To my twin sons on their 8th Birthday:
Eight years ago today, right now, at 5:30 in the morning, on July 29th, I was waking up after a short fitful night’s sleep more excited than I have ever been in my entire life, because this was the day I was finally going to meet you, for real, and hold you in my arms, and I just. couldn’t. wait.
It was a hot, hot summer, kind of like this one, which has been making me think a lot of that one. At 6:30 AM when your Dad eased me into the taxi as we headed out to the hospital, it was already 89 degrees and the air was thick, promising a miserable day to come.
But I was deliriously happy, and ready to burst open with my love for you, gulping in the vibrant soupy air that would soon be traded for hospital cool.
Hospitals are strange places, white and clean and cold, and full of their own very particular ways of doing things. There’s a lot of “hurry up and wait” and we just rode it out with infinite patience, because we knew that soon, soon, soon, you would be coming out into the world, and our lives would change forever.
We were about to cross that crevasse, the dividing line between parents-to-be and parents, never to look back, always to move forward, so a few more minutes at the threshold wasn’t going to hurt.
Imagining it for so long, it is actually unimaginable when it finally comes: holding you in my arms, seeing your tiny faces, so perfect, so….. you!
They handed each of you to me so briefly, just to snatch you away again and do hospitally things with you -- big healthy boys, they needn’t have done that! But in that moment, I looked into each of your eyes, and it was love at first sight.
There was recognition: yes, this is my son; and knowledge: I will love you for the rest of my life and much as I love you now; and fierce, fierce protectiveness: I will kill or die to keep you safe without a moment’s hesitation.
And it came so instantly and so fully on that it nearly took my breath away. I had waited my whole life to meet you, and there we were, finally, face to face.
And eight years later, it’s all still there. I love you each with all my heart, in spite of your constantly trying to get me to declare I love you more, Ethan. Because that’s the wonderful, amazing thing about hearts: they defy physics. We each have only one, yet their capacity for love is infinite.
I can love you, Ethan with my whole heart, with every fiber in my being, and I can love you, Jacob with my whole heart, too, with every atom in my body.
And yet there is fully room there for your father, and for grandma and grandpa, too. (Yes, we do still love people even when they have died, that is where they live on, in our hearts.)
And yet more room still, in that little organ, for all the many others I love and will come to love: dear friends and hopefully, someday, grandchildren (but not too soon, OK?)
So Happy, Happy Birthday my boys, this marvelous journey continues ……