Friday, May 27, 2011

The things people say

Being a mother of twins has its plusses and minuses.

Plus: two cute faces to look at. Double the smiles. Only one pregnancy.

Minus: Double the crying babies. Double the diapers. Not enough arms.

Plus: People LOVE twins. I hear a lot of "oh look! twins!". I get a lot of nice people telling me that they have twins, are twins, wish they had twins, etc.

Minus: People say crazy things to mothers of twins. My favorites so far:

"Double trouble--uh oh, boys, too! You're in serious trouble!"
"Your life is over now."
"You must feel so lucky" (with sarcastic intonation).

I could go on, but all the variations on the same theme are not really that interesting to me. My new response is to thank them for their kinds words, tell them I do feel really lucky, and then move quickly away. I do feel lucky.

Exiting the Vortex

D's belly, N's toes

Hello world. How nice to see you again. Wow. How did so many months go by so quickly? Well, the toes and belly above have something to do with it. Funny thing about having babies: everybody says you have no idea how hard it is until you do it. And (stupidly) you don't believe what you hear. You think: well, yeah, having twins is going to be tough, but I'm a tough lady. I can handle it. And then you have two real, live, squirming, fidgeting, hungry, poopy, wonderful packages of consciousness to tend to. I could have written any number of posts about much of what I've been through in the last months: the complication that brought D and N into the world sooner than I was ready to meet them; the fact that nursing is much harder than you'd think it should be, and with twins even more so; the miracle of the first smiles we got from the babies; the funny way they laugh; their bizarre choices of favorite toy; the difficulty we have with getting them to nap sometimes; the list goes on and on. But if you want to know that stuff, you'll just have to ask me in person. Or wait for me to feel like writing about it here.

The first few months are all a blur now, anyway. They all say that, too. But it's true. Time, sleep deprivation, and an endless cycle of feedings and diapers have a way of erasing the neat borders of the days and blending them all together. It's for the best, really. No one would have children if those things were clearer in one's memory.  And I hear it just keeps getting better.

I'm writing today to remember myself--not the new, mama bear self, but the self I used to know. I'm testing out the waters out there, slowly sticking a toe into the world beyond the vortex of early motherhood. It's scary, and good.

On mother's day, I went to my regular yoga class. I spent a lot of time reconnecting with other folks in the kula, hugging my teacher, etc. I knew I missed the community, but what surprised me most was how deeply I missed the practice itself. For an hour and a half, I wasn't keeping an ear out for a baby. I wasn't using my body to carry or feed a baby, or sneaking a shower, or checking Facebook. I was just living in my bones and muscles. I felt like I'd been dipped in bliss. I dropped out of down dog into child's pose more times than I can count, and I modified the arm balances plenty. And I know it may well be another six months, or a year (or two!) before I get back to going to that class regularly. But every moment on the mat that day was precious: missing out on something so crucial to your identity makes seizing every chance so much more important. I know that my practice over the next couple years will not often involve rolling out my mat and smiling at my teacher. Yet I am grateful both for my teacher and for the years of mat-practice I've already put in. On the days when I'm doing pick-up-one-crying-baby-while-holding-the-other-asana over and over again, I can (if I'm mindful) remember that these repetitions too will bear their own fruit in time. And I can savor far better the times when I get to focus on savasana.

There's more to savor: I spent an hour last week doing yard work. That's an hour more than I've done in nearly a year. The yard is slowly reverting to a state of nature. All I did today was prune shrubs and pull a few clumps of invasive grass. An hour of sunshine, the smells of the plants (salvia and lavender, a lemon tree in bloom, and a honeysuckle), and I felt a sense of rightness in the world. Ah, I am in fact something other than a source of food and comfort! In time, I'll be able to share the world of the garden with my boys. They'll "help" me, just as my brother and I helped my mother in her garden. Yeah, insert your metaphor of choice about the cycles of life, etc. I'm too tired to come up with those words.

And then: a brief visit to Urban with babies in tow felt less like I was being drenched in bliss, and more like being on the edge of a fire--so much to start thinking about again, and so many questions of how to be fully present both there and at home. The students were excited to see the boys, and I was happy to see my students. (But they're so big! So loud!) And I'll be excited to use parts of my brain that have been lying dormant the last few months. But as I ponder the details of going back to work (how can a teacher possibly find time to pump milk during the day? What's better, to take transit so I can grade on BART, or to drive, so I can have more time with the boo boos?), I wonder how I'll be able to find balance in this new life equation: how will mom, teacher, gardener, and yogi live on in the same body? Stay tuned...