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The Scratches of Life

He lives life to the fullest.

He is our risk taker.

He wants to live every day to the max.

There is no down time for him.

He has been this way his entire life. From the first months of his life, my husband and I noticed there was something different about him. That’s the thing about having a twin sister: everything you do is compared to her. Whereas she liked to be held and cuddled for long periods of the day, he would rather be free to stretch and roll on the floor. He did not like the confines of someone’s arms when he could be roaming the floor learning to crawl.

A diagnosis of torticollis turned out to be an ironic blessing in his development because he wore a helmet on his head for 23 hours a day to help reshape his head. This provided amazing protection when he learned to walk. As he took his first steps and began to wobble around the house, I was able to breathe easy knowing his head was safeguarded from the furniture he seemed to have no fear charging into.

He has a scar on his upper lip from falling into the corner of a wall. Upon seeing the cut for the first time I, perhaps slightly overreacting, was convinced his front tooth had come through his lip, which was the reason for all the blood. Slightly freaking out, I ran outside to get my husband who was talking to the neighbors. When he came in to examine our son, and looked on the inside of his lip, he noticed there was no interior cut. The tooth had not come through. It was just a cut from the wall. This was my first clue as his mother that I would need to learn to keep a level head when assessing his injuries. This ability to stay calm and not freak out when he comes to me bleeding has served me well.

I imagine him as an adult. Of my three kids, he will most likely be the first one to sky dive, rock climb or, well, get a speeding ticket. He will attempt to do things his brother and sister will never consider. He will experience life. He will not sit passively and watch it pass him by. He will do more in one month than most of us will do in an entire year.

That will be him as an adult.

But today he is still just 4 years old. He is still just a little boy learning the ins and outs of riding a bike. And so, when he went to make a sharp turn on Friday after his older brother cut him off, he took a fall. He landed face first on the hard pavement. I wasn’t home but my husband reports that there was no shortage of tears or blood. By the time I was able to come home he was no longer crying, just iced up and sitting on my husband’s lap.

The little monkey who is usually so active and vibrant was temporarily content with cuddles and hugs while his face throbbed in pain.

I worried the fall would scare him off bikes for a while. Other moms have shared their child’s fall stories and how their kids have not touched their bikes since. My heart sank a little. My son loves his bike.  It brings him such joy. Would he ever ride as carefree as he did before his fall?

Two days later my fears subsided. He was back on his bike as if nothing had ever happened. Less than a week after the fall there was hardly any mention of the incident.

This fall is not the first nor will it be his last.  Throughout his life, he will encounter his share of scrapes and bruises. His resilience on his bike demonstrates that he seems to understand this far better than I do. I want to protect him from every future scraped knee and elbow. I want to wrap him in bubble wrap so that he’ll never be the little boy throbbing in pain with an ice pack to his lip again.

But you cannot live life to the fullest without getting a few scratches along the way.

The Story

I’ve told the story at least 100 times. I’m sure if you recorded me telling the story 10 times, I tell it using the exact same words with 98% accuracy. There are most likely errors in the story but the story has been told the same way for so long, the truth is long forgotten. Years from now, my children will tell their children this story. When you have twins, the “when did you find out it was twins?” question becomes as common as the “how did you meet?” question when talking to married couples. This is my story.

It was a Monday morning in late August and I had just found out I was pregnant a few weeks earlier. I was eight weeks pregnant and it was the day of my 8-week check-up.  The day before I had had an issue that concerned me and spent the day googling the symptoms (never good) to see if I was having a miscarriage. While my internet findings gave me results that said I could be experiencing anything from a miscarriage to a multiple pregnancy to a normal pregnancy most of what I read said that it was completely normal. I thought it was best to bring it up with the doctor anyway. She agreed that it was probably nothing but prescribed an ultrasound just for “peace of mind.”

My husband had accompanied me to the first appointment, but it was his first day of fall classes for seminary and since we were pretty confident that everything was okay I gave him my blessing to go to class as to not miss his first day. The last thing he said before he left was:

“Call me if it’s good news, call me if it’s bad news, just don’t call me if it’s twins.”

I called my mom to come with me, more to watch my son in the waiting room, but also to be there if something was wrong and I needed emotional support.

While the technician was doing the ultrasound, she was mostly quiet which made me a little nervous.  It seemed to be taking longer than it needed to. After a bit, the technician turned her screen toward me and showed me a picture and said:

“Do you know what this is a picture of?”

I had not had an 8-week ultrasound with my firstborn. The only reason I had even a remote guess at what she was showing me was because my friend had just told me she was pregnant and had shown me her 8-week “black bean” ultrasound picture. I sat up to get a better view of the two black beans that were on the screen in front of me. Hesitant to answer, I looked at the technician and then back at the screen.

“Is it, are there two of them?”

“Yes, and I saw heartbeats for both. So it looks like you have two babies in there!”

The technician went back to the waiting room to get my mom so I could share the good news. Coming back to see what she thought would be pictures of just one baby, imagine her surprise when I explained what the two black beans meant. We asked the technician a few more questions and then headed out to the car.

At this point, the appointment had taken much longer than expected. I looked at my phone and realized I has missed a call from my husband. I quickly called him back.

“Well she said she saw a heartbeat.”

“That’s great.”

“And then she saw another one.”

I could tell he was confused and then remembering his last words to me, I added,

“Sorry, I didn’t call you but you told me not to call.”

“Wait, what?”

“Twins! We are having twins!”

The rest gets kind of blurry. Family members were called. Friends were notified.  The events of the day were quickly becoming the events of the story that would be told and retold again and again.

I share this story today because my twins, the ones that were born over a month ago were originally due today.

April Fool’s Day.

And if you know them you’ll agree that this was a fitting due date for them. Because their main goal in life is to make others smile. Whether it’s trying to tell funny jokes (that are never really that funny) or singing silly songs, these two kids know how to bring smiles to everyone’s faces.

They came a little early, but they are still jokesters at heart.