During the holidays I think it is pretty customary to start thinking about all of the blessings in one’s life. As I’m sure many other families do on Thanksgiving, we go around my parent’s dining room and all 21 of us state one thing for which we’re thankful. I’m very blessed in the fact that this is a somewhat difficult thing for me to do. Not because I can’t think of something or that my siblings have stolen my thoughts on what I am thankful for, or I’m embarrassed to cry in front of my family (which happens with ridiculous regularity when I’m overwhelmed). But when I truly stop and contemplate the parts that make up my life, I come up with an abundance. This is not taken for granted, I assure you. It is difficult to take the time to think about true gratitude amidst the chaos of surviving our everyday lives.
We are starting our second year on our twin journey and as incredibly hectic as the day to day is, it has also been one of my greatest blessings. I’m very thankful that I had a relatively easy, although exhausting, 3rd pregnancy that produced our twin girls. I’m thankful that although my girls came 7 weeks early and we didn’t make it to the hospital for delivery, they were and are healthy and growing and developing at a perfectly normal rate.
I’m so thankful that our twins were not our first kids. Having prior experience raising two boys has definitely made being a twin parent easier. I’m thankful that we have such generous people who root for us and want to shower us with gifts so our unexpected expenses were much less than we anticipated. I’m thankful that our girls’ brothers love them so fiercely and even after 18 months are still willing to put up with them taking over much of our lives. I’m thankful that my husband continues to be the steadfast, loving, creative father, best friend and husband he has always been. I’m thankful that when we do decide to venture out (whether it be to family gatherings or just the grocery store) the girls, just being who they are, (twin miracles and super cute if I do say so myself!), bring as much joy to those around us as they do to our household.
I do believe that we aren’t given more than we can handle and that this whole experience is part of a bigger plan that I am not completely aware of and have little input towards. Our daughters have made us dig deep as a family and re-prioritize what family time looks like in our lives. It has been much harder this time around with having two babies to manage to stay connected with friends. That too makes me grateful as I know when we come out of our twin fog our friends will be there ready to welcome us back into the fold.
I often ponder why I was chosen to be a twin mom. I’m nothing special. I lose my temper too often, I’m lazier than I should be, not as organized as I need to be. I’d like to think that maybe I was given this blessing because I was born into, and have now created, a family that could appreciate the unique gifts we have been given.
We make it a point to try and each communicate what we are thankful for at dinner each night. It seems like a miracle to even get to the point where we put the food on the table and sit to eat. Considering my husband and I are outnumbered, the brothers take forever to wash and get ready, the sisters will demand another handful of cereal to pacify them until all are gathered. Drinks have been poured, plates assembled, dining room window blinds drawn so that we don’t feel like we are living in a fishbowl to the neighbors walking their dogs, and so on.
When we do take the time to share at least one piece of gratitude, despite all the chaos it took to get us to that point, the feeling is incredible. Hearing my child say how thankful they are for the family they have been given or the food on their plates (and occasionally actually mean it!) warms me in such a purposeful way. It makes me believe we might be on the right path to teaching them to appreciate the daily blessing of each other and to look for opportunities to reflect on what is good and worthy of gratitude in their lives.
Heather Hayner is a happily married, full-time working mom of four including a surprise set of identical twin girls. In her former life she was a lover of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, traveling, live music and book reading. She is now just happy to get dishes done before bedtime.
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The rate of twin births has risen 79 percent over the last three decades, and continues to increase. A mom of fraternal twins and a national guru on having two, Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the twin-trenches.
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