A bunch of my former coworkers get together for dinner once in a while. I became a part of their group after I quit my job, but hadn’t had the chance to join them for a meal yet. When they were trying to arrange for a dinner date for February/March, I immediately texted my sister-in-law to see if she could watch the kids with my mom from 5pm until Bob comes home at around 7pm. She promptly responded YES to me. I was so excited! Even though I love my kids and am grateful to spend a lot of time with them, some down time away from them is so needed. Last Friday was the day. My SIL showed up before 5pm. When I left, the twins were so fascinated by the activity that she was doing that nobody paid much attention to my departure. Bunny did come to the window when I waved bye, but Okra did not even turn his head. Haha. I wasn’t sad but was actually feeling fortunate that auntie is so much fun and the kids love her. Let me just say I savored every moment at the dinner. I got to eat ramen, something that I had been craving for a long time, without little hands touching me.
Most important of all, I got to spend precious time with girlfriends chatting and catching up. My mouth hurt from so much laughing. My husband took care of the bedtime routine so I knew that the kids were in good hands. My SIL sent me a video of the kids pretending to be riding on a train that was drawn by my SIL on a cardboard box cut out. They were rocking and laughing. It seemed like they had such a great time with their super fun and loving aunt. The little time away made me miss my kids and I hugged them extra hard the next morning. For a stay-at-home parent, a little self-care such as a night out with friends is essential to my wellbeing. I feel so fortunate that I have the support to do that.
When I was in my 20s, I used to think that taking a nap was a waste of time. Life changed a bit in my 30s and my opinion also changed as I would occasionally enjoy an afternoon siesta with my husband when there was time. It was a luxurious choice and not a necessity. Fast forward to my 40s, with twins. The need of a nap has definitely shifted. In the infant stage I napped whenever they napped because of the lack of sleep at night. When the twins started to sleep through the night, I enjoyed using their nap time to do whatever I wanted to do. Once they have become mobile, the physical demand of chasing and handling them has increased drastically. Often times when they finally go down for a nap, I would not be able to function the rest of the day if I don’t lie down for a bit myself. When Bunny and Okra transitioned to two naps, I found myself needing to sometimes take a nap both times in order to have enough energy to take care of them when they were up. Their naps were from 9:30 to 11, and 2:30 to 4 or so. To me it was a bit ridiculous that I needed to nap when they napped in the morning, but the time between their wake up time and nap time was so challenging at times that a little shut-eye was really necessary for me to remain sane. My afternoon nap was almost a must, as I found myself automatically walking to my bedroom, shutting the door, closing the shades, and lying down almost every single afternoon after the kids lay down. I used to feel a bit guilty about napping because some other moms of twins don’t need to. Then I worked to get myself over feeling bad because in reality my rest and my naps help me to be a better mom and gain more patience and calmness with my kids. The last few days we started to transition the kids to one nap because Bunny had been rolling in her crib for a long time (talking about 1.5 hours) before she would finally fall asleep for her naps. To let them nap only once, we have to keep the kids occupied and awake until noonish. I get so tired for being awake with them and chasing after them all morning I need to go shut my eyes as well. I am thankful that their one nap usually lasts 2.5 hours. I shudder to think about the day when they drop their naps entirely. I hope that it doesn’t come any time soon. How do parents function when that happens???
