Also? OH EM GEE I GAVE BIRTH TO THESE THINGS WHEN I WAS THEIR AGE NOW.
It's a surreal feeling because they are still such BABIES.
I have been re-sharing the (mostly) same blog post on this day for about 15 years now.
Most of you have memorized this story already, but if you're new, here's the what in a nutshell:
Twins born 3 and a half months early, at 24 weeks, weighing in at just over a pound each.
Ears folded down like little weird bats; scrawny red with wizened little monkey faces, undeveloped lungs and ventilators which scarred those tiny lungs, head bleeds (Grade I and Grade IV), 6 months in NICU, first 2 or 3 Christmases and Thanksgiving in the hospital with RSV, multiple & severe disabilities including CP, MR, developmental delays; COPD, ROP, Cor Pulmonale; eye surgeries, hernia surgeries, central lines, perc lines, keloid scars from all the poking and pricking and blood drawing and transfusions; heart holes and murmurs and seizure disorders; failure to thrive and lots of other things with letters and also thrush and a tiny arm broken simply by changing a shirt.
I am convinced I have PTSD and probably so do the kids. It's been a long and challenging road for all of us - and for about 23 of the 26 years I've been doing this solo. I have not been a great mom, or even mediocre if truth be told. After all these years I still have not a single clue what I'm doing.
I mean sure, Joshua is still like a baby because he can't talk or walk or crawl or sit up alone, has to be diapered and hand fed. He does communicate pretty well when he's unhappy though! But when he's warbling to the teevee and making himself giggle...well, there's not a more delightful, happier, sweeter sound in the entire world.
And Rebecca...sometimes we're far more adversarial than mother/daughter. But I could never have asked for a better daughter. Her brother and I couldn't make it through the day- or life, really - without her help. She provides for her family without complaint. Without her help in caring for Josh, I wouldn't have made it through - she is the reason I can get a day off now and then, especially since some recent health concerns of my own. She handles her shit. She handles MY shit. (No, I do not make her handle Joshua's shit because lort knows that even turns MY stomach sometimes).
She reminds me to take my meds, she helps take my BP on the daily, she goes with me to the doctor when possible to take notes because lately I find myself easily overwhelmed. I could not be prouder or love her any more, and I can't even take credit for how she's turned out. She is caring and thoughtful and affectionate (I am none of those), she is a hard worker with an excellent work ethic, and she always knows right when I need a hug.
(although she still doesn't have a driver's license and OMG SHE IS SO LIKE MY MOTHER IN SO MANY WAYS)
At the end of the day, I recognize the struggle that both of them have made to cling to life, how they've helped raise me as a mother as much as I ever helped raise them, and I fall to my knees and thank God for their existence on this earth and in my life. I am proud to be their mother, I am grateful for the lessons they've taught me, and I love them bigger than the universe. If you know them, you're the lucky one.