With my first-born daughter, Bianca, I pondered every developmental milestone. I wondered why she wasn't crawling at six months like the other kids at our library story time. I was about ready to call in a physical therapist on her first birthday after she refused to take her first steps…and believe me I tried. And don’t even get me started on the conversation I had with a speech pathologist who told me she should have five-to-seven audible words in her vocabulary before she’s 18-months-old. ‘Do ga-ga-goo-goo count?’ I thought terrified that she would never speak.
What is that old expression? – By the time you’re on your third child, you’d let them throw flaming knives off the roof…Well, that’s me with my twins. (Don’t worry, they haven’t figured out how to get on the roof… yet – and I’m not the least bit worried that means they're not bright, or strong, or developmentally on track.)
Because I learned a very valuable lesson with Bianca – She may have done things a little late, but she did them with gusto when she was ready. And now, I can’t get the girl to sit still or let me get a word in edgewise.
So with Brooklynn and Brylee, I’m not wishing for them to walk. Why? You might ask. First, I know that life as I know it will officially be over once these two girls take off…in different directions I’m sure. And second, I know they won’t be babies much longer.
Over the weekend Chuck and I did the dreaded changing of the seasons at our house where we pack up all the too-small, beat-up winter clothes and bring out the short sleeves and sandals. We have been extremely fortunate that our twins are about the same size during the same seasons as Bianca, so we have a complete summer wardrobe for our girls. As we pulled clothes out to the hot, pink Tupperware bins in our attic, I couldn’t help but get a little emotional.
“Aww,” I would say in that obnoxious, high-pitched whisper.
“What?” Chuck would ask – I’m sure wishing I would speed-up the process so we could get out of the attic sometime that afternoon.
“I remember when Bianca wore this,” I would answer.
Several of the outfits had extra sentimental value to me, because they were the clothes my mom and I picked-out for Bianca to wear on her first spring break to my in-law’s house in Alabama. Not only were they the outfits she wore the first time she felt sand in her fingertips or splashed her feet in the ocean, they were the outfits she wore on the last trip we took with Chuck’s sister, Carla, before she passed away.
As these clothes, insignificant to anyone but me, passed through my hands, to Chuck, to the laundry – I couldn’t help but be saddened by the fact that Brooklynn Rose (named after Carla Rose) and Brylee never got to meet their Aunt Carla. She was such an amazingly, positive, loving person who left this world much too soon.
I once heard someone say that every time something reminds you of your loved one who is no longer with you, it’s that person’s way of reminding you that they are always with you. So, as I pulled the last dress out of the bin and climbed down the stairs, I smiled at Carla – because even though my girls never got to meet her, I know she’s watching over them everyday.
And as Brooklynn crawled into the kitchen to try to steal some of Annie’s dog food and Brylee headed into Bianca’s room to get into her toys, I didn’t worry about my girls’ dexterity or vocabulary. I was just thankful they were still my babies – for a little while longer.