Three years ago, I wrote this very complicated story of how my brother’s ex-girlfriend got back into my life. With our history, I was worried that my professional time with her would be very unpleasant. Everything turned out to be fine and she is a delightful human being professionally. I am talking about her now because today’s blog post has something to do with her ex-husband. He was my brother’s best friend when she cheated on my brother by being with him. (My brother is still friends with the both of them. Bless his heart.) . Their 10-year-marriage did not result in any children. She remarried and gave birth to her daughter at 42. He was single for quite a few years. Last month, he got married again at the age of 48. His new wife can’t be more than 30 years old. This is why I wasn’t too surprised when I saw a pregnancy announcement on FB from his wife yesterday. She included pictures of the two of them, the Valentine’s gifts that he lavished on her (such as flowers and an expensive purse), and an ultrasound photo with words on it that said “It’s a girl!”. My first thought was, good for them that his older sperm didn’t stop her from getting pregnant. Then my second thought was, most 30 year olds would be quite fertile so getting pregnant easily wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. Next I was thinking, maybe they struggled to get pregnant for quite some time and decided to get married once they finally got pregnant? You can’t make assumptions about people’s story by just looking at one FB post. Subsequently, I laughed at myself for my internal dialogue with myself and then realized that I did not have a single ounce of jealousy in me about this pregnancy announcement. The ultrasound photo did not bother me. Thinking back in the last year and a half, I remember how I have been feeling less and less jealous or envious of expectant moms, pregnancy bumps, ultrasound photos, or pregnancy announcements. Random pregnant ladies and little newborns don’t have an effect on me anymore. I feel genuinely happy for expectant parents regardless of how easy or hard it was for them to get pregnant. I really love this change in me, and it shows me that my life with my twins has made it possible for me to focus on them rather than focusing on others. They are more than enough for me and I don’t need to feel envious of those who can make babies easily or can carry their own babies in their bellies. I do know that not everyone feels this way even after their infertility has been resolved. This is just a little interesting observation about myself. I welcome this change as it has come about naturally and was not forced. I didn’t have to work at feeing a certain way. It doesn’t mean that I have forgotten my past. It is just that my emotions don’t have to stay there while my life is moving forward. I know some people who struggled to have babies still have these intense feelings about others’ pregnancies even after they have had their babies. Different people can feel so differently. It is good to know that it is possible to eventually lose the feeling of envy and jealousy. And it seems like I have somehow reached this point.
It’s been heartwarming to watch the kids play together more often and fight less. Despite being sick on and off, they started to give each other hugs and their version of kisses without annoying each other too much. The other day my mom and I sat on the couch saying “one, two, three, RUN!!!” in Cantonese while the two of them were running back and forth together in the living room for more than 15 minutes. Watching them run and laugh and hearing the pitter patter of their little feet, I suddenly felt tears welling up in my eyes. Being overcome with emotions was so unexpected at that moment because I have seen them run around and play together many many times. It is part of my life and I don’t always think about my past of trying so hard to have these kids. But that day I did, especially hearing the sounds of those little feet pounding on the floor. It was probably triggered by my memory of our first year trying for a baby. Bob’s best friend’s wife gave me a book she bought off of my wishlist on Am.azon as a Christmas gift. That was the month before we started trying for a baby and the book was about increasing the chances of making a baby. In her gift note, she wrote, “I hope your house will be filled of pitter patter of little feet very soon”. Little did I know that this wish wouldn’t be fulfilled without a long and trying journey with many twists and turns. I remember her note vividly and often felt a void whenever I thought about it during our TTC days. Now that we not only have one, but two pairs of these little feet running around, to say that I feel tremendously blessed and thankful to experience the moments and the joy of watching my own kids grow is an understatement. These moments of thanksgiving and blessings allow me to not take having these children for granted. Often times these little moments are what encourage me to stay calm (most of the time) and focus on the joy of watching these kids thrive despite some really hard long days full of toddler tantrums and fights. I am just so grateful.
If you know me well in real life, you would know that I don’t have any piercings on my body. Wearing earrings had never appealed to me. People used to tell me that I’d for sure change my mind for my wedding because I’d want to wear studs on that day. My wedding day was almost eight years ago and I still don’t have any piercings. My mother-in-law has been sad because she can’t give me earrings as gifts and I won’t let my baby girl get her ears pierced. After having zero desire of wearing any earrings for 44 year, I suddenly have had this itch to get my ears pierced. This idea came into my head one day a couple of months ago and I haven’t been able to shake it out of my head. Small studs on my ears suddenly sounds inviting to me. I don’t know what changed. It just came so suddenly. And then, more recently, in the last few days, I have had this urge to get a tiny tattoo maybe on my wrist or on the back of my neck. Again, if you know me well like my husband does, you’d be surprised that this even crossed my mind. But it did. And it surprises me. I have been browsing online for ideas of tiny tattoos, and I am drawn to simple designs and lines that are delicate and subtle. Maybe a few simple strokes that represent my twins and me. I don’t know what I’d get, but the desire has grown stronger and stronger. I really don’t know where all these changes come from. Maybe approaching 45 is creating some sort of emotional currents in me that need to be manifested physically? The human mind is so peculiar. I don’t know where this will lead, but I have a feeling that these urges will result in studs on my ears and permanent ink on my body. If/when that happens, I will for sure show you all.
