“There are two things in life for which we are totally unprepared: Twins.” – Unknwon
Ahhhh the joys and growing pains of parenting through the last few years. I waited all my life to be a Mom. It was the only thing I knew I was meant to do; it was going to be and is the utmost joy of my life… I waited the months of pregnancy out with giddy excitement, a little anxiety and a general overall palatial fear of giving birth… However, when I became a parent six years ago to our twin daughters I was frightened. I’m not kidding, when the nurse rolled them in, turned around and walked out I thought WAIT! Don’t LEAVE! But then I thought ~ I have a partner who at that time had a son, 10 years old (now 15), and he had much more familiarity at this parenting gig than I. We are two hard working, organized, educated individuals, fairly pragmatic and reasonable this should not be an issue. Then came the twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes…..and reality.
Recently as my daughter was yelling at me, as if her head was going to explode, from the top of her bunk because she wasn’t getting what she wanted I had an “AHA! Moment”. As I’m sure most parents have experienced, this wasn’t the most suitable time for this, but it was as if all the puzzle pieces went together. Why do these lightning rod moments always have to happen at the most challenging time, why not during a quiet, more meditative moment….or during a grocery shopping trip, playing at the park….etc…. not during a time when your child looks as though they may detonate pleading for whatever it was they were wanting for 15 minutes ago which right at this moment they can’t remember, but it is OH SO CRITICAL….…oh well, that’s Murphy’s Law….never a dull moment in our house. At it’s core, this is parenting; juggling and struggling, weighing options, making tough decisions, loving, hugging, caring, crying, setting boundaries, allowing failures, correcting, empowering and gentle guidance – all the while trying to maintain grace and a sense of self, as well as individuality so I am a person our girls can be proud of and look up to.
Apparently there are four types of parenting and I seem to be the Authoritative kind…One who listens and encourages opinions and independence, but sets boundaries and tries to have fair discipline. Not to be confused with the Authoritarian who is the strictest of strict – no explanation, just rules (that was my Mom). Every time I interact with all of our kids I learn more about myself and who I am. It’s amazing that when you have kids you think you know who you are….and then they bring you crashing down to reality. Being with your kids is like holding up a mirror in front of your face and saying – see that, now learn, be better, do better.
People ask me about parenting twins – I have no crystal ball and no guidance for what works best. My sister in law and I joke all the time that kids don’t come with a handy dandy manual at birth. We know a lot of parents who have twins and everyone parents differently. Whether families have one child or multiples we are all parents who share the same struggles, triumphs, epiphanies and Murphy’s Law of the whirlwind of parenting. As our girls continue to grow, I realize more and more how much I appreciate my parents and why they did some of the things they did. Why they handed down some of the, what at the time I considered harsh, punishments for my behavior. And how everything they did made me the person I am sitting here today. Even though my mother has passed, I know what her expectations and my Dad’s are; being compassionate and the best person, parent, partner and friend I can be. Our daughters have certainly brought all that and more out in me.