Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On the Eve of Second Grade

Dear Isaac and Adrian,

Tonight is the eve of second grade.  You are both tucked away in your beds, asleep, ready for a fresh new school year to start tomorrow.  Adrian claims to be more “ready” than Isaac - even excited.  Isaac is very sad that summer is winding down.  We had a great one.  Tonight at dinner, with tears streaming down your face, Isaac, you claimed you don't want school to start tomorrow, because you will have to be away from home all day long, every day.  I love that you think home is so awesome.  I do, too.  Isaac, you are also worried about the mean kids at school.  You don’t want them to cheat while playing dodgeball in gym class.  You don’t want them to say mean things to you at recess about your Storm Trooper hoodie.  You said a prayer tonight asking for help not being distracted by other kids in your class when trying to complete your work or reading.  You wear your heart on your sleeve, kiddo.  I explained to you that I worried just like you before every school year for 20 years.  I’m so sorry to share that burden with you.  Meanwhile, Adrian, you just say you are excited.  I can see the nerves all over your face.  Why are you being so strong?  

I feel compelled to write this letter to both of you, because this school year is going to bring about some big changes.  This is the first year that you will be in separate classrooms.  I have to admit that this is challenging for me.  It is heartbreaking in a way.  It has been at the forefront of my mind for weeks.  I am sad.  I am scared.  I am hoping this is the right choice.  What are we doing?!  Why are we doing this?!  This is one of those parenting moments where we could be doing something so amazing for both of you or we could really be messing the whole thing up.  I wish we had a handbook.  See, Isaac, where you get it . . .  

Papa and I have preached your entire lives that your brother is your best friend.  Lesson #1.  No one on this planet is more important to you than your brother.  You are the luckiest boys. Blessed.  You have a constant companion your own age - a friend that always gets to hang out for play dates, that can eat every meal with you, that can build Legos with you, that can watch YouTube with you, go to school with you. . .  We have preached to you the importance of standing up to outsiders that are unkind to your brother.  We have preached that you always have to protect each other and look out for each other.  We have preached the importance of your never-ending bond.  There is nothing more special than that never-ending bond.  That twin bond.  It is strong in you.  Your loyalty is fierce.  

So . . .  you see why I have reservations about you marching into the Kirksville Primary School tomorrow and walking into separate classrooms?  You will be spending hours upon hours during the next nine months apart.  Something that rarely happens.  Apart.  You have spent the majority of your 67,986 hours together.  I like that.  I love that.  It’s special.  It’s a gift.  It has helped to shape you.  

Months ago, when we broke the news that you were going to be in separate classrooms in second grade, you were not happy.  You both shed a lot of tears and begged us to change our minds.  It was hard to argue with that.  That twin bond.  It warmed my heart that you both felt so passionately about staying together.  Adrian proclaimed, “Mom, you just don’t understand!  You don’t know what it is like!”  Of course, I explained that I do know what it is like to NEVER have my sister in my class when I was in school - just like all of the other millions of non-twins.  Sometimes you don’t realize how lucky you are.  Blessed.  

What we told you then and what I am trying to tell myself now is that this will be good for you.  You can spread your wings without constant comparison to your brother.  Because, despite the fact that you do have a lot of similar interests, it is simple for everyone to see that you are two very different people.  Adrian tends to be very self-motivated to learn anything and everything he can stuff into his brain.  Isaac is way more concerned with his social life.  Being a friend is priority number one.  Having fun is at the top of your agenda.  You both are great students, but it is becoming clear that you have different strengths and interests.  We love that about you.  You have a lot of similar friends and some that are your own.  We love that about you.  

