Five years ago I was on bed rest. I spent my days searching the internet for all of the information I could find about what it was like to have a baby…two babies. Not only was the thought of raising these two children scary, so was the thought of physically bringing them into the world. I wanted to know everything about both, so I could be fully prepared. I was so incredibly terrified, and felt so absolutely alone. I wanted my mom. Someone who had been there, who knew what it was like and who could tell me it was going to be okay. Sure, I had people telling me that, but they weren’t my mom. As I researched, I made myself more terrified. The unknown was so much for me to take in. I’m planner and I’m ocd…I like controlling outcomes. And this was probably one of the most uncontrolled, uninformed situations I had ever experienced. And to say it was overwhelming was an understatement.
I used to sit there and think, “Okay, when I’m dropping them off at daycare, I’ll load them up in the stroller and take them in that way. That will be the easiest.” These are thoughts that I was literally planning in my head, and losing sleep over, prior to them even being born. And now…I laugh at those moms who use the stroller to take their kid (ONE kid) into daycare. (I’m sorry if that’s you. : \) That was a mentally prepared plan that was never executed. I carried a carrier on each arm and lugged the diaper bag over a shoulder.
But there was no amount of research or preparation that could prepare me for how life changing the entire experience was. I quickly learned that there is no preparing or planning. There is no perfection, you simply learn to go with the flow. But simply that was not. All of my compulsions and tendencies to be a neat freak, were gone. All of my worries about getting the dishes done or doing the next load of laundry were an afterthought. Once those boys were here, it was literally sink or swim. And that first year of their life was brutal. It was exhausting and overwhelming and gone in a blur. There is very little of it that I remember. Truly. I was a zombie. Sleep was precious and very short lived.
The first 4 or 5 months they ate at 5, 8, 11 and 2….every three hours. Feeding each of them, burping them, changing their diaper, getting them back to sleep and then pumping, took about 2 hours. That left about an hour to sleep until the process started over again. Brutal. It was brutal. It was exhausting and overwhelming and again, I felt completely alone. I wanted my mom. Fortunately there was very little time to take it all in and really think about what was (or wasn’t) going on. I was a robot.
Slowly, I grew accustomed to the new “normal.” Things started to become routine. I got used to the lack of sleep and I started to become less of a zombie. We’d go for walks in the neighborhood daily, but that was about the extent of our journeys just the three of us. I was afraid to go out in public with the two of them alone. What if one of them cried…or worse, what if they both did? Funny how that’s changed. My husband has never had a problem taking them both out alone, but that definitely took longer for me.
So now, as I sit here and reflect on the 5 years that have passed, I realize what a different person I am and how much those two little blessings have changed me, made me a better person. I worry less (Sure, I still worry, but it’s a lot less than what it used to be.) and love more. I’ve learned that less can be more with kids. They enjoy the simple things in life. Blowing bubbles, playing in water, taking walks…it doesn’t have to be extreme, and they have fun. Raising kids is the hardest, most rewarding experience you can ever have. When someone compliments us on their behavior, or how well they listen or they use manners, I can’t help but smile. It’s the highest compliment anyone could ever give. I thought naming them was hard. I mean, that’s something they’re going to have for a lifetime! It shapes them and molds them. But the reality is, raising them is obviously the hardest part. That is a legacy we’re raising. Those little beings are our future. I mean, no pressure at all, right?! While they are learning and growing, and becoming better people, so am I. And I’m thankful for every second of life I spend with them. Even those moments when I want to pull my hair because they just destroyed a clean room, or are fighting and picking on each other…because those moments won’t last forever. Those moments are precious and deserve to be cherished. Soak it all in. Because life is gone in the blink of an eye. Those little men turn 5 on Saturday and I feel like it was just yesterday they were entering this crazy world.