give kisses, stroke hair, show me ballet moves.

*******
The ChickieNob likes to talk about the time before she arrived. She loves the story about the fairy at Disney World who waved her wand at me from the float at the moment I was saying to myself, "I wish we had a baby." She likes the story of their names, she likes hearing how hard we wished.

As she splashed in the tub after seeing the Sharps box, I said to her: "I know all parents love their children, but you can see how much we wanted you to be here so everyone could experience you by how hard we worked to bring you into the world. Which is what we mean when we tell you we love you. We love you exactly as you are because you are amazing and wonderful and because we built up extra love for you while we waited for you."

"Did you always know you would love me? Did you always know my name and know you would have a little girl and a little boy?" she asked.

"Yes, I always loved you. Even before you were here."

"But how did you know?" she insisted. "How did you know that I would be here?"

"Because I loved you with my heart before I loved you with my head."

And that answer seemed to satisfy her because she returned to her game of Ariel and Dora.

*******
It is five years later, five years of thinking about this. But it's true--I loved them when they were just an idea. When we sat on that rock in Harper's Ferry and discussed ourselves as parents and I knew that I had found the final piece of myself with Josh. My perfect peace.

I loved Josh before I knew Josh, back when he was just an idea, a promise to myself, that I would find a man who treated me as I wanted to be treated, who would help me be my best me and who would be a willing receptacle for my enormous love. When I found him, I loved him. But that love has intensified over the years and I'm almost terrified for the future--if it is this blinding, this intense, this all-consuming now, how will it be after ten more years together? Twenty more years together? At the same time, I can't wait to find out how it feels to be married to the same person for twenty years, for thirty years.

I feel the same way about twins. I loved them before they arrived and moreso when they were finally here, and love begets love until now when my feelings are so overwhelming that sometimes I can't even speak about how much I love them. That is defies words; it can only be expressed through the sound as my throat catches as I sniff their hair. I didn't know what that sound meant when I heard it from my own mother when I was a teenager, leaving for college. Now I do.

I admit, with both Josh and the twins, it is the most ordinary love. I know, we all think our loves are special. What I feel for them is both accessible to all and extraordinary in and of itself because each manifestation of love is unique. Which is what makes relationships and connections exquisite.

Which is to say imagine the people you love the most in life, the ones you could not live without. Who make your time here on earth manageable, filled with awe, ethereal. And that is how I feel about them. My husband, my children, all of our roots entangling underneath the surface more with every passing year even if above the ground, the flowers grow in their own direction.

Please don't uproot.

Please let me admire you wherever you plant your future garden.

Please don't grow too quickly.

62 comments:

ifcrossroads said...

Beautiful post!

LJ said...

It was such a heartbreakingly sweet moment when she helped herself to the water. It was as if it was both no big deal mixed with the knowledge that acting so nonchalant would blow our minds.

I remember them in highchairs. I remember them needing so much more help in terms of, well, everything. It's great that they are so independent now, but they're little people - their own people. How can that *not* make a parent cry?

Chickenpig said...

What a great post! I have a bag of meds and sharps in the back of my bathroom closet too.

My baby girl turned one year on the 31st of July. It went by so fast. It still seems like I was pregnant yesterday. I got one of those packets in the mail "Your baby is now a toddler...blah blah blah" and I lost it. She's my baby, damnit! My last one. *sniff*

Eve said...

Happy birthday little ones! Sniff, sniff. Off for some tissues now!

jill said...

Happy Birthday to your babies!

Now I'm off to find a tissue...

'Murgdan' said...

*wiping my eyes*

So sweet, and so beautiful.

Happy Birthday to them!

Vee said...

A gorgeous post Mel, it bought tears to my eyes. Yes they grow so quickly, I see how fast my nieces and nephew are growing. Keep enjoying every moment.

Gil said...

This is beautiful Mel. It makes me cherish this one and only pregnancy all the more. And I know that with each passing milestone, I too will shed tears, just as you are.

Chelle said...