We think this might be the right time to make you understand how important it is that you find out who you truly are and do that with perfection.  What is your favorite subject?  Who is your favorite new friend?  How do you behave in class when your brother isn’t there?  What new book did you discover today?  Maybe you can’t wait to tell Isaac about it.  What new song did you learn today?  Maybe you can’t wait to teach it to Adrian.  Maybe you will look forward to talking at recess, sharing stories about your new friends in the car on the way home from school.  Who said something funny in math today?  Who got in trouble today?  Maybe Isaac thinks Ms. Grace is a nicer teacher than Mrs. Eagen.  Maybe Adrian can argue why Mrs. Eagen is the best.  Maybe you can share your secret handshake when you get to gym class.  Maybe all of the other kids will look at you and secretly wish they could be a twin . . .  because you do it so well.  You make it look fun.  It looks cool on you.  You are always so excited to see each other.  You don’t take your brother for granted.  You seem to have so much to talk about.  You always have a best friend you can trust.  He will never put anyone else ahead of you.  You are his person.  Being separated for a few hours every day could never change that.

I love you.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Not Long Enough.

Two years have come and gone since my last blog post.  I can explain.  I am busy . . .  just like everyone else.  I have two very little boys in addition to other priorities that don't quite compare.  I wish I could I just slow it all down.  Where can I get a little extra time to get everything done in a week?  I know I am not the only mom that asks myself that question.  I sometimes daydream that I can make the world around me move in slow motion.  I could fast forward past everyone else and accomplish all of the tasks on my to-do list.  There is no way around it.  There is never enough time.

So, I have been focusing my time and energy on the things that are important to me.  Unfortunately, reality TV is on that list.  So embarrassing.  It is not at the top of the list, but it is on my list.  I would bet anyone that Team Usher will win the Voice Season 6 with the amazing Josh Kaufman.  Even with the use of fast forward after DVRing the Voice, I still waste two hours of my life each week on this single television show.  And it isn't my only show.  I do like good television shows, too.  I tell myself the TV is a way to decompress, to turn off my mind at the very end of a crazy day.  I will try to remedy this problem by writing more.

I like to write.  I don't do it enough and I don't even know that I'm that great at writing, but it forces me to dig deep into the emotion, what is important to me right now.  Someone once told me that writing is a good way to slow down this life - to capture it in words.  That is meaningful to me, because life has gone incredibly fast over the past four and a half years.  Seriously.  It was the blink of an eye.  I was reminded of that this week, because Ike and Ace [these are only nicknames] are four and a half - suddenly.  It seems like they should realistically still be two.  It really does.  I know all parents say similar things, but it is shocking to me.

I started this blog over five years ago to help share the end of our miserable journey through fertility treatment with our friends and family.  It was a central location for anyone that cared to check on the progress of our first (and, currently, only) IVF cycle.  We started IVF after nearly three years of trying to conceive via other fertility treatments.  Once we discovered that it was very successful, two beating hearts, the blog progressed into a pregnancy journal.  My pregnancy was technically only 7 1/2 months in length, but that time period went slower than the last 4 1/2 years.  Sincerely.  Pregnancy was a lot less fun than I admitted with this blog.

Anyway, the blog then updated our friends and family on the developing personalities and milestones of two tiny miracles - perfect little boys.  That was an incredible time in my life, and although a lot of it is slowly blurring, there are so many moments that are still vivid in my memory.  Like the night that the boys were about 6 or 7 weeks old and it was 9:30 pm.  For some reason, their feeding/sleeping schedule was out of whack that day, and I was in a hysterical panic, because I didn't know if I should wake them up to feed them one more time before I went to bed.  I still remember the feeling in my stomach that night when I realized that I had no idea what I was doing and there was no one or no manual that could tell me step by step what I should be doing.  But soon after, I also realized that I could keep the tiny miracles alive with some degree of success.

Oh, but I remember the good stuff, too.  I remember the way that Ace looked like a balding little old man when he was a few weeks old, because he lost all of the hair on the top of his head, but still had thick dark hair all around the sides and back.  And the facial expressions.  That baby was so expressive - still is.  He had gas like an old man, too.  Dave and I would lay in bed and laugh, because it was thunderous.  Ike loved to look up at the lights.  He would crank his neck in crazy positions to see those lights.  "Lights" was his first first sign at nine months, too.  Sadly, it was his first spoken word - not "mama" or "dada", like it should have been.  It was so special that the boys had a deep and significant bond with each other from the beginning.  They slept better if they were touching each other.  Even when swaddled, they would wiggle right up next to each other in their cradle.  They were quickly dependent upon each other.  I remember what it felt like to fall asleep on the couch with both tiny bundles in my arms after a marathon nursing session.  We would all sleep so peacefully.  I finally felt like I was home.

