In a few days, my twins will be heading off to college. While they are excited and more than ready to fly the coop, I’m barely holding it together. It’s actually a cruel twist of fate—for many years of my twins’ lives, I wished they’d “hurry up and grow up,” thinking that the next stage of their lives would be easier than the stage that they were in! I’ve made no secret on this blog that I found the toddler years to be especially difficult. With two little boys running in two different directions, I was often exhausted, totally spent by the end of the day. Well, my little boys have grown in the blink of an eye (POOF!) and now they are heading out the door.
My heart is breaking. Twice.
It’s tough to say whether this is hitting me harder because two are leaving at the exact same time. Would I feel the same level of sadness if just one child were leaving for college? As my twins are the oldest, I have nothing to compare it to. But this I do know: my twins constitute a large percentage of my brood! It’s a big chunk of energy, laughter, and just plain chaos that won’t be around from day-to-day. And as much as I have complained (both here and to my husband and friends), I loved the energy. I relished the laughter. I will miss the chaos.
But mostly my twins leaving symbolizes an end of an era. For the past 18 years, my life has revolved around my kids. Although I have many interests outside of the family, at the moment, I can’t remember what they are! I had an interesting life before my kids but I’m clearly at a loss as to what that was. It’s going to take some time to reinvent myself, to get back in touch with the former Christina. But I need to find her.
So as I end this post, I’d like to give a bit of advice to those Moms (and Dads) out there with young twins:
- Embrace the chaos! 18 years will go by in the blink of an eye. I swear. I used to hate it when strangers would approach me in the store when my kids were acting up, saying, “Enjoy it now because before you know it, they’ll be grown and gone.” It’s hard to enjoy tantrums, picky eaters, finger paint all over the living room carpet, and little boys who won’t take their naps, so instead embrace it! Learn to laugh at the craziness in your life. Takes lots of photos. Shoot lots of videos. At the very least, it will give you something to do instead of pulling out your hair.
- Nurture your marriage. Yes, the kids are important. Yes, they need your attention and love but so does your spouse. One day very soon the house will be quiet again and you’ll be alone with the one you married. If that relationship had been put on the back burner while the kids were young, it’s going to be a lonely second half of life. Remember why you two fell in love in the first place? Focus on that every day.
- Save your money! Sending two kids to college at once is enormously expensive! Open those 529 college savings accounts today. And save as much as you can while the kids are young and the money has a chance to compound and grow. It’s a much better strategy than saving just a bit while they are young and then amping it up when they are older.
- Finally, be selfish. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.