Watching the children grow really is bittersweet. You don't want them to grow up and go away, yet you are so proud of them with every milestone they hit. I guess it never gets easier huh?

heyLyss09 said...

I love everything about this post.

I remember my own mother asking me not to grow up as we watched Peter Pan when I was 5 or 6 years old. I thought it was silly at the time, but guess what? I'm 22 and still a bigtime Mommy's girl!

They'll always be your little babies no matter how many years go by. Hugs!

Jen said...

Aw, I cannot believe they are so big.

Happy birthday!

Brenna said...

What a sweet, sweet post. I hope the wedding is loads of fun and the beach vacation sounds divine (despite the trials of preparing for the journey...). Enjoy!

Meghan said...

I just love this post, especially the scene at bathtime. I too still have my sharps container. At first I was too scared to part with it, that it would be jinxing things, then I got too big a belly to bring it back to the RE, and now I don't want to march in there with a baby. But I like the idea of showing it to her someday.

Happy belated birthday to the twins!!

Mrs. Gamgee said...

Oh my stars! Mel, your way with words is astounding. I was moved to tears as I read "I loved you with my heart before I loved you with my head." Thank you for sharing these bittersweet moments with us.

Brooke said...

just beautiful! regardless of all the hormones I would of been balling anyway. This put a huge smile on my face for the day :)

birdsandsquirrels said...

What a beautiful post. Happy Birthday to Chickienob and Wolvog! 5 years old, wow. What a fun age, full of rapid changes and amazing growth.
Your post brought me to tears, especially the conversation in the bathtub. I've got my sharps container high up in a cabinet in my kitchen. I'm not sure why I've been saving it, but now I know.

Care said...

A lovely post. And Happy 5th Birthday to your son and daughter.

VintageMommy said...

I blubbered all summer the year Vintage Girl turned one, blubbered the summer when she was leaving pre-school for kindergarten, and now I am unable to even grasp turning 8 and starting 2nd grade. There will be lots of tears here.

This is one place where I know I can confess all this and no one will think I'm too sentimental - thank you.

Justina said...

Wow, brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful post.

Ellen K. said...

What a lovely post. It is so bittersweet to have time slip away from you on both ends -- the waiting time of infertility, and then the stunningly quick baby and childhood time. l Happy birthday to your twins!

Minta said...

Beautiful Mel. Add me to the long list of people you've made cry today :)

Happy Birthday to the babies, too!

Kate said...

Ack, you made me cry.

"we built up extra love for you while we waited for you." I'm writing that line down an saving it for when I will one day have my own children, because its the truth. The love continues to build, that's why sometimes we ache... we're full to the brim with love.

You said your love is ordinary but special. It's true. Just because miracles abound does not make each miracle less surreal.

Katie said...

Awww- thanks for making me cry. I hope I have the perfect words to say to explain to my twins just like you did, when the time comes.

Katie said...

Awww- thanks for making me cry. I hope I have the perfect words to say to explain to my twins just like you did, when the time comes.

Sunny said...

You brought tears to my eyes. I, too, love my husband and son so much that it is scary to me. It's scary that so much of myself is living OUTSIDE of myself. I want to keep both of them in my arms every minute of every day, exactly as we are at this moment, happy and wonderful.

loribeth said...

Awwww!! (*sniffle*) Happy birthday, Chickienob & Wolvog!

Just wait until they're teenagers, 6-foot tall & going out on dates, as my nephews are now. (eek) I am working on toddler pages for their scrapbooks, & the contrast between the adorable little boys in the pictures & the big hulking giants in front of me sometimes just blows my mind. How did that happen???

Dh & I knew Katie (& that she'd be a Katie) long, long before we ever tossed away the b/c pills. She was planned for & deeply wanted, for many years. I don't think people who don't have IF issues quite understand that sometimes.

