When I was little I dreamed of the day that I would hold my own, real life baby in my arms. I'd spend hours practicing motherhood with my favorite dolls. Dressing them, undressing them. Changing their diapers, feeding them, taking them to the store. I'd even drop them off at the babysitter's now and again. But I don't think any amount of practice could have prepared me for the reality of motherhood when it finally arrived.
To our surprise, at our twenty week ultrasound we learned we were going to have identical twin boys. We were absolutely floored, and absolutely ecstatic. About 12 hours later, at 2:00am, the sweating and panic set in and I began to think about the realities of what caring for two babies was going to be like. My boys are now two and a half years old and every day I ask myself, "How did I get here?" The whirlwind, the busyness, the survival, the feedings, the diapers, the tantrums, the laughter, the genuine joy, and all of the hundreds of small moments that have made up life with them so far- it takes all I have.
But I so badly want to remember these moments. More importantly, I want to be able to tell my children about these moments, so that they know where they came from, and how important they are. I want to be able to recall to my boys how surreal it was to hold their 3.5 pound bodies for the first time. Or about how we talk about the "scary" shadows on their wall every night before they go to bed. It overwhelms me to think of how to keep up with life as a family, while documenting it all at the same time. I didn't know how much energy it was going to require of me to change one thousand diapers a day, do the laundry, haul two car seats, deal with two tantrums at the same time, say hi to my husband, eat, read books, become an expert at "toddler-attention-diverting", dance in the living room, pick up food stuck to the floor, laugh and then sleep at night. Did I mention before that it takes all I have?
So, I often remind myself that just like practice and tears and trial and error taught me how to feed them both at the same time or take them to the grocery store, I will find ways to make this work too.
It helps me to let other people take pictures. When we are with friends or grandparents, I ask them to capture a picture so I can either sit and just enjoy my boy's cuteness. But I also make sure I do let myself participate in capturing their memories by take the picture or video when I find them quietly playing in an imaginary world or conversing with each other in their secret twin language (it is indeed a real thing).
It really is a balancing act. I let the laundry pile. Like, REALLY pile. Spaghetti sauce dishes are almost always in my sink. And that's okay. What's most important to me is that I don't miss these fleeting times with my boys. I will continue to let practice and tears and trial and error continue to teach me what this balance looks like.