It’s all about perception. If you think life is hard, it will be. If you think life is unfair, it will be. If you think three kids will beat you down, they will. This isn’t to underestimate the power three children have to exhaust you in ways you didn’t know possible, but rather to examine state of mind. I was warned by some that we probably wouldn’t go out of the house much with a four-year-old and twins. I was told that we would finally have no choice but to slow down. I was advised by others that we would just do it, life would go on but it would become a new reality. I told myself (when I was pregnant) that life was over. There would be no vacations. No dinners out. No extra circular outings of any kind because I could not fathom how it was possible.
On Christmas eve 2011, nine days after having twins, I was faced with my first challenge. I wanted to take my entire family to church, to sit together and be grateful for the incredibly blessed lives we have, to be reminded that love and family are all that matters, but when I suggested it I think my friends and family thought I was crazy. Newborns and a kid at 5:30 at night in a quiet church, she must be insane! I almost didn’t do it. But my wife said yes. She knew I needed to feel like we could do things, that I didn’t want to fear the changes that were happening, that I needed a sense of normal and most of all that I don’t stop. Sleep or no sleep I like to be active. We piled in two cars and off we went to a candlelight service. With babies bundled in carriers wrapped tightly on our chests, we sat holding hands, singing Silent Night while we watched my parents help our daughter light her candle off theirs. It was in that moment that I decided I would listen to no one else but us and we would determine the “struggles.” Fear holds so much power in our lives and I wasn’t about to give in to it. So three weeks later when I was advised by another mom with a newborn that I shouldn’t go out to the dinner I was invited to because I would be exhausted the next day, I kindly listened and ignored. Off I went for one hour to say hello and feel like me for a moment. I have been “exhausting” myself for the last 6 months. All five of us jumping in the car at 6PM on a Friday for dinner and a movie, BBQ’s on Saturday, swimming all day on Sunday. Life hasn’t stopped. Sure at the end of the night I’m tired and I wonder why I push myself around so much but at the end of the day, I’d feel like a ton of bricks hit me either way so why not have fun doing it?
Why are we so precious with ourselves? Why does it have to be so hard? Why do conversations have to start with “Wow, you guys are really doing it” and “It must be so difficult, you must be so tired”? While we appreciate a stranger’s or even a friend’s acknowledgement that yeah this is fucking hard, it’s also not -it’s us. It’s our life, we have three kids. So what? Don’t rain on our parade. Life is better. Life is rich. We have been given the gift of laughter on the kitchen floor while our twins battle for toys and we cheer them on. We exchange videos via text of the adorable things that not one, not two, but all three of our children do. We need our dates, we love our dates, we celebrate our time together because it’s all ours.
So here is my unsolicited advice back to those that give it to me. Let go. Relax. Embrace the chaos. Free fall. This is my life and this is my version of jumping out of planes and I plan to enjoy it every fall, trip, toddle, jump, skip, leap, step of the way.