I can remember being at a training seminar my pg loss group gave for nurses, funeral home directors, etc., where the speaker was trying to explain that grief reactions are not proportionate to the gestation of the baby at the time of the loss, but the strength of the parents' attachment (i.e., the idea that a miscarriage somehow "counts" less than a stillbirth, which is less important than a neonatal death, & so on, is pure cr@p). She said she knew couples who spoke of falling in love with embryos in a petri dish, & grieved the loss of those potential babies when the cycle didn't work. Even though I never did IVF, I knew exactly what she meant.

Kim said...

Happy 5th Birthday!

Well, I didn't cry, but it was a close one. It was a beautiful post.

Gwynn said...

A truly beautiful post. I'm sitting here, at work, crying. (I should really time my blog reading better!)

I,too, have a sharps container. Actually I have all the needles that helped conceive my son. I can't part with them. I think that somehow I am worried that, as time passes, I will forget how much we struggled,and longed for him to come into this world, although I know that is completely impossible.

Goodyear Family said...

Such a beautiful post! Thank you for it.

meandbaby said...

Truly touching! Happy birthday to your little ones.

Piccinigirl said...

As always, I leave here sniffling and trying to hide tears from my coworkers...
what a beautiful post, what a gorgeous way to celebrate your children and the day they were born.

I loved how you talked about loving the idea of them, of knowing them before they got here. I feel the same way about Mr Kir and the boys. Like My heart knew them on site....

thanks for this and happy birthday to the twins!!! Look out 5 , here they come!

Jendeis said...

Bawling, sobbing. I am so fingerboarded.

Carrie27 said...

I have wanted so many times to press the pause button, but I haven't found it yet.

I'm like you and get extremely sad to see my kids turn another year older or reach another milestone. All we can do is cherish each and every moment even longer.

I enjoyed your wording for explaining how you loved the twins before they were even born, I think many of "us" feel the same.

Clare said...

Tears in my eyes... what a beautiful post. I hope to feel what you feel someday. Though I already love my someday babies too, i already know them, deep in my heart.

Nicole said...

I had to stop reading Mel...my eyes wanted to spill over.

What a wonderful birthday message for your babies--I hope you share this with them some day!

And I too love my baby in my heart already, if not in my head or my arms just yet.

Lavender Luz said...

"Because I loved you with my heart before I loved you with my head."

So well said. Wow.

JamieD said...

Wow . . . as if I wasn't an emotional mess already . . .

Beautiful post, Mel!

Beautiful Mess said...

Beautiful heartfelt post! I love every word of it.

Happy birthday to the twins and happy give-birth day to you! I hope you all enjoyed it so much!
*HUGS*

butterflyanla said...

Beautiful

annacyclopedia said...

This is so lovely, Mel. It reminds me that a while ago I was saying that while we are waiting for our children to come to us, we are still mothers in our hearts, because we are so attached to these beings long before we know how they will come into our lives. It is wonderful to hear how it feels from the other side of the waiting.

Happy birthday, ChickieNob and Wolvog. I'm one of so many people you'll probably never meet who rejoice at the miracle of your lives and your presence on the earth. Just one more tiny piece of how loved and welcomed you are as you grow up. But keep the growing slow for your mom, ok?

battynurse said...

What a beautiful post.

Cassandra said...

I don't think my doctors would approve of all the crying I'm doing reading this post. They should have added to my list of restrictions today, "No emotional content from Mel."

At today's ultrasound, I was looking at my son's looooong legs and comparing them to his father's looooong legs and jumping ahead in my mind from fetus to grown man. The long skinny legs are easy to imagine, but I can't even fathom how the rest of him (or his sister) will turn out. I've been trying to fast-forward the pregnancy until I have them safe in my arms, but once they arrive I'll be happy to slow-mo the rest of their lives.

Happy Birthday, ChickieNob and Wolvog! Hope your mom made you a wonderful cake!

luna said...

absolutely gorgeous post, mel.

and wishing a very happy birthday to the twins!

and wishing for you that they don't grow up too quickly.

Trish said...

what an incredibly bittersweet moment.
I'm sitting her weeping..

