Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dear Moms of Twins...

My sweet, Batman loving, dimple faced, growling at me when he falls because he's embarrassed, little man turns 3 today. It's a bittersweet day for me. Not many moms understand the mixed bag of emotions I feel today. The happiness that he is even here, that I can squish on him and tell him I'm going to kiss his face until it falls off and he can reply "my face didn't fall off Mommy" in his growly little voice.  And for that I am eternally grateful. But I am also broken and sad. I am missing his twin. The one that didn't make it. That child should be here too. I should be squishing them and kissing their face off as well. But that child never made it out of my womb. You see, I am a mother of twins, but no one sees it.

The minute I saw that first ultrasound with two babies, I was sold. I was frightened and nervous... going from 3 babies to 5. But that is what God had in store for us. And I was excited and completely on board. We started planning. But somewhere deep in the back of my mind I knew that just because there were 2 babies in there, it didn't mean I would give birth to 2 babies. I had lost two babies between my first and second children but I continued to ignore the feeling. After all, I had already fallen in love with both of those babies, I knew where their car seats were going to go in the van. I knew how we were going to lay out the nursery with two cribs. I knew there was enough love to go around.

And when that nagging feeling came true, the one that I had completely ignored... I was devastated. How do you mourn for one child and be grateful for the other? There's no manual on that. I still hurt. There are days, especially the ones when I meet a parent who has twins, and think, that should be me. Today is another day I dance on the edge of happy and sad.

But you know what hurts the most? When parents of twins tell me how horribly hard their lives are. Now don't get me wrong, it's in our nature to complain about things being hard. All babies are hard, if yours isn't, don't tell anyone, you won't have any friends.

But I think I speak for every situation, not just having twins, when I say that when you complain about something incessantly, there is bound to be someone within ear shot that has either lost that very thing you are complaining about having, OR would give anything TO have that very thing you are complaining about.

If you take away anything from this, take away this, please take a beat and soak in how blessed you really are. You never know what others have been through or who has had it harder.  I know that is what I will be doing today. Soaking in every moment of this sweet face....

Monday, March 02, 2015

Declan sees...

A few weeks ago I was at the doctor's office, you know, like I am all the time because my kids and I have been sick constantly this winter... Declan was wheezy and the nurse practitioner decided not only did he need to go back on albuterol, but she suggested I take him to the eye doctor, naively I asked, "why?" She went into detail why she thought he might have amblyopia. Now to everyone, like me, who has never heard of that, it's kind of a lazy eye. Essentially the optic nerve on one, or sometimes both eyes, is not as strong as the other, and so the brain stops helping that one out and gives all of it's attention to the strong optic nerve and tends to ignore the lazy one. Well, the good news, as she went on to explain, is if you catch it before age five, it's correctable.


So I called and made an appointment. His eyes never seemed "lazy" like she explained, but who am I? I did however, notice, he tends to look at people sometimes out of the corner of his eyes. I thought he was just being a snarky 2 year old. The soonest I could get in was 2 weeks later.

So I took the little ones to the eye doctor while the two big kids were at school expecting full well that Declan didn't have a lazy eye. I was right. But what I wasn't expecting was for him to have severe astigmatism and farsightedness in both eyes. How severe? Well... He definitely needed glasses.

I know what you're thinking, small kids are so cute in glasses.

Not what I was thinking. I was thinking... But what about when he gets tired? He likes to rub his eyes. He likes to put his face down on your shoulder and cuddle up to you. How is he going to do that with glasses? What about as he gets older? If someone makes fun of him I will cut them. I will. You know I will. Mama Bear roared loudly inside me.

I took his prescription home and I spent the next 2 days reading and researching about small children with glasses. And this was after spending that entire first day looking for frames for his teensy face at multiple places only to find that no one carried anything small enough for his little face that was comfortable. He HATED trying on glasses. Absolutely hated it. And if he hated trying them on, how was I going to get him to keep them on? A couple of days later, emotionally spent, I decided to put his prescription into an online simulator that helps you understand how poor your child's vision is. As soon as I pressed enter and the blurry photo popped up, I was broken. It was like one of those movies... you know the ones... where the lady accidentally gets pregnant and refuses to believe the pregnancy test she takes so she takes like 30 of them looking at each one in disbelief. I just kept finding more simulators and putting in his RX and getting more and more upset.

How could his vision be THIS bad?

How could I have not noticed?

And then it all hit me at once like a tidal wave... All the times he fell over, ran into things, put his face up close to look at things, fell off of things, why didn't I see it before?

Then the tears came.

He has never seen me. He's never REALLY seen me. He's only seen a blurry colored version of what he thinks is me.

I couldn't get glasses ordered soon enough. I wanted him to see me. I wanted him to see everything. I researched for an entire day and then a friend led me to blog a mother wrote about her son, Noah and she found Tomato Frames to be the best fit for him. I checked them out, they're rad, they have a cool nose pad, (the reason why the glasses kept falling off his face) they're indestructible, and they have a removable strap in the back. And the best part, I found a frame that comes in what Declan would call "Batman symbol colors." The only downside is they are coming from overseas and it's gonna be a while.

So we went into Walmart to get a cheap pair to get us by until then. A really not so nice lady told me the pair we picked wouldn't fit his face and then didn't help us in any way to pick another pair. So when the pair we did get finally came in and we went to pick them up the next week, we had no clue that because the lenses he needed were so thick, it bent the frames outward and made them too wide for his face and no longer fit. It was a total nightmare. Our 2 year old was completely agitated to say the least. So we left, empty handed and my heart sunk.

It's been a few days and I have since tried to channel Elsa and let it go. I realized that he's gone 2 1/2 years without being able to see, what's a few more weeks right? It'll be okay. But then Declan, Lucy and I decided to take a trip to the Northwest Arkansas Mall today while the big kids were in school. And guess what was the first store we happened upon as we walked in... A Lenscrafters. Did you know that Lenscrafters can get your eyeglasses done in an HOUR? I didn't. Until today. We thought we would make one last ditch effort and just see if they had anything. Well... God sent us a sweet angel to help us. She was THE most wonderful woman. Declan took to her right away and tried on any frames she asked. She happened to have 4 kids as well and knew exactly how to treat my little Batman. She let him scan the frames we picked and used all the right words with him.

We walked the mall for an hour as we waited.

And when we came back, Declan tried on his very first pair of glasses and this is what happened...

That moment. 
When it all changes for him.  
Be still my heart. 

We walked around the mall for an hour afterwards. He didn't want to leave. It was like he was discovering the world for the very first time. Everything was exciting. Everything was new. He saw all the little details. There were these shoes he found, Spiderman, he was so excited. Then he saw the Batman ones. And oh my gosh! They LIT up! It was amazing. 

At one point we were walking, I had his little hand in mine, Lucy was far ahead of us pushing the empty stroller. He was looking down at the ground. I asked him, "what are you looking at buddy?" 

He stops, sits down on the ground and traces the grout between the tiles and says, "these cracks here, Mommy."

He's never seen those cracks. 

And now he does.