First, they were TWINS. Then, they were twins. Now again, they are TWINS.
I have two seniors this year, you guys. Two. Twins. That means 2/3 of my children are launching. I get to play the roles of double the proud mama and double the sad almost empty nester.
There was a time, ages 0-4 or so, when I looked at the two and thought TWINS. Everything was crazy-fun-double. Double diapers, double flu, double stroller, double diaper bag, double breastfeeding (good thing we’re designed with two for that), double naptime, double bedtime kisses, double giggles.
Then, from ages 5-17, it mostly felt like I imagine any other family feels with two kids close in age. They were the same age, so we still had double birthday parties and double parent-teacher meetings where I couldn’t be in both classes at once, and other twin parenting foibles, but for the most part, I didn’t feel that same double whammy of TWINS. I felt the single, massive double whammy of being a mom of two.
Graduation day looms. In significant ways, graduation day has already passed. The twins were recently home for the final break, their last time in Djibouti as ‘children’ living under our roof. But the official graduation day is later, in July.
And now, I’m feeling it again.
Of course, we will feel it when we look at the university bills, although again, that feeling and the financial amount is similar to having two kids close in age.
But when it comes to them moving out, moving on, taking the next big leap…I’m telling you, its TWINS.
At first it was a double hello and a double addition to my life. This time, it is a double goodbye and a double subtraction.
I know, I know, they aren’t disappearing, they will still call and visit (or else!) But still, they are moving out. As they should. As is appropriate and good and I’m so stinkin’ proud of them.
But two at once…
We didn’t ease into this parenting thing and we aren’t easing into the empty nesting thing. And I’m feeling it.
I know we still have one at home, okay? Just to be clear. But back in the days of pregnancy, people said going from two children to three is a shock to the system because the kids outnumber the parents. And the kids outnumber the number of hands of one parent.
No one told me going from three children at home to one would be equally a shock.
People talk a lot about twin pregnancies and twin toddlers and twin temper tantrums. No one told me anything about twin graduation ceremonies. Its almost as if, if you survive the early years in tact and with joy, you can almost forget you have the unique blessing of raising twins.
People say, “Twins, lucky you, one pregnancy and one delivery and two babies.”
I am lucky. I’m lucky I get to be the mom to these two kids (plus another!). That’s where I lucked out. I did not luck out on delivery day or during pregnancy.
I was sick enough for two pregnancies, got enough stretch marks for two, went on bedrest for two, and delivered through two distinctly different body orifices. Yes, one was born vaginally and one was born via c-section.
Like I said, we aren’t about doing things the simple way.
People say, “Twins, two for the price of one.”
At least not when it comes to university tuition.
People say, “Twins, launching two at a time is a great transition for them.”
Okay, maybe true. For them. Maybe, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them. They aren’t going to the same school and they’ve had to wrangle for our attention while filling out applications at the same time and FAFSA passwords get mixed up and things are confusing.
And anyway, great, if it is great for them. That’s awesome. But its also sad for me, for us. At the same time, yes, it is double the joy. I’m so excited for what is next for our kids. They’re ready. All this mixed emotions. No one told me graduation would feel so much like a swirly for the heart.
Sometimes I’ve wondered if I’m being overly dramatic, if sending kids to university isn’t such a big deal. Then I listened to a podcast and a mom said that when her daughter didn’t respond to texts or phone calls after two days, she and her husband drove to her daughter’s campus and found her to make sure things were okay. This daughter was at a school twenty-five miles away.
I’m sending my kids to schools a 30-hour flight away, 7,670 miles away, give or take. On a continent they have essentially never lived on. Two kids. I don’t think I’m freaking out, this blog post is nothing. Maybe I’ll show you my freak out later, maybe that will remain private. We’ll see how brave I feel later, how vulnerable I want to be.
In any case, I think I’m allowed a period of transition and that period involves sadness and loss.