Sunday, April 27, 2014

Still Babies

We have three sets of twins in our family. The first, Isabelle and Elizabeth are 15 today, which in our culture, marks their passage from childhood to young adulthood.

That means different things to different people, but to me it means they go from being self-focused to being world-focused, on a path to finding their own place of value and contribution, serving a purpose within the conditions around them, changing those conditions as they may see fit.

These young ladies have long been on that path, have always been kind and compassionate, thoughtful and empathetic. In practical matters, they are willing and competent cooks in the kitchen (a must in a Mexican family), nurturing and playful with babies (also a must in our family, but any really), whip smart and accomplished in school (it is gross to hold a brain, Isabelle - gross!), and eternally fair-minded and loyal. If they just keep up the good work and do nothing else, they'll be women of great substance living extraordinary lives. I'm actually expecting a bit more than that, based on who they are already.

When Isabelle and Elizabeth were babies, they insisted on being held to fall asleep - no matter that there were two babies and sometimes only one adult on duty. The family struggled with these little stinkers to make them fall asleep on their own, in their own beds. I, book-read and bossy, would constantly give my brother- and sister-in-law advice on how to handle this. (That was before I had my own twins and realized books don't know crap about babies.)

During one particularly difficult night, when my brother- and sister-in-law were out, I told my mother-in-law I'd handle it. The girls were wailing in full voice - screams that might bring the neighbors over to investigate a crime scene. I went upstairs serious and bent on business. As soon as I rounded the corner the tears stopped and when the girls could make me out in the darkness, and I them, they lifted their arms, reaching for me and - in unison as twins are wont to do - smiled "TIIIIIAAAAA".

I held them both, one in the crook of my left and one against my right arm, and rocked them until they fell asleep. Then I leaned back and slept myself. It was a good, deep sleep and when Tony shook me awake to let me know that Kim and Eddy arrived, I grudgingly gave up my sweet babies to their beds and went downstairs.

"How'd it go?" my sister-in-law asked tentatively.

"Great!" I tried not to look sleepy, "I don't know what you guys are always complaining about. Your girls are like angels."

Still are.

Happy birthday, babies.


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