I am not the most patient person. I’v never have been and quite honestly I didn’t really care. I never felt the need to take a personal quest of working on my tolerance. I was at peace tapping my foot anxiously while waiting in line, sighing loudly at someone hogging the whole sidewalk, leaning on my horn at the car in front of me sitting indecisively at an intersection.
Sure I was annoying to other people but I was quite content with my inpatient self. That was until I had the twins and suddenly having no patience slapped me in the face hard and open-handed.
Twins = Life Lessons
With twins, every day was a lesson in patience.
- The physically and mentally demanding job of breastfeeding that I expected to click instantly. It did not, driving me to tears for weeks.
- Recognizing the babies cry. Every book I read said you this would instinctively happen. Ummmm, no. Every cry sounded the same. Check box shitty, exasperated mother.
- Scheduling. Get them on a schedule, was the advice of every parent. The same schedule, was the advice of twin parents. First that took forever, whomever these parents that gloat about “my baby has been on a schedule since they came home” – FU. Plus, it is still their schedule, not mine. I had to revolve everything around them.
- Human Contact. It was a tough adjustment seeing friends Instagram feed filled with pictures of them out in sunlight whilst I was trying to figure out what day of the week it was. I was a new parent with two babies, there wasn’t a lot of venturing out alone during the windows of eating, and we basically lived in a glass house.
Let’s Go! Let’s Go!
I am not a gift is in the journey girl. Getting from A-Z without the rest of the alphabet is a priority. Clearly I have a memory and the ability to look back and see the importance of one event verse another. But when I am in it, I want it sorted now and this is an unrealistic request when parenting twins.
I expected everything to come instantly not realizing that most comes with time or your second child. Considering my second child was also my first there were a lot of frustrating days that went by. I felt like I was thrown into the deep end of the parenting pool, with twins, zero life raft and no history of having any intestinal fortitude.
Then ever so slowly I came out of the fog, around their first birthday. Just as every twin parent I met had told me and I started to realize that it was their patience with me that was giving me a lesson in humility.
Every time I was preparing for a big change in their routine I would read articles, scour the internet, prep my husband for the impending storm they were about to unleash on us and then…nothing. They would handle everything I threw at them with such grace that it was inspiring.
- I stopped breastfeeding in the middle of the night and they acted like they were too tired to feed anyways.
- Shots, I would prep their pacifier, bottle, blanket, whatever I had to soothe them. Me crying and angry at the nurse for stabbing my baby with polio and one of my guys, without a tear, would look at the nurse as if to say, “thanks, I didn’t want polio anyways”.
- I took the bottle away, they drank from a cup like they had been waiting for that day forever.
- We moved and they acted like this is where they have lived their entire one year.
- Their pacifiers went on “vacation”, they shrugged and went to bed. And there are so many other, smaller instances where the they were so much cooler than me under pressure.
Patience IS a Virtue
Now instead of briskly walking from point A to point B, I stop and smell the roses, literally. I stop so we can look at the flowers, a leaf on the ground, a squirrel in a tree, an airplane passing overhead, every truck that passes by, our own dog smelling a patch of grass. They have made me stop and look around at life.
I used to relish in the result, which is now impossible moving around with two one and a half-year olds. Walking from the car to our front door, about 12 feet, can take us up to 10 minutes. That would have almost killed me before, and sometimes still does. But now I try to stop and breathe and look at the hedges that we see every day when we leave our house and notice that today there is a leaf stuck in one of them or maybe this part of the hedge feels a bit different against my finger today or hey, there is that rock again!
Practicing patience wasn’t a learned, meditative voyage for me. It was a forced upon me. However, it has been a gift, one of the many they have given me that I will eternally be indebted to them for. Now I am the person taking up the whole sidewalk so we can marvel at a dead flower on the ground. And if you sigh at my babies because their stroller takes up most of the sidewalk, I will glare at you and most likely flip you off as you walk past me. (I didn’t say I had totally evolved.)