Life has changed since then.  When I get a quiet break, late in the evening, to reflect on those moments that matter most to me in the here and now, I find myself wondering how much longer I will get to enjoy each phase.  How much longer will Ike and Ace want to snuggle up on my lap to read a book or watch one of their cartoons?  How much longer will they call me "Mommy"?  How much longer will they kiss me on the lips?  How much longer will I brush their teeth?  [Only a dentist would ask that question.]  How much longer will Ace say, "Mommy, I need to spend some more time with you before I go to bed."  How much longer will Ike love and play with each and every toy that we own?  How much longer will Ace proclaim that he is marrying his best friend that lives next door?  She is four years older than him.  How much longer will Ike ask me hard questions like, "How do babies get out of a mommy's belly?"  How much longer will they want to sleep in a bunk bed in the same room?  How much longer will they love to play in a sandbox?  The list is endless.

The answer to each question is the same:  not long enough.  So, I am going to use the Miss Marvel powers, granted to me by Ike and Ace last year on my 35th birthday, to focus on the moments right in front of me.  Because these moments, they are a gift . . .  a privilege.  I will not waste my everyday moments with my two tiny miracles by transforming these questions into worry.

I will savor each moment.

I will soak them up, try to stretch them out as much as I can.  I will sit back and watch my boys as they use their expansive imaginations.  I will not be too busy when they ask me to play along.  I will smell their hair every day.  I will squeeze them for two extra seconds during each hug.  I will whisper in their ear that I am so proud of them for any countless reason.  I will put my phone down.  Ignore it.  I will watch reality TV less and write blog posts more.  I will take them to the park more often.  I will let dirty dishes sit on the counter [don't hold me to this one].  I will let them stay up late and snuggle in our bed while we watch a movie.  I will work on my patience.  I will try my best to savor each moment, because this will not last long enough.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dear Adrian

You are my love.  You are 2 1/2 years old today.  I wish you weren’t growing up so quickly.  I have enjoyed every moment that I have had as your mother.  I can only imagine what the future will bring.

You continue to change every day.  You have always been smaller than Isaac, but you have recently hit a huge growth spurt.  Everyone comments on how tall you are getting.  I think you are about the same height as Isaac and you may be taller than him next week.  

I can’t believe how much you eat.  We call you “Cookie Monster” because you demand cookies on a daily basis.  You would eat as many as we would allow you.  How do you stay so skinny when you eat so much?  Oh, yeah . . .  it is all of that running you do.  You are constantly on the go.  Sometimes you just run around the house just for the sake of running.  

I love your facial expressions.  You have quite a range of expressions from furrowed brow to shock and surprise. You have always been very expressive.  You use your hands when you talk, too.  You get that from me.  

How did you get so smart?  I think I can actually see the wheels spinning sometimes.  You are constantly trying to figure out how things work.  We call you “The Little Engineer”.  I think you have the most beautiful thick, curly brown hair.  You get the curls from Grandpa B.  I love your big hazel brown eyes, too.  All it takes is a look in my direction from your beautiful face and my heart melts.  You love to snuggle up with me after your bath at bedtime.  It makes Papa so jealous, but I love it.

The qualities I admire most in you are the ones you naturally get from Papa.  You have fierce independence and confidence in your decisions.  You are a natural leader.  You usually get Isaac into trouble because you come up with mischievous ideas and he executes them.  You are smart enough not to get caught.  You recently started saying “I do it all myself!”  

Most nights, right before bed, you instigate a chasing/wrestling match with your brother.  You two are so rough with each other, but you have always been so tough.  It takes a lot to get you upset.  You are so even keel.  I love that about you.

Being your mother is the greatest joy of my life.  You (and Isaac) are my greatest accomplishment.  I am already so proud of you on a daily basis.  You give me a sense of purpose and peace that I never knew existed.  I have so many hopes and dreams for your life, but most of all, I want you to be happy.  I will always support you in your quest for happiness.    

