10 years

8 Oct

When I was younger, I never wanted to be a mom. Some people just aren’t cut out for parenthood, people like me just don’t have kids. When I found out that I was pregnant, I was terrified. I didn’t know how to be a mother, and I certainly couldn’t be a mother to two babies at the same. I didn’t know how wrong I was, I never knew that a human being was capable of loving two people so much. I remember sitting in the NICU after they were born, watching them sleep with all the tubes and monitors hooked up to their tiny bodies, bargaining with God for their lives, praying (even though I’d never done much praying) that they’d be ok. The first time I held Kat, she looked in my eyes and I knew that she was my daughter. I looked into Kat’s crystal clear eyes, I knew that she was strong, I knew she was a fighter. When she ripped out her feeding tube twice in the first 24 hours, and I knew she would be ok. I wasn’t allowed to hold David for the first 24 hours because he was too sick. When the nurses finally let me hold my son, I sat in a rocking chair, the tubes and wires making a pile on the floor beside us. I rocked and rocked for hours. I sat whispering in his ear, telling him that he needed to be strong, that he was beautiful and wonderful and needed to fight harder. As I rocked, the doctors and nurses worked furiously to save the life of the baby in the incubator next to David’s. He was another baby born too soon, like mine. I’d had dinner with his mother in the cafeteria that evening, we’d traded war stories of the NICU, she told me about the nice nurses and the ones to watch out for. As I rocked my own son that night, willing him strength, tears rolling down my cheeks, that baby died. I don’t know his name, but I think of him often. I think of how easily it could’ve been my son. It was the first time I truly understood how blessed I was, and how maybe, just maybe being a mother was exactly what I was meant to do.

I remember vividly their first steps; Kat taking one fearless step after another. When she’d fall, she’d stand right back up again, each step more determined than the last. David hung back, anxiously watching, taking everything in. He never took that hesitant first step. He wouldn’t be rushed or talked into it, he had to do it in his own time. He waited until the time was right, until he was ready, and he ran. As I look at them today, I still see a girl who refuses to fail and who is so strong and determined. She is beautiful and fearless, and never ceases to amaze me with her strength and conviction. I still see a boy, so perceptive and inquisitive. He wants to know how things work, he makes calculated decisions, making sure that he fully understands what he’s up against. His strength doesn’t come as easily, he works at finding his courage, but he has a steely resolve and when he’s ready, he’ll do it better than you’d ever imagined possible.

Even though I’ve had no idea what I was doing, when I looked at them I knew that we would figure this out together. They didn’t need perfection, they didn’t care what the parenting books or talk shows said. They just needed me. They have taught me so, so much. I learned who I was. I learned that life really wasn’t a constant string of people waiting to hurt you. They’ve taught me that real joy and true happiness is all around you, you just need to open your eyes. No matter what has happened, ups and downs, it has always been the three of us against the world. I’ve needed them just as much as they’ve needed me. We’ve grown up together, learning together how to do this whole whole life “thing”. It may not be perfect, it may not be pretty, but it is pretty fantastic.

So happy 10th birthday to my babies, Katherine and David. I love you more than you could possibly imagine.

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