We celebrated Harry and Posey’s birthdays on Saturday with a few friends and family. No real theme, just her love for Frozen and his love for all things superhero, borrowed decorations, and cupcakes made by a good friend.
With the glorious Fall we’d had, I’d held out a little hope that the Saturday we’d scheduled for their shindig would be unseasonably warm. Maybe we’d get to use the deck? The swing set? But instead, like many mid-Novembers past, it was cold with snow on the ground.
Even two years later, it’s surreal to me that our kids share a birthday. It seems so strange that it worked out that way. Like there is no way any one could have scripted such a thing. Lightening never strikes the same spot twice, they say. Even there in the hospital, as Posey’s birthmom labored on, I kept thinking, surely she won’t be born today. But she was and they do, so I make two photo books and we sing “Happy Birthday” to them one at a time, our generous friends bring two gifts, and we have double the celebration.
Posey, like most little girls in America, has been swept away by Frozen-mania.
Since Harry had a Superman cape, I ordered her a cape as well, and when she had it on, it was like she was transformed into the Snow Queen herself.
Yesterday I sat and watched them as they ate their dinners and I was just so flat out overwhelmed by the thought of them; by the thought of being their mother. I shouldn’t be. It is only born out of loss—our loss and their own—that I am. But it’s miraculous to me just the same.
The years are speeding by (wasn’t he just a baby, my only baby?), and I begin to see more and more each day how my job is mostly just to stay out of their way. And I of course don’t mean that in a neglectful or lazy way, but in the way that who they are is who they are and that’s not for me to shape as much as it is for me to guide.
They are pure joy and delight and frustration and heartache, the way that we all are. Sometimes my worry for them threatens to consume me. Sometimes I have to shut it out—the articles and advice and noise that the Internet brings into all of our lives. Because for better or worse, I am their mother, and the only kind of expert I need to be is an expert on the two of them. How Harry needs to be reassured that we won’t use the hand dryer as soon as we walk into a public bathroom. How sometimes if he’s just of the edge of being upset, if I act silly and pretend that I’m going to tickle him, I can tip him toward the side of laughter instead of tears. How Posey tends to drop the first letter of a new word when she first learns it. I am her best translator. How even when her diaper is dirty she will tell me, “No, just wet.” How they are so much more capable, even at 4 and 2, than I sometimes realize, and even yet how they are still little, oh so little.
Tomorrow their other mothers will think of the November 19 that they each bore these little lives into the world. One in the very early hours of the day, before the dawn. The other into the night as the day began to tick to a close. And I will hold them, the mothers of my children, in my heart. Because they gave me a job to do: to mother their hearts who are out here in the world, walking around, growing up right in front of me.