Never lose your zest for knowledge.  Never let anyone take your independence and confidence away.  Those are your qualities that I love and admire the most.  I am learning from you how to be more independent and confident every day.  Thank you.  Show gratitude in your life.  Your combination of intelligence, independence and gratitude will make you a very successful person in your personal life and your professional quests.  I am in awe of you.  I am so excited to see who you will become, but, for now, please slow down a little.  You are growing up too fast.  

You are my love.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dear Isaac

You are my sunshine.  

I simply can’t believe that you are already 2 1/2 years old.  Why can’t I pause time - just for a while?  I love you just the way you are right now.

You make me and Papa laugh on a daily basis.  You recently went through a short phase of describing everything from a toy to your meal as “pretty awesome” and you frequently remind us that you are “the boss”.  You refer to Palmer as your “best friend” and ask about him daily.  I think you might not realize that Adrian is actually your best friend.  When I ask you about this, you correct me to tell me that he is your brother.  You spend a lot of time wondering if Palmer is sick.  Where does that come from?

You exhibit empathy beyond your years.  Frequently, you ask people if they are ok just for the sake of showing that you care about them.  What toddler does that?  You worry about Adrian when he is sick or hurt.  That warms my heart.  Sometimes, out of the blue, you will look at me, Adrian, or Papa and say, “Give me a kiss.  Give me a hug.  Give me a fist bump.”  You know how to make us feel your love.

You like to categorize “guys” and “men”.  Where do you come up with this stuff?  You will talk about the UPS guy and inform me that he is a "bad man".  You told Papa that his friend Mitch is a "bad guy”.  When Papa questioned you about it, you said, “He is definitely not a good guy”.  But, you are sure of one thing - “Papa is a nice man”.  You worship him - as he does you.  

In your eyes, Hot Wheel cars are the best invention of this century.  You wake up with one in your hand every morning and go to bed with one each night.  In fact, bribing you with Hot Wheels is how we have been able to successfully potty train you.  

You really love all of your grandparents - as you should.  They spoil you rotten.  You may not get to see them every week, but you talk about each of them often.  

For some reason, milk is still your favorite food.  I think you would drink a gallon a day if we would let you.

Being your mother (and Adrian’s, too) is the greatest joy of my life.  Nothing compares.  I want to give you a life full of love, adventure and knowledge.  I also want you to understand that it is important to treat all people, especially those different from you, with respect and kindness.  The most important thing in your life will always be your relationship with other people.  Everything else is secondary.  Exhibit gratitude.  That will take you far in every aspect of your life.

I hope you never stop showing such sincere concern for the people you love.  It is what I love most about you.  I will do anything to make you feel my love.  My love for you will always be the most consistent part of your life. It will never waiver.  

You are my sunshine.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What a Beautiful Fall

I am still playing a little catch up on the blog. I have made it all of the way to September 2011. The most memorable part of September was the gorgeous weather. This fall was perfect. The boys wore shorts on and off into October. We spent a lot of time outside in September and October.

Isaac & Adrian turned 22 months in September.

We spent a wonderful couple of days in Columbia with great friends over Labor Day weekend watching Mizzou football. The temperature during the game was in the upper 90’s. I think it was the hottest football game I have ever attended. It didn’t dissuade us from having fun tailgating. In attendance: the Robinsons, the Wentworths, the Hamms, the Hulls, the Heines, Missy Monroe, Russ Gelbach, Ryan Robinson and my brother Jeff was able to come for a while. Isaac and Adrian spent the night with Gramps and Grandma Elaine one night and Grammo and Grandpa Dave the other night.

Adrian and Isaac with Grandma Elaine and Gramps Ron, celebrating Gramps’ birthday with a lunch out.

While visiting Grammo and Grandpa Dave, Isaac and Adrian went to see Grandpa’s goats. Adrian is such an animal lover, he always enjoys visiting the livestock. He fed the goats and, I believe, one or more of the goat chased him around. Later that week, Adrian was playing with his farm set. He picked up the goat, put his finger up to the goat’s mouth, made a grimace, and said, “Goat bites me!” It was so cute and he did it numerous times throughout the next couple of weeks.

