Happy First Birthday, Samantha and Amelia!

Time. Please STOP. No really, PLEASE STOP. I remember those early, sleepless, survival-mode first weeks with Samantha and Amelia and thinking ahead to what it would be like when they were one. It seemed like an eternity away and I honestly never thought I would make it. But here we are a year later. Still alive…barely. And it all happened in the blink of an eye.

I’m not going to lie. It hasn’t all been rainbows and unicorns, especially the first three months during which I came to understand why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. I remember those late afternoons of desperately propping both screaming girls in their boppies on the bed and listening to music, dancing or just lying there with my ears covered, hoping that Jake was on his way home to rescue us.

I also won’t say that it necessarily got easier as time went on, just different. Things changed, feedings became more efficient, the girls started sleeping more at night, yes. But with the better sleeping came the challenges of keeping them entertained during the day. With simpler feedings, came introducing solid foods and all the work that came from preparing meals for them. With sitting up and then crawling, came baby-proofing the house and figuring out how to keep one twin at bay while chasing down the other. With each passing day, my strength and ability to adapt to the girls’ changing needs increased, but oftentimes, just when I felt like I had everything figured out…the girls would change up the routine and I’d be back at square one.

That said, ONE is my favorite stage yet. I know, I know–I say that about every stage! But that’s just it– with every new month comes new milestones and amazing ways in which the girls interact with me, the world and each other. That’s what has made this year so wonderful…each month has built upon the next, to the point that I find myself clinging to whatever phase the girls are currently in while simultaneously declaring I can’t wait for the next stage to begin.  I love being excited about what happens next.

I used to say that I liked teaching because it always kept me on my toes and presented some new challenge every day when I walked into the classroom. I have found the same to be true with having the girls, except times that by a billion! The challenges of the past year are what have made it so memorable. Navigating those challenges, whether the normal first-time parenting challenges, or twin-specific issues,  kept us a on a year-long roller coaster ride that, I suspect, is not over yet. It’s been fast, thrilling, and sometimes a bit scary, but overall, I can honestly say it’s been THE BEST RIDE EVER.

Then, there’s the fact that we have two birthdays to celebrate today. With all the craziness and downright HARD WORK it has taken to learn how in the world to take care of the girls, it has been the most fun we’ve ever had. Nothing compares, really. It’s hard to say what life would have been like this past year if we only had Samantha, or if we only had Amelia. It may have been easier. Or we may have been just as stressed out, being first-time parents and not knowing any different. All I know is, life is unimaginable without the two of them and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the nitty-gritty details of feeding two, diapering two, dealing with sickness times two, entertaining two, and chasing two, and forget that the fact that we have two human beings who literally began as one tiny zygote and split, creating two identical embryos, is nothing short of a miracle. The fun, the attention, the mystery behind it all is SO intense, SO overwhelming, SO wonderful, that I often feel as if I’m just going to burst into a a million happy pieces with the fun of it all.

Watching Samantha grow up is so fun. Watching Amelia grow up is so fun. But somehow, watching the two of them grow up together, knowing they have been together since the womb, makes it all the more wonderful. It’s hard to pin point exactly what makes it so amazing. It’s more than just having two cuddly babies to hold and sing to and dress up. More than the attention we automatically receive or the instant connection we have with other parents of multiples and being in the “twin club.”  It’s watching Amelia learn to crawl EXACTLY two weeks after Samantha, a pattern that began in the womb. Or seeing them sprout the EXACT same teeth at the EXACT same time. Or listening to them babble to each other in the their cribs in the morning when they don’t know I’m listening. Simply put, there’s not a day that goes by when there’s not a crazy, beautiful, mystical moment that I want to freeze and store away forever.  When I see the girls reaching out to hold hands, or hug each other, or follow each other around the house like little puppies, it’s just so much cuteness overload that I think, “How could I possibly be this lucky to be a part of this every single day?” We are so, so blessed.

I love Samantha and Amelia individually. They are unique human beings, with slightly different looks and completely different personalities at times. But I also love the girls as a pair, too. Even though all the books tell you to be careful about identifying the girls as “the twins” or calling too much attention to the fact that they are twins, their twin-hood will always be a part of their identity, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.

Of course, I hope that they feel confident in their own individual personalities and strengths, but I also hope that they take pride in the fact that they are twins. I hope it makes them feel special, because it IS special. I hope they feel blessed to have a built-in playmate, to have someone who truly understands them because they ARE them to a degree, to always have a best friend. Simply having twins is amazing…I can’t even imagine how amazing it would be to BE a twin!

We are now officially past year one and onto year two, but it doesn’t feel real. I’ve prepared myself the past month, telling myself that YES, you really have made it one year, and YES, the girls are getting older, and YES, you will miss their cute baby cheeks, but you will also fall in love with their cute toddler cheeks and their cute toddler hands and their cute toddler speech. And yet, I’m still in total denial. No, they can’t be one already. No, I was just taking them around the block for their first stroller ride. No, just a few minutes ago, I was helping them with tummy time. It can’t be, but it is.

 It feels like we are on a long hike and have just made it to a scenic overlook, awestruck at how far we’ve climbed, and looking forward to the exciting path that lies ahead. If you are thinking that this post is positively dripping with hyperbole, you are right–but I assure you, I still can’t find the words to describe HALF of the love, joy, and amazement I feel when I look back on the memories from this first year.

FIRST year. As in, there will be many more YEARS with many more adorable hand-holding twin moments, matching outfits, double the cuddles, tiny voices babbling in their own language, and so much twin magic, I just won’t be able to handle it.

Now THAT’S something to celebrate.

I love you, Samantha and Amelia. Happy first birthday, my darling angels!

Lots of love,

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