Sunday was the twin’s birthday. They turned two years old. I am really big on birthdays. My family was growing up, and I’m aware that sharing a birthday isn’t particularly fun, so I try to make a big deal of it. On their first birthday, I found myself awake at 2am making party favors for other people’s children who I knew deep down either weren’t coming, or wouldn’t want five plastic whistles from Target. I became obsessed with the idea that everything had to be perfect. That I had to project an image that we were a successful family who held beautiful Pintrest birthday parties. Of course both of my children cried throughout the entire party. They hated their cupcakes and were terrified of the “Happy Birthday” song.
Then came this year. Over the past several months, I told family and friends it would be a small affair and that I wasn’t going over the top again. And in some ways I didn’t. We kept it very small. Only family and godparents invited. But then I found myself Thursday afternoon melting down over the idea that we didn’t buy enough of the fancy hummus and only the publix brand that nobody likes. It got worse. My husband’s birthday is the day before the twins and so in addition to trying to make their party perfect, I wanted his day to be perfect as well. And for every plan I meticulously made, the universe laughed in my face. Here’s a quick list of this weekend’s failures:
Saturday am: tried to make breakfast for husband. miscalculated water to pancake mix ratio (how hard can that be) and made wet bubbly pancakes. Burned my wrist on the pan trying to lift it from the burner; son threw his plate on the floor splattering eggs on the wall and balloons I bought for my husband.
Saturday afternoon: took kids to the park to give husband the house to himself. Son ate a handful of dirt under the slide. I tried to wipe his tongue off and instead triggered his puke button. Son projectile vomits all over my face, hair and shirt. I take off my shirt and throw it away and spend the rest of the park day freezing in a tank top.
Saturday evening: I had planned and looked forward to a fall festival in the twin’s favorite park. I had dreamt of apple bobbing and strangely sized ponies available for petting. I picked perfect fall outfits for each and even waited (learned from last time) to put said outfits on until moments before we got into the car, so as to avoid soiling from food or puke. We drove over and picked up their godmother. We pulled up to the park only to see the festival shutting down and a smug park volunteer taking down the sign that read (Fall Festival: 10-2pm). It was 3:10pm.
Saturday night: I made cupcakes for the twin’s birthday and you can imagine how that went. Burned. Dropped. Wet. Bubbly. Awful.
Sunday am: the morning of their birth. I put them in the wagon and pulled them down to our farmer’s market for a surprise donut. The whole time they were literally HORRIBLE. Think screaming, hitting, hair pulling, spitting, laying on the ground refusing to get up. People looking, people grimacing with a “man, that looks really bad” face. Me glaring. Me crying. Twins crying harder. Dropped donut. In the mud. Ruined. Screaming, pulling, punching, grabbing.
Sunday afternoon: we had made plans to take a short zoo trip before the party started. This was originally one of my stupid ideas where I imagined my family strolling leisurely into the zoo on a beautiful day and my twins being unbelievably and unintentionally adorable the whole time. Incorrect. Screaming. Punching. Sweating. Pooping. Hands inside of diapers. More pooping. We returned from the zoo almost as soon as we had arrived.
Sunday evening: party time!!!!!!!
I realize that our son has an ear infection. He tugs painfully at each ear while simultaneously wailing. Guests are arriving. He is screaming. Daughter is super jealous of the attention brother is getting and begins pulling on her ears and crying. And the thing is, the ONLY person who can comfort them is me. My parents try to help. My husband tries to help. But all they want is mamma.
Sunday bedtime: I’m exhausted. I haven’t eaten all day. My hair has hamburger meat in it. After what feels like hours, I finally get everyone upstairs. My dad helps me. I ask him to leave and give me a minute alone with my babies. Who aren’t really babies anymore. But who will in a sense always be my precious, unexpected, unexplained babies. They climb onto my lap and begin sucking their thumbs, and for the first time in days, they are quiet. I hold them in my arms and inhale their warm breath and wet fingers and lavender smelling hair. I wipe frosting from my daughter’s ear. I hold them tightly against my chest and I tell them about the night they were born. About how my world changed in two minutes.
11:15pm and 11:17pm.
The greatest minutes of my life. The hardest journey I’ve ever taken. The best decision I’ve ever made. I weep softly to myself, thinking about the sound my son made when he took his first breath. I think about how tiny and soft my daughter was against my chest the first time I held her. I gasp for air thinking about the amount of love that I never knew I was capable to feel. I whisper quietly in each one’s ear.
I love you.
I love you.
It was a perfect weekend.