To my daughters, my little girls, my endless source of joy and frustration:
My biggest hope in life was always to be a mother. I imagined holding a smiling, cooing newborn. Clapping enthusiastically when my baby took his or her first steps. Playing with dolls and building forts. Kissing boo-boos. Wiping away the tears of a first heartbreak. But I’ve come to realize that those are just the snapshots of parenthood. The reality–the film reel–is much messier. And louder. And HARDER.
Before your dad and I got married, we decided we wanted two kids. But we never would have guessed we’d have them so close together. Less than six months after holding our first little bundle of joy, we found out we were expecting again. Cue the feelings of panic, elation, and a little more panic. We were still getting used to having one baby. How were we going to take care of two? But, baby girl, although we were surprised, we loved you from the very first instant that plus sign showed up on the test. So we knew we’d figure it out.
And we did. Don’t get me wrong, the beginning was a blur of diapers and sleepless nights and tears (both yours and mine). But I can see the snapshots of the moments that got me through the hard times. Like when you two met each other for the first time in the hospital room. Walks in the double stroller, first trips to the snow and the beach, A’s hula dancing obsession, H’s laughter when reading The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!
Now that we’re through the chaos of two-under-two, I’m no longer in pure survival mode. I have more time to appreciate things in the moment, rather than just looking back at it later with nostalgia. Like when you started preschool or rode a two-wheel bike for the first time. Or when you play Candy Land together or want to sleep in the same bed.
But just because life isn’t as hard as it was when you were both in diapers, doesn’t mean it’s gotten easy. There are times when I get frustrated from the noise and the mess, the whining and the talking back. And some of those times I react poorly — shouting, shutting down, or even crying myself. Being a parent is infinitely harder than I expected. It can drain you emotionally, physically, and mentally. But that’s not an excuse. You both deserve patience and grace from me, and I promise you, sweet girls, that I am working on giving you just that.
I hope you know that although the days are busy, not one passes where I don’t look at you both in awe. A — you are a ray of sunshine. A bubbly, talkative, emotional, and sweet princess. And H — you are my hilarious, smart, loving and feisty little sour patch kid. It is at these times that I am reminded of what a gift I have been given.
When I look at your angelic little faces, I feel like my heart is going to burst from how much love I have for you. I cannot wait to see what life has in store for you and I will be cheering you on the whole way.
Love your biggest fan,