I was unloading groceries from the van yesterday when I spied a couple at a neighbor's BBQ with infant twins. They waved. I waved. We started talking, so I crossed the street to take a peek.
They were identical boys.
Seven weeks old.
But the pang never came.
The pang that alluded me had come frequently and unsolicited as our older two children started growing up. It would start to form when I would see a mom with an infant. The "ooo"s and "awe"s would slip from my throat as I remembered how soft and delicate my children were at that age. How innocent and unaffected they were by the greater world.
How they fit so perfectly in the cradle of my arm.
Not so since the twins were born.
These babies were adorable, so that wasn't the issue.
They were even identical, just like my boys.
They were clean and sweet and sleeping peacefully.
Still, no pang.
Matthew and Jonathan have wiped the pang right out of me.
And I don't think that's a bad thing.
I adore my boys just as much as I adore my other two children.
I savored and continue to savor each stage of their development, just as I do with the other two.
But there is not a single part of me that would want to go through infancy or toddlerhood with highly active, strong, curious, creative identical twin boys ever again. Not even with a singleton. I can't even conjure up a daydream.
So when I looked at those boys, I struggled.
The "ooo"s and "awe"s that parents come to expect just weren't there, and all hope of ever recapturing them was dashed when I learned that the couple had two older children. Instead, I was flooded with memories of fear. Fear that I would not have enough love or attention for four children, especially when two were infants. Unfounded fears.
The words that came out of my mouth instead were words of encouragement, which led to questions from the parents, which led to more words of encouragement. When the natural time came to end the conversation and go our separate ways, I wasn't sure what to expect.
So I was surprised when they said, "Thank you."
"It's so nice," the mom said, "to finally meet someone who understands."
And for me, it was so nice to be understood.