Suzanna Catherine said...

What a lovely post! Happy Birthday to your not-so-little ones.

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

Mel, what a heartfelt post. I particularly loved the description of you creeping in to whisper sweet wishes just before they turned 5. SO sweet!

Happy bday to your kiddos. :)

itsazooaroundhere said...

Thank you for such a beautiful post. Wishing the little ones a happy, happy birthday!

Io said...

Bwahhhhhh..why do you make me all choked up and wet eyed? I already love my kids, I just wish this part of their lives (where they don't exist) would go too quickly too!
Happy birthday kids!

eden said...

BEAUTIFUL post from a beautiful woman. XO

Denise said...

If my husband weren't sitting in the same room right now, I would totally be bawling. I completely identify after only 7 months and I feel like I'm reading my future. For me, it is hard to handle the milestones because before they hit those milestones, it is impossible to imagine them as anything other than what they are at that moment, so I feel completely unprepared when I look at how far they've come. Does that make any sense? At 2 months, I couldn't imagine what they would be like at 6 months and now at 7 months, I can't even picture what they will be like and how much more intensely I will love them at 1 year. So when we hit that 1 year mark, I think I will feel totally unprepared for the feelings.

Carrie said...

What a beautiful reflection of your babies' first five years. Your love for them is so massive and raw and complete: what a blessed family.

My daughter (3) asks where she was before she was in my tummy... because she cannot understand not existing. I tell her she has lived in my heart my whole life, and she is completely satisfied with that answer. They get more than we give them credit for.

I wish daily that she will SLOW down so I can savor each day a bit more. But I guess I have to do more savoring because she keeps on growing.

Clio said...

thank you for sharing that. I was weeping through most paragraphs. It must be all the hormones in my body right now as I'm stimming, but nonetheless, just to think about how immense love can be, and loving your children before they arrive, and finding the perfect man to be your partner. It's sure hard to put all this love and joy into words but you did it beautifully well.

Erin said...

Such a sweet post, and happy belated birthday to your beautiful 5-year-olds.

It doesn't get any easier at all to watch them go through the transitions. I can't tell you how much I cried after dropping P off at kindergarten on Monday. I even got sniffly when I was in Target yesterday, saw a box of diapers, and was about to pick them up when I remembered that K stopped wearing a diaper to bed last week.

How can I practically still feel P kicking inside of me when he's already going to kindergarten?

serenity said...

Aw Mel. I'm in tears here.

Beautiful. Bittersweet. Loving. Every word of this post is amazing.

And every BIT of it I feel when I look at O.

xxx

Dora said...

Magnificent post. Happy birthday to your big kids!

Glad I'm not the only nut hanging on to a sharps container. I have the container from my 10 weeks of PIO. Makes quite a racket when shaken.

Oh, yes! I have loved this little girl in my belly for a long, long time. Long before she was in my body. But my heart swells with each kick. Looking forward to introducing her to Aunt Mel next Summer. :-)

tbonegrl said...

Oh this is so beautiful! Beautiful Mel. Thank you for sharing it with us!

ryanandjoesmom said...

And now the tears are rolling down my cheeks at work. Thank you. 5 years old, it does fly. Congratulations and Happy Birthday!!!

Lavender Luz said...

Duh. I forgot to say Happy Birthday to the Wolvog and the ChickieNob.

And hugs to their mama.

jodifur said...

Happy B-day to your little ones.

What a beautiful post.

ms. c said...

So beautiful Mel. Oh.. the tears.
I can't believe the "little ones" are so old. Time flies. It's really incredible.

KLTTX said...

Beautiful post. My oldest DS just turned 6 and is starting kindergarten this year and I know that I am going to totally break down as soon as I see him off. Its so bittersweet. I am anxious to see the boy/man he will become and very excited for him but so sad that he is growing too quickly.

Anonymous said...

Happy 5th birthday. I can't believe they're that old myself. So hard to have to lose the past to move into the future, though.

Bea