Yes ten. That’s how old the kids are today.
I can’t believe it.
Nine odd years ago, in the first few days after these bundles of infinite energy had just come home with us, I remember wondering how I would even make it to the end of the week, let alone the next so many years! The prospect was unthinkable, unimaginable, beyond unbelievable. Overwhelming.
And shameful. After all, this was what I’d signed up for, hoped for, prayed for. And I was so, so lucky. Twins. For someone who couldn’t even conceive, what are the odds?
Confused? Well, it was confusing, I can tell you that. I was lucky, but exhausted. Satisfied, but … was that depression around the fringes of what should have been fulfillment?
The days crept by. They learnt to walk. I learnt to breath (yes, I’d forgotten how, for a while there). We got by. We had fun, sometimes. We tore our hair out, a lot. We were a family, like any other. Despite the odds.
And now they’re ten. Not babies, not toddlers, not kids, not even children any more. My girls. My daughters. Almost grown up. Sometimes I can see the grown up in them – just a fleeting glimpse.
When they were small, people used to tell me, once in a way, how lucky I was to have kids that age. Time goes by so fast, they’d say. Enjoy it while it lasts, they’d say. Of course, this was from people whose kids were now in their twenties or older. Those days were safely in the realm of ancient, sepia-tinted memories to the giver of those words of wisdom. To the receiver? I didn’t feel lucky, most of the time. Given the circumstances of how our family came to be, I never forgot, can never forget, how lucky I really am. How blessed. But that doesn’t mean that I actually felt lucky all the time, every moment of every day. Does that ever happen? Can every moment of a parenting journey ever be one of unmitigated joy, happiness, and good fortune? Surely not. We all have those moments of tiredness, frustration, wretchedness, when the kids do their best to drive us up the wall and succeed.
When they were small, the problems were small, but at that moment, they were overwhelming. Toilet training for instance. Twins, remember? Tantrums. Trying to get them to just bloody go to sleep! Illnesses and war wounds. Sunday evenings spent hunting for a doctor, any doctor. And when they couldn’t properly talk… just trying to understand the need of the moment. The constant worrying – is she hot, is she cold, is she sleepy, is she hungry, is she sick, is she about to fall sick, does something hurt…
All of that’s gone away.
But who said it would be easier? That was just a hope we clung to, desperately, to get through those years. It doesn’t get easier, it just gets different.
There are the battles we fight these days, and there are the battles waiting to be fought in the years ahead. But right now I know this: I no longer worry about making it through the next week. And I can’t wait to see what happens over the next ten years… and beyond.