Yesterday I was at the post office, dropping off some packages. One was rather heavy and a bit awkward to carry, and I found myself out of breath as I heaved the whole lot up onto the counter. The postal worker, who knows me as many around town do, as "The Twin-Mom" laughed at my breathlessness and commented that I was "losing my touch". My quizzical look prompted her to go on to say that she remembered the days when I'd come in there hoisting one girl on each hip AND carrying packages. Whoa. Was I some kind of super-hero-mom or what?
Her comment gave me pause for perusing my memories. She was right. I did spend a lot of time with a child attached to each hip. Before they were old enough to really latch on to me securely by themselves, I would use two snugli packs to carry them at the same time. One kiddo on my back and one on the front. It's funny thinking back to those days. Forever anchored down by two little sweeties. Flash forward to today, and I'm free to roam as I please. I can walk and swing my arms with no fear of dropping someone, and I can bend over to tie my shoe without the worry of someone falling out of her carrier. And when I walk through a doorway, I don't have to turn sideways to avoid whacking a head into the frame! Ah, sweet freedom.
Do you know what the irony of this is? I actually miss the days of tethering. I miss carrying them around, feeling the weight of them, the reality of them, in my arms. I used to love the feel of them squeezing their arms around me in pure trust that wherever we were going, they knew I'd get them there safe and sound. They had a lot more confidence in me than I had in myself sometimes....like when I was navigating an icy patch with the two of them, terrified I would fall (and how good of a mom would I have been THEN, I ask you?). I miss that. I really do.
Some people may think I'm insane for saying that, and maybe I am strange for missing each dependency I give up as they grow more and more independent. But I can't help it. Maybe there is a part of ME who is dependent upon them. Their very existence is nothing short of a miracle. After an extremely dangerous pregnancy and near-fatal birth complications, the sheer honor I feel just to be able to hold them is palpable. The ever-present nearness of the 'other' reality, the one where one of them, or me isn't here, is a constant companion for me most days. Even five years out. The shock of the whole ordeal (which perhaps I'll put into words one day), has ebbed, but never fully dissipated. Taking care of them has been, in many ways, a calming touchstone for the reality we've been blessed with. The one where we're all here. And they're growing and healthy despite everything: all the problems I had and despite being born premature.
I think I'll never be ready to just let go completely. But, I also know I have to. No kid wants a mommy hanging for dear life, do they? They'll start Kindergarten this fall (and we all know how I feel about that), and that will be a good start. And, of course, I still have now: these precious last few months of their being only ours, the duration of which we shall fill with memories galore. And I'll move on. I will. (Hopefully). And when people share their memories with me, I'll smile. Because as The Memory Keeper for Ashlyn & Caedance's childhoods, I'll always hold onto those days when things may not have been quite "easy", but they were certainly "precious".