I have been taking an online course aiming at helping women come up with the best business idea for their season of life. (Eventually I will start bringing in an income again but I will wait to write about it at the appropriate time.) One of the things that the instructor talks about is imposter syndrome, or a feeling of inadequacy or incompetence, or an utter failure or a fraud for a person’s own ability or accomplishment. Many people don’t feel that they can or will be able to start a small business to bring in money, or doubt that they are good enough for others to use their service or buy their products. I don’t actually feel like that with the business idea that I came up with because it is well within my professional field. But this word “imposter” came to my mind the other day. I have been attending a weekly bible study with my kids. I get my me time during discussion with my group of ladies and get fed spiritually with the truths that a teaching leader imparts to us. The kids get their precious time to learn about God, be loved on by their teachers, and play with their friends. Last week prior to the lecture, a video was played to us to show the importance of the children’s program to the existence of the adult bible study class. Afterwards, the lecturer asked all the mothers with little kids in the program to stand up so that the crowd could show their appreciation for their dedication in bringing the kids. I hesitated for a few seconds before I slowly rose from my seat. I felt a tiny bit uneasy and didn’t look back at the rest of the people in the sanctuary since I sat quite close to the stage. The lecture started after that and I went on with my day. However, during the quiet evening hours when I reflected back various moments of the day, I thought about the moment when I stood up as a mom to my kids and I started analyzing my emotions. Why did I hesitate and why did I feel uneasy when the leader asked the moms to stand up? Maybe sometimes I still feel like an imposter. Not all the time, but sometimes. I know that my kids are mine and I am their mother. I love them to the moon and back, and will do anything for them. BUT, the fact that I didn’t get to carry them or share my genes with them still haunts me. Not all the time, but it creeps up at moments like this. At times I do still feel insecure about it and wonder how the kids would feel about their unique history when they are teenagers or adults. I wonder if my love for them is enough for them to feel secure about their special situation being children born out of the tremendous love I and their dad have for them. Deep down, at rare moments, I do feel like a fraud, as if someday someone would come and take them away from me because I am not their real mother. This is all silly talk when I am sane and busy with a beautiful life full of chaos of raising twins, but at times this silly talk is not too silly and consumes me and makes my heart ache for the journey that I had to take in order to become my babies’ mama. Fortunately, I feel secure as their mother 99% of the time, but when that rare moment comes at an unexpected time, I am almost surprised at having these feelings. I guess these emotions will probably never completely go away.
I have 16-month-olds.
To me, that’s mind boggling. Where did the time go? Where did the babies go? You blink and they are now full-blown toddlers. They can walk, run, climb up stairs, climb on the couch, climb down the couch, climb up on a slide and slide down. They eat, throw food, have preferences, throw tantrums, play hide and seek, and hide toys from their sibling. They have a sense of humor. When did that happen?
It amazes me that not too long ago, we were yearning for a child. You blink, and we are now responsible for two human beings that need love, care, and parenting.
After our gestational carrier had her chemical pregnancy, my heart was full of doubt because I didn’t know if the remaining three embryos would become a baby for us or not. My friend A. encouraged me by telling me that things don’t change until they change. And that was right. That was over two years ago. The next transfer gave us these two kids that are meant to be in our family. One of my girlfriends has been trying to create embryos with her own eggs for a number of years and is still struggling with the idea of egg donation if none of the embryos from her own eggs worked. I share with her over and over again that I would never trade my kids with a child that shares my genes. These are mine and mine forever. I don’t want anyone else.
Some days I look at them and still cannot believe that we are so blessed to be parents of these two.
Please do not grow up too fast.