When I was born, my grandma came to meet me. She looked in the nursery and saw all the babies noticing that I was the only one who had managed to get my arm out of my swaddle. In that moment, she decided I was the most gifted baby that she had ever seen and that I would have a future as an athlete. For anyone who knows me now, I may have many talents but athleticism is not one of them. When a baby is first born they are pure; we can imagine them to be anything we want. They can be astronauts, Nobel prize winners or athletes. As our children grow we learn that they are human and they face obstacles along the way to who they will become.
Over the last two years, I’ve watched my babies grow into smart, kind and funny toddlers. They learn new skills and words everyday and I love watching their joy as they explore the world around them. As I have watched them grow, I have seen them struggle with frustrations when things are hard or don’t go the way they wanted. What has been hard for me to see and acknowledge is that there are many times when Miles struggles seem greater, more unique and more frustrating.
After some introspection and time my husband and I decided to have Miles evaluated for early intervention. As a social worker, I knew I was making a good choice; as a mom I was nervous to find out if my baby was in need of extra support. Miles was approved for occupational therapy services. After his evaluation, I felt a deep sadness. I realized he was struggling and would struggle more in life as he moves forward. I NEVER want my children to struggle. I want life to be easy for them and I want to protect them from everything.
While I feel a sense of sadness, I also feel a sense of pride in noticing where my child faces obstacles and finding the tools to help him manage these obstacles. I think the sadness is not so much about this one moment as it is a realization that there will be things both internally and externally in my children’s lives that will be difficult for them. Some will have solutions and some may not. There will be things each boy will excel at and things each may find difficult. Being a twin can motivate them as they work together and learn from each other. I worry having a twin may at times highlight their weaknesses as they are often compared.
I want to take away all their frustrations, their worries and their struggles but if I do that I take away their growth opportunities and independence. What this experience has reminded me is that I can’t change their internal or external world but I can give them the tools to manage challenges with confidence. It is crucial to celebrate each of their journeys and each of their accomplishments uniquely as they may not meet all milestones at the same time. To cultivate love and empathy in our home I will teach the boys to celebrate each other rather than compare themselves.
Our lives have definitely not been free from challenges but as a family we manage them as they come. Our twins may not be pure newborns anymore but they are turning into incredible little boys who love to play, learn and love. The challenges will become greater and more complex as the boys grow. My family and I will be here to support them and to empower them. I love my guys for who they are and for the resilience and empathy I see growing within them and the love I see growing between them.