When I became pregnant at 40, my husband and I were stunned. We already had two kids, we were delightfully done with poopy diapers and naptime, and, to be honest, we weren’t really interested in starting all over again. After learning that I was carrying twins, we were absolutely reeling. For the next couple of months, we laughed, we cried, and had very serious discussions about college costs, bedroom configurations, and our sanity.

When I was 14 weeks along, we figured it was time to tell our families, and at that point, we were ready. We’d finally come to terms with this significant expansion of our brood, and our shock had slowly but surely evolved into excitement. We had been given this surprise and unique opportunity to do it all over again, times two. Childbirth? Poopy diapers? Breastfeeding? No problem! We committed to relishing every baby moment and milestone.

Months later, our identical boys arrived full-term and healthy, and so we began “doing it all over again.” I’m still not sure how we survived that first year, as there are significant windows of time that I just don’t remember. But what I do remember is my husband and I regularly looking at each other and marveling at how these little peanuts had snuck into our lives. It was as if our original family of four had been gifted these two small people, and we each had an important role in raising them. We hiked with them on our backs, strolled them through amusement parks, and hung them in matching doorway jumpers. We allowed our older two kids to hold them, diaper them, and feed them. We put them to bed late, and never kept quiet as they slept. We used binkies and babysitters. Together we celebrated first smiles, words, scoots, and steps. Those baby years were some of the toughest I’ve ever had, but by far the sweetest.

As my older two kids passed through elementary school, the twins kept us from feeling too old or sentimental, as we knew that we’d be doing it all over again soon. In fact, we quite enjoyed straddling two generations of kids and parents. We were the couple who showed up late to parties so that we could put the babies to bed first. We carefully balanced potty training with soccer practice. We had gates on the stairs and outlets covered seemingly forever. Sure, we had plenty of crazed moments, but we did our best to embrace every milestone, because we knew just how lucky we were to have this second chance, and it wouldn’t last forever.

With our older two now in middle and high school, my husband and I cherish the fact that we still have cotton ball snowmen tacked to the fridge. And, two of our four kids are always excited to see us. We still get weekend morning snuggles, impromptu hugs, and Mother’s Day poems. We answer questions about Mars and slime, play War with cards, and watch the incredibly special bond between identical twins. We’ve also watched our two generations of children become one incredibly close-knit and fun-loving brood. It’s rarely quiet in our house, but we (usually)appreciate every minute of it.

My twins turn 8 in a couple of weeks, and, for some reason, this opportunity to “do it all over again” feels like it’s coming to a close. Third grade is looming, and I worry that they won’t bring home cotton ball snowmen and Father’s Day cards this year. I wonder how much longer I’ll be needed for bedtime kisses or to walks to the bus. I thought I’d trip over Lego forever. Our little peanuts are big kids now, and that makes me feel old.

And so, just as I was planning to do before I became pregnant at 40, I will move on and find myself again, this time a bit wiser, and my heart a lot fuller. My husband and I hadn’t planned on spending our 40’s raising babies, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Making it through the past 8 years feels like a victory, and we’re so glad that we were thrown back into the game at the last minute. We feel lucky that we still like each other,  thrilled to finally be done with poopy diapers and naptime, and so glad to have finally aged out of the sport.

 

Abby Helman Kelly is the owner of www.glutenfreeconnecticut.com. She can be reached at abby@glutenfreeconnecticut.com

 

 

 

 

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