I anticipate many visitors when the twins arrive in May. Most will be local friends who have kids so newborns most likely won’t intimidate them. I pray they will pity us and heed our desperate yet proudly silent cries for help. The visitor I’m most looking forward to is my BFF since I was six years old who will come for a few days in the very beginning to help out. She has taught me so much by example. She has three kids and is a pro at poopage scoopage, spitup cleanup, and the one-handed swaddle. She is more of a sister than a friend and is the only person I would be OK with camping out on our sofa in those first few chaotic and messy days.
Our space is so limited. We are currently renting an 1,100 sq. foot house with two bedrooms and one impossibly narrow bathroom. It is crowded enough with me, my husband, son, dogs, home office, and my stockpiling ways…G-d only knows how we will fit two more babies into the mix, much less house guests. Yet my BFF is the kind of gal that doesn’t make it more crowded. Somehow, she lightens the load, clears the space, and lifts my spirits. I can nurse, wear ratty PJs, and be covered in baby gunk in front of her without worrying about how smelly, unshowered, overtired, cranky, and generally unfit for polite company I am. With her that’s OK. She is family. She is a mom. She KNOWS.
We don’t have any relatives around and that will be difficult as we could use as much help as we can get. Unfortunately, there are huge challenges that will probably prevent my parents from making the trip. My mother and father wish they could travel from British Columbia to visit for two weeks, but I just don’t think it’s feasible. You see, my mother is in her 60’s and my father is going on 87. There are no direct flights here and it takes almost an entire day for them from door to door. The fact my dad is willing to do the trip to see my newborn children makes me so proud. But after much thought, I don’t think it’s the right thing for him, my mom, or for us. At home, he stays busy with exercise classes, friends, and poker at the senior’s center. I am worried that here, he will be bored. Aiven is a whirling dervish who doesn’t sit still for more than a minute (unless Dora or Thomas is on TV), and he does not sit and engage with anyone for very long. As for the babies…well, my dad can hold them when they are sleeping, but probably not when they are fussy, and changing diapers isn’t really his specialty to put it mildly. He won’t have his things nearby and our kitchen is small and unfamiliar to him. Getting up and helping yourself to something in the fridge in infinitely more difficult when you don’t know where anything is and there’s a flurry of babies, toddler, and exhausted parents running around.
My mom wants to help us out, but really, she needs to take care of my dad. I also don’t think that newborns are her thing. They’re not very interactive, and I think she’ll get bored. On the other hand, with some hand-holding, I think she could cook, do laundry, and take care of Aiven. And if they only stay for a week, perhaps my dad’s brain and legs won’t atrophy too badly from bingeing on TV. Since every little bit helps, it’s hard to reject my mom’s help, especially when I want my parents to meet their new grandchildren. But there’s one more intractable problem that makes their visit impossible: my dad did not like the cheap motel near our house that he stayed in last time, and nicer accommodations are further away and more expensive. They don’t drive here and we won’t be able to schlep them back and forth. I love that they want to come and help, but the logistics are just too complicated, at least for now. Something has got to give: either we move into a bigger house, my mom visits alone, everyone relaxes their standards/expectations, or our financial situation improves so we can pay for the luxuries to make their trip and visit more convenient. In the meantime, we’ll have to rely on Skype and try to figure out a compromise. I am sensitive to my dad’s age and limitation, and I want him to touch and hold his grandchildren as soon as possible. I have enough fears that I am not going to hack it as a mother and now I feel inadequate as a daughter as well.