Bob was off for the whole week last week. We were supposed to enjoy a trip to Sacramento for three nights with the babies to visit the train museum there prior to Thanksgiving. The especially bad air quality in Sacramento prompted us to cancel the trip. Instead of going, we mostly stayed home so that the babies wouldn’t have to breathe in the unhealthy air unnecessarily as they can’t wear a mask to protect themselves. Since we had two adults (Bob and my mom) at home, I didn’t have to look for extra childcare so I decided to finish the one final thing that would complete the legal process for me as a parent for the twins: adding my name to their social security accounts. Braving the smoky air outside with my mask on, I arrived 15 minutes before the local Social Security office open. The line wasn’t bad. I’d say there were about 15 people in front of me. I finally made it in and got my number at the machine. With a book in my hand, I expected to sit there for quite some time. My number got called after about 20 minutes to go to a window for check in. That means that they’d ask what your business was for on that day at the office and would call you back later to process that particular business. I was fortunate enough to get called to the window of the lady who helped us last time with the babies’ social security number applications. I briefly explained what I was there for and she remembered me. So I was asked to sit and wait. I calmly went back to the seats and opened my book. To my surprise, I got called by my name within the next 15 minutes. It had appeared that this lady decided to help me finish my business instead of letting me wait for my turn like every other person in the room. How nice of her! I had prepared in my folder the babies’ original birth certificates (without my name), babies’ updated birth certificates (with my name), petition for termination of our gestational carrier’s parental rights, and the certified copies of the step parent adoptions. The lady was typing and mumbling to herself stuff. I patiently waited. All of a sudden, she asked me if I had brought any identification to verify the babies’ identity in addition to the birth certificates, such as hospital records, immunization records, or passports. I didn’t. I actually thought about bringing the passports but decided against it. I really thought that the updated birth certificates would suffice. At that moment, I really thought that I had to return yet again to finish this process. Then I told her that I had the certificates of the adoptions. She looked in her system to check if that would do. Luckily, it was on the list of acceptable documents. Phew. And fortunately I read the documents thoroughly the night before so I knew what was what. I showed her where it said I was granted the step parent adoption and where it showed the case number that matched the paperwork. After almost 40 minutes of this, I was able to step out of the office knowing that I am legally the babies’ mother in every single sense. I can’t begin to tell you how good it feels to be legal in every way. I knew that no one could take that away from me before, but to know that I am officially on their social security record brings it to another level. It is final. And it feels good.
Almost a year ago, I wrote about being sad that my maid of honor seemed to have pulled herself away from my life ever since the twins were born. I felt that the distance was due to her having a difficult time dealing with being single and childless when my family had finally started and completed. Although I was sad, I decided to give her space. When she moved from her shared apartment into her own apartment, I went to support her on moving day. We hung out one time in March and another time end of June. Both times we had a good time. But as one of my best friends who used to celebrate my birthday on a yearly basis prior to the twins’ arrival, she did not even contact me on my birthday this year. It wasn’t so much that I was missing out on a good meal with her, but I felt a even bigger sense of loss that things did change between us. I bumped into her at church several times and each time was a little bit more than awkward somehow. I have sent her texts periodically to ask her how she is doing and to tell her that I am thinking about her. Finally back in early October when I saw her at church, I suggested hanging out for dinner one day in the coming few weeks. She agreed to it and texted a few suggestion for restaurants. I picked one and we met up one night a couple of weeks ago at a decent/early enough time because Bob was putting the twins to bed. I am so glad that I don’t take things personally and continue to reach out to her. As we sat down for dinner, it just felt like the old times. It reminded me why we were best friends in the first place. We shared a common interest for good food. Our conversation flowed with genuineness. My friend just has had a very difficult year and has been very lost in terms of her career, relationship status, ministry direction, and even her place of residence. She has been treated unfairly at her work that has left no extra time for her to even have room to breathe. She hasn’t had time to exercise or cook regularly. She hasn’t gone on a date for quite some time, and as she is approaching 40 next year, she has felt extra lost in terms of going into a relationship and starting a family. She has looked into moving to another city or even state but nothing seems like a obvious choice for her to take a plunge. She has even lost her desires to communicate with God. As I sat there listening to my friend, I could totally see why there has been a distance. In this difficult season, she just doesn’t have room spiritually, mentally, physically, or emotionally to care for other people. I know that she’ll rise above it eventually and things will look up in the future for her. She has always been strong. Although circumstances have changed between us, I feel that the core friendship hasn’t. We even made plans to go to New Orleans for a girls trip in October 2019. I am now confident that our friendship will remain strong in the years to come. The key is not to take things personally and be compassionate for the other person’s circumstances. I will continue to reach out to her and to care for her. I hope that she’ll have some clear directions in her life soon.
