A quarter of a century.
My "babies" celebrate this landmark birthday today. I keep thinking that is not possible.
I was almost 25 when they were born, and that was last year—OK, it seems like last year. Time seems to fold into itself as it passes, making it possible for me to look into their eyes and see them as men, teenagers, toddlers, infants. All at the same time.
It bothers me when I am not with them on their birthday, and this is one of those years. Their dad and I missed seeing them over the weekend because everyone had a different schedule. A couple of us are traveling starting today and into next week, so we are putting off the official commemoration for a couple of weeks.
My husband and I are celebrating our boys in our own way today, playing "Remember when…?" via phone, text and email. Silver and gold threads of memories run through my mind, becoming the warp and weft of our sons' life tapestries—a weave of random moments that make up a beautiful, dynamic whole.
Here are a few of the images that came up in our conversation:
Hey, I know that guy: One nearly inconsolable newborn who quieted within a minute of being tucked in next to his sleeping twin on their first day at home.
Shopping saga: A young (haggard) mom pushing a grocery cart filled to the top and then some, a 3-year-old seated in the front. She drags another cart behind her that contains two baby carriers (and two babies).
Thumbs up: Two babies laying on a blanket on the living room floor and sucking each other's thumbs.
Double choking phenomenon: When one baby gagged on delicious wallpaper paste-like cereal or tasty ground up peas, his twin would gag as well—even though he wasn't eating anything at that particular moment.
Fashion by the foot: Combining two pairs of miniature Chuck Taylor high tops, one turquoise and one yellow—hey, it was the 80s—so the boys' shoes "matched," only on opposite feet.
Home sweet home: A four-year-old boy announces that he is NEVER getting married. Mom: "Why not?" Son: "Because I'm going to live with you FOREVER!"
Then there are the memories that became trophies on the mantel of family legend:
Call the cops: After a multiple-mile hike on the bluffs of Devil's Lake, Wis., on a hot summer day, a tired dad tucks an exhausted toddler under each arm to make the trek to the car. One is practically asleep by the time they get to the parking lot, but the other has more hiking to do and starts yelling, "Help me! Help me!" at the top of his lungs. Parents are grateful that people in the park laugh rather than call the police.
Blacktopped: The 3-year-old who knocked his front teeth loose after a fall on the driveway and then told the dentist, "I got blacktop on my teef." The dentist polished his teeth to shiny white—and they eventually tightened up.
Logic from the left: Although one boy was scolded for doing something, the brother—who was in the room at the time—would do exactly the same thing. Parent: "Why did you do that when I just told your brother not to?" Offending child: "But you didn't tell ME not to do it."
More logic from the left: "Why should I take hair advice from a guy who has none?" Said to the follicly challenged father, ending a passionate discussion about household hairstyling requirements—and providing amusement to the father nearly a decade later.
Blowin' in the wind: The dad drives past an 80-foot Norway pine on his way home and notices the branches swaying near the top. He stops, opens the car window and looks—realizing that the swaying is due to the presence of a 6- or 7-year-old son who climbed the tree "because he wanted to put a piece of tape at the top."
Birthdays are celebrations, but they are also mile markers—indicating where we have been and who we have become.
Happy birthday, A and E. Your mom and dad are always with you, wherever you might be.