by Shelby Vafinis
Dear Wonderful, Energetic, Delightful, Dramatic, Exhausting 4-Year-Old Twins,
Life with you is… a whirlwind. You are so active that you hardly ever slow down for a nap anymore, even on days when every fiber of my being is crying out for one. You need me constantly, and yet you long to be so independent — often at the most inconvenient times imaginable, of course. You say so many funny things, and I know I should record them somewhere, but there’s no way I could ever keep track of them all. You try to read nearly every sign at the grocery store, and you succeed so often that it scares me a little. And when you spot “ICE,” you’re not above bursting out into a rousing rendition of “Ice Ice Baby…” which sure brings me some interesting looks!
Every day I tell you how glad I am that you’re mine. How I wouldn’t trade you two for anything in this whole world. That you are gifts to me from the hand of a good, good Father. And at night, when I sneak up to your room to check on you, I gently push your hair back from your faces and kiss your soft plump cheeks. I see your chests rising and falling, and I am just so incredibly thankful.
It’s not hard for my mind to drift back to a day not all that long ago when I sat in a waiting room, praying that we would see a heartbeat from both of you at my appointment, week after week. And then rejoicing like a crazy person every time we did.
My pregnancy with you was a wild experience. I went from wondering if I was losing a baby, being nearly convinced I had in fact lost one, and praying feverishly for God to spare the life of the baby who might still be alive in my womb. Then, finding out that there were actually two of you in there! I watched your blurry images on the screen through tears of joy, delighted to see that both of you were alive and well.
My joyful tears were suddenly replaced with desperate cries for God to save your lives, as we learned you were a particularly risky type of twins to be carrying.
Through it all, your Dad and I came face to face with the reality of God’s sovereignty in a very real way. It was nothing like we had ever before encountered. We were completely out of control of everything, just like we actually always have been, but this time the feeling of helplessness was palpable.
And then you came — suddenly, violently, frighteningly — you came, in the middle of the darkest night, at 29 weeks and 4 days. I will never forget shaking uncontrollably, praying for God to spare your lives. I was so afraid I would lose you. I would not let myself Google anything about prematurity or Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, the reason you had to come so soon. And I sure couldn’t research anything about low birth weight, because one of you weighed 1 lb 15 oz, and the other was 2 lb 14 oz. I don’t even know how long you measured — the scene was so chaotic that I never knew for sure.
(Later on I found out my mom was going through something similar with me at the time, but God graciously kept me blissfully unaware until later. The more cognizant I became, the more I found myself praying that God would spare my life and restore my health so that I would get to enjoy the great privilege of raising you two! Praise God, He did!)
Then came the eight weeks of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit life. Day in and day out NICU life.
Walking in to discover one of you was in the middle of a blood transfusion, hearing your desperate cries, and feeling totally helpless to do anything to ease your pain.
Scrubbing my hands until they were rough and ragged to avoid accidentally infecting you with something that could turn out to be serious.
Sanitizing my hands after touching one of you before I could handle the other.
Praying that today would be a good day to hold you, and your frail little bodies would be up for it this time.
Feeling confident and happy after a relatively uneventful visit, but later having the wind knocked out of me by a careless remark from a well-meaning friend about someone she knew who went through something similar, but with a devastating outcome.
Answering everyone’s questions about what had gone wrong.
Wishing so much that someone would say “congratulations” and seem a little happy, because I had just delivered two precious little ones into this world, after all, and they deserved to be celebrated. But knowing a cheery “congratulations” would ring a little hollow in light of the circumstances, and everyone in my life knew it too.
Girls, there were days when I was scared to talk to God and tell him how I really felt. You wound up having the very same condition I had prayed so hard against, and it just didn’t make sense. Sometimes all I could utter was, “Lord, just carry me through this. Get us through this.” And He was faithful through it all.
He was incredibly gracious and gentle, and I saw He truly does have the “little bitty babies in His hands.”
Little by little, you grew healthily, just as all of us were praying you would.
So once again, tonight I pause and thank God for you, with all of my heart. He has already delivered you from so much, and I know that His plans for you are bigger than I can ever imagine — and I’m your mama, so that’s truly saying something!
Those days (like today) when you wore me out and challenged me at every turn? When I rocked old sweats and a particularly questionable messy bun around the house and our lives looked far from Instagram-worthy? When I told you for the tenth time to go back to your rooms for quiet time so I could hold onto a shred of my sanity in the afternoon?
These, girls, are the most precious and most delightful days. These are the days I begged God to allow me to spend with you. These are the blessed days I pleaded with Him to enjoy, and I will savor them in all their messy, #momlifeunfiltered, far-from-perfect glory.
Now I commit to you that I will plead with Him every day to give me the wisdom and grace to raise you up to send you out.
And I will never, ever forget how blessed I am. You are my dreams come true and the most amazing tangible reminders of Ephesians 3:20.
Girls, follow hard after this God who loves you, gave Himself for you, and spared your lives here on Earth. Love Him and cling to Him, for He has taken exquisite care of you. And I’m so glad you’re mine.
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