Because of the wildfires, the air quality has been horrible. The air inside the house made me feel sick. We decided to take the kids to the mall on the weekend so at least I could breathe better in a bigger indoor space. While sitting in in their double stroller in the food court having lunch, the babies attracted attention from a couple of groups of older ladies. This one particular group of older Chinese ladies stopped right next to us and were oohing and aahing over the kids. They said the usual things that we would usually hear from strangers when they find out that we have boy girl twins, especially Chinese old ladies. Things like:
- One boy one girl? You are so blessed!
- It’s so perfect. You don’t have to try for another one. You are done.
- You have such a good life to have such gorgeous twins.
They gave me a thumb up as if I had a choice of what kind of kids I would get. I usually just smile and nod. My husband like usual was soaking it all in. He’s super proud of his twins and often strikes up a conversation with Chinese old ladies. Chinese old ladies continued talking and asking questions, and commenting on the kids’ looks. One of them pointed at Bunny and said, “This is daddy’s girl. She looks exactly like you” to Bob. She went onto examine my looks and Bob’s looks and said, “The kids have daddy’s eyes and mommy’s nose.” I was laughing inside of me because her statement could not be farther from the reality. The kids definitely do not have my nose. But you know, people want to believe in what they see. So I still continued to nod and smile. Then she said, “Daddy is good looking, mommy is good looking, and the babies are good looking!” That made me laugh. But the next thing she did made me cringe. She thought that Okra was a girl because of his curly hair. She told me that they were two pretty girls. When she learned that he was actually a boy, she put her hand on his head and rubbed his hair back and forth a few times. I am extremely uncomfortable with strangers touching my babies, and I thought that I’d be a brave mom to speak up about it. But because these were little old Chinese ladies, I kept my opinion to myself hoping that they’d just walk away within the next few seconds. Afterwards, I beat myself up for not saying anything, but you know, it felt much harder for me to do so in Chinese than in English. You’d think that it’d be easy to speak up but no, it wasn’t. I will need to practice more so I’d feel more comfortable speaking up next time.
We are blessed that we haven’t had to spend much money on clothes for the kids as we get good quality hand-me-downs from other generous parents. For Halloween costumes that only get worn once, I wasn’t about to dump a bunch of cash on them. Ideally grandmother (my mother) would be sewing the babies’ costumes just like what she did for my niece and nephew for years and years when they were growing up. No such luck for us as grandmother is overly tired from taking care of the twins day to day. There is no extra energy for her to be creative and make something. She doesn’t even have enough energy to knit or crochet. I really don’t blame her so I turned to some other sources. The parents of multiples group that I am in has a halloween closet. It is basically four big tubs that are housed in a parent’s basement. Unfortunately I didn’t find costumes of the right size for my kids or those that I would consider cute enough to put on them. Before I went onto purchase some online, I turned to the same group to ask if anyone had matching costumes that they could pass on. The group once again came through. Somebody got these green and pink dinosaur costumes that were passed down from someone else, but she decided that she wanted to put her twins in something else. I am so glad that these were available as they were practically brand new looking and fit my babies perfectly. They were warm and the hoods were difficult for my babies to take them off (they hate hats). Bob took a day off on Halloween so that we could go join the halloween festivities at the mall as a family. One sad thing is that I can’t get a decent photo of the two of them sitting together looking cute. They still look very cute but are always on the go. I love these costumes and find them hilarious with a tail that is sticking up. What do you think?