The cries are muffled at first and then grow in a slow crescendo that is anything but pleasant. One young voice first, followed by another shorty thereafter. Great. Whoever said "two is better than one" didn't have twins. I glance over at my husband sleeping soundly next to me and hate him for a moment. I think about moving around a lot in bed and "accidentally" waking him up and don't have the heart. He works hard, too. I sigh and push myself up and out of bed, tripping over a shoe on the floor and swearing out loud in the dark.
As I walk down the hallway to their room, I think about my life before babies. Oh, it was so much simpler. I went to bed when I wanted, got up when I wanted...I had a schedule. On a whim, I could meet a friend for coffee or make plans to go out with the girls on a Friday night. I could surprise my husband with a new piece of lingerie when he got home from work...sex in the kitchen, bathroom, hallway, entryway, wherever we wanted. Gone, gone, gone. I find myself so exhausted by the time 8pm rolls around that it's all I can do to give him a handjob...and that's on a good day.
I open the door to the nursery I decorated myself and peek in. Instantly, I'm ashamed about my fantasies of a childless existence. They lay in separate basinets that are parallel to each other against the wall...Thomas told me when I set up the room that it looked aesthetically strange, and I had snapped at him and told him if he didn't like it he could change it. Parallel and against the wall it stayed. So I'm not good with spacial decoration, so what? I had other things I brought to the table.
I walk over and look down at the girls, one after another. Oh, they are beautiful. Every time I look at them, I am amazed I had a hand in creating these perfect babies. They are only six months old and already look exactly like me. Well, not EXACTLY like me because they are bald and kinda look like Glow Worms from time to time...there are worse things. I bend over to pick up Grace and lift her up and away from me so I can look at her more. She is warm and smells like "baby." I coo at her softly and she smiles a slow, sleepy smile. Bringing her in to me close, I take two steps left so we can talk to Hope. Hope doesn't care at all. She is busy playing with her feet and doesn't even look up.
The chair I nurse them in is in the corner. I love my chair. It's soft and rocks easily. I sit down gently and take out my left breast to feed Grace. That's how it has gone, somehow. Grace gets the left, Hope gets the right. It just happened. Her tiny nose and mouth rest for a moment on my breast before she finds my nipple and latches on eagerly. For all the stress before they came about my fear of not being able to breast feed, it became the most natural thing in the world to me. Much like being a mom. I love it. I feel so close to them when I nurse.
As she eats, my mind wanders. I close my eyes and exhale slowly. I am blessed. I have a beautiful, caring, attentive husband and these two angels. I whisper a quick prayer of thanks and start to sing to her. Grace loves it when I sing. She stops swallowing and stares at me before she smiles and continues to eat. This one is my "mama's girl." Hope prefers her father, even at this age. When I heard I was having twins I was not surprised. I had felt I would have twin girls for years. When they told me they were identical, I was horrified. Would I be able to tell them apart? What about boys? What about The Parent Trap, dammit? Why IDENTICAL twin girls? I had to let it go, eventually. Thomas always said it would be more fun this way...what does he know?
I feel someone watching me mid-song and look up. Thomas is there in the doorway, strong and silent. He is smiling at me in that gentle way he does that melts my heart because he makes me feel like I'm the most beautiful woman in the world. I cock my head to the side and smile back, reaching out my free hand to hold out to him. He walks over, holds it, and strokes the inside of my palm. God, I love this man. While still holding my hand he leans over to look at Hope in her basinet. She stops playing with her feet and beams up at him. He lifts her up and holds her close to him, looking back and forth from me to Hope to Grace and back.
"Are you doing OK, love?" he asks me quietly.
"Are you ready for this one?"
"Yes. Let's switch."
He transfers Hope to one arm and reaches out to lift Grace from me. I think my heart might stop as I look at him with both of them. I am so proud. With one fluid, practiced motion he transports Hope to my arms.
"Wrong breast," I say with a small smile.
"There IS no wrong breast." He laughs as he reaches down and flips her around.
"Sing again," he says.
"Why?" I ask shyly.
"Because they love it. They love your voice. I love your voice. I love you. You're amazing," he says with sincere adoration in his voice.
"You're crazy," I laugh. But I sing anyway. He smiles with satisfaction, listens for a few seconds and begins to sing with me.