Oh, wondertwins. I love you. I'm just not quite sure what to do about you.
This has been the story of our lives together, really. Because I loved you from the very beginning, but our story has always been colored with a little bit of the unknown, a little (okay A LOT) of fear, a lot of hope, a lot of joy, a lot of sorrow. And mostly, I'm never quite sure which one it's supposed to be, because I am human and I have a very hard time understanding that any of those emotions can co-exist in the exact same moment. Which is actually turning into years.
You were conceived in a petri dish, so there was NEVER a second of your lives that didn't carry risk. This is absolutely true of every baby that is ever conceived, but most parents don't think of procreation in terms of odds and egg quality and the thousands of dollars it takes to employ a mad scientist (aka, a fertility specialist). We had a less than 30% chance of conceiving ONE of you, and a less than 7% chance that you would be triplets.
We were hopeful, but EXTREMELY guarded in our expectations. Enter our entire lives, thus far, together.
When my water broke with your brother Caleb, you chances for survival went WAY down. You all survived. But we lived and breathed based upon my temperature at any given hour (fever signaled infection), the number of centimeters of water in Caleb's ruptured bag, the number of contractions I had in an hour, the number of weeks we sssssssssslowly counted down with you still tucked oddly between my throat and my intestines. Twenty weeks, twenty-one, twenty two. We were still hopefully GUARDED.
Twenty-five weeks, and there you were. We met in the presence of at least 40 medical professionals. We were never alone, not for 5 whole months. If we were alone, you were not going to live.
Caleb died, and we had two horribly, painfully sick babies. Any more weakness in your lungs, any infections, and it would have been over. For weeks, the NICU was at the maximum of what it could do for you. They were IMPROVISING ways to keep you alive. You were an episode of Grey's Anatomy. Scratch that, you were an entire season.
I suppose I have always prepared for the extremes with you two. Life or death.
And I am having a wee bit of trouble with the middle ground.
Your life since the NICU has been pretty...steady. There was a small need for oxygen tanks, but you quickly outgrew them. There was the whole feeding tube debacle, which eventually, we got rid of. You crawled. You walked. You talked. You appeared to understand us. You had delays, but you made them up. You were amazing. Best case scenarios.
You started kindergarten on par with your peers. No therapy, no services, no safety net. We are trained not to be guarded, but to expect that you are ready. And I *think* I confused "ready" with never-going-to-struggle-ever. Because you're struggling, wondertwins. And I forget how to live on that end of the spectrum.
Here's the thing--the extremes, the life or death's--they require very little of me. They mean that I take a backseat to the professionals, or I cruise in auto-pilot because everything is hunky-dory. It means completely relying on the grace of God, or upon my (or your) ability to go it alone.
ALL or NOTHING.
I don't do the middle very well. You know, the living that comes between tragedy and perfection. Maybe you've realized this?
I am working to figure out how we are going to survive school together. Because you need my help, but I don't know how to give it to you. We are riding this gray wave, somewhere in the middle of everything, and I can see we are going to be here for a while. And I am trapped between expecting that you are never going to learn to read, and that you are going to complete your first novel tomorrow. And that makes me SCHIZOPHRENIC, and for that I am deeply, deeply sorry.
Kindergarten is damn hard. And now that we are struggling here, I have am having a few war-like flashbacks of the time that G spent here. TRYING to learn the English language that we all know and love, but breaking it down by letters that LOTS OF TIMES sound nothing like they are supposed to? I don't know why e's are sometimes silent, and sometimes not. I'm not sure what the difference is between a "c" and a "k". And as hard as it is for you to grasp it, please know that it is just as hard for me to explain it. Which is quite a kick in the ego, when you are 34, an English major and consider yourself a writer.
I want to be different. Better. More patient with you. Know what you need, all the time. And I want to be that mother....right.....NOW.
I don't want to have to work on it, or pray about it, or struggle with it. All or nothing. Life or death.
I am fairly certain that God is
Wondertwins, I am working on it. But this is likely the sort of thing that takes an entire lifetime, and so *hopefully* I will be less of a mess when it comes to my grandchildren.
I love you both. You are miracles, with or without a grasp on the phonetic language. And one day, when the world is run by computers and we are slaves to our iphones and the computer chips they are undoubtedly going to implant in our brains, we will all look back on this and laugh.