Last Saturday, my sons’ high school held their annual Mother’s Day Brunch. It was a beautiful event where we welcomed incoming freshman moms and said good-bye to outgoing moms of the senior class. The boys of the school took an active role in the affair as well. The drumline club greeted us with their rhythmic rapping as we walked into the center courtyard all decked out with colorful flowers and perfectly set tables shaded with umbrellas. The boys from the National Honors Society served us lunch as students from the drama department performed a few songs from their spring musical. Six seniors, chosen for their outstanding achievements, spoke on various aspects of school life from academics and sports to spirituality and service. (It’s an all-boy Catholic school in case you were wondering why girls aren’t mentioned.) It was all so perfectly orchestrated, filling us all with awe and thankfulness that we’ve sacrificed to send our kids here. But the highlight of the morning was when senior moms opened letters written by their sons. (Cue the sappy music.) Within minutes, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Moms, mentors and guardians quietly reached for tissues dabbing the corners of their eyes as the boys walked around the courtyard handing out long-stem roses to them. You’d have to be made of stone not to be moved by it all.
It was hard to keep my composure as I sat at my table taking it all in. Then a mom leaned in close and whispered, “Next year, you’ll be getting two letters.” It’s a thought that has been on my mind a lot lately. Sure, my sons are only juniors this year but I know that a letter from each—along with the end of their childhood—is coming soon. I’ve already joked with my boys that those letters better be written well. I wag my finger at them and say, “I don’t want the one paragraph ‘you’re the best mom’ kind of crap.” They smile. “From the heart!” I tease them, “you’d better write it from the heart!” But secretly I know any words—any hint of sentimentality—that they put to paper directed at me will turn me to mush as I’m simply not ready for them to grow up and leave the nest. Next year my heart will be broken not once but twice. (For the record, I’m tearing up now as I write this! Where are my tissues?)
Every day as I peruse the twin message boards on the Internet, I always smile at the posts from exhausted moms of newborn twins and the stressed-out moms of toddler twins. “Will it ever end?” they write. “Please tell me it gets easier,” they ask. I remember those days very well. I remember night after night stumbling my way to the nursery at 2 a.m. to tandem nurse my twins. It seemed endless. But then one day—poof—it was over and they were suddenly sitting at the table eating like big boys. And then came those crazy toddler years! They never stopped moving. They never stopped arguing over toys. As a stay-at-home mom, I often found it isolating and lonely. When it was particularly stressful, I found myself wishing away the day. But then one day—poof—it was over and suddenly they were in school. And now here I am, my 18-year lease on my twins about to expire.
Where did the time go? It’s difficult for any mom to say good-bye to her children as they leave home. If you’ve done your job correctly, it’s what’s supposed to happen. But when you’re the mom to twins, it’s doubly difficult.
So here’s my Mother’s Day message to all moms of young twins: embrace your chaos. Try to find a way to look for the funny in the ensuing insanity. I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it’s coming. And too soon for this mom.