Dave and I celebrated our ninth anniversary in September. The boys’ favorite babysitter, Lexi Drummond, came to watch them so we could go out to dinner and a movie. All four of us went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary later in the week.

Several members on my mom’s side of the family spent a weekend in Columbia attending a Mizzou football game and participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in honor of my mom beating breast cancer. This is the second year we participated in the Komen Race. It was a lot of fun.

Adrian & Isaac tailgating at the Mizzou game.

Our entire team!

We are on Faurot Field!!

Towards the end of September, I spent a couple of days in Springfield at an event sponsored by the Missouri Dental Association, called Missouri Mission of Mercy (MOMOM). It was an extremely large free dental clinic. It was an honor to participate and I hope that I can do it many times in the future.

We took the boys to their first air show in Kirksville on a steamy hot Sunday. They loved the airplanes, but their attention span was short and we left early because they started running all over the place.

Isaac and Adrian started a music class called Little Notes. It was a great experience for them, and it reinforced to their parents that they are social butterflies. I don’t believe either of them will ever be wallflowers. Most of the other toddlers (all of whom were older than our boys) stayed close to their mothers and Isaac and Adrian were all over the room. They didn’t always cooperate and we usually had to leave early because they were disrupting the class, but I think I might sign them up to take the class again this winter. I am a glutton for punishment.

A couple of funny stories that occurred during September: Isaac spent a lot of time proclaiming “Papa” in every tone imaginable when Dave was around and gone. Isaac was very, very attached to his Papa at that time - and he still is. One day, he started calling me “Papa” while Dave was at work, and I told him to stop doing that. I said, “I’m not Papa. What’s my name?” I expected him to say, “Mommy”, but instead he said, “Tisha!” My jaw dropped to the floor. I didn’t realize he even knew I had a name - other than Mommy. After that, he has called me “Tisha Mommy” from time to time. He comes up with some funny stuff.

We have known that Adrian has an amazing attention span for most things, whether it is sorting shapes, building towers, watching movies. One day in September when I was packing for one of our numerous trips, I put the movie “How to Train Your Dragon” in for the boys to watch. He sat and nearly watched the entire movie. During the movie, I asked him what that was on the TV and he said, “Dragon! SCARES ME!” and made a horrible grimace and shook his fists in front of his face. Looking back on September, it was probably the first month the boys started to really put at least three words together into sentences. I found it fascinating. Isaac liked to yell, “Papa, stop it!”

Stay tuned for October . . .

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year’s Resolution

This is it. This is my New Year’s Resolution. This blog. This poor abandoned blog. I didn’t admit to anyone that this was my resolution, because I am fairly certain that I will fail. I guess I can’t succeed if I don’t try.

I actually write this blog for my kids . . . or maybe it is just for myself. I don’t want to forget anything . . . or everything. I mean, I can’t even remember what flavor of coffee I drank for breakfast yesterday (I got a Keurig for Christmas!), so how on earth will I remember what cute little things Adrian said at 25 months when I am 52 years old?

So, here I am, diving back in.

I know I don’t have many readers - mainly my boys’ grandparents and a few of my close friends. But as the mother of TWO toddler boys, I am trying to cut myself some slack for skipping the last 5 months. Come on. I am busy - as you will see if you read this blog. So, for those few readers out there, I know I can’t just skip forward to today. I should give a small update on the last half of 2011. Who knows how long that will take. Here goes.

August was a hot month in our little corner of the midwest. We spent most of the month outside swimming in our little blow up pool on our deck. The boys love water almost as much as they love each other.

Dave and I had a fantastic day and evening at an awesome little music festival in Memphis, Missouri called the Old Lake Bash. Our great friends, Tim & Kellie from Kirksville joined us and Dave’s best friend, Mitch, put on a great show as the lead singer of 80’s hair band Tiger Blood. You had to be there.

We celebrated Isaac & Adrian’s 21 month birthday in August. I know. I know. Someday I will have to quit celebrating each monthly birthday - maybe around the age of 12.

Adrian had his first haircut in August. That was a special moment for me as his mother. He sat so sweetly in the chair, barely moving at all. We didn’t cut off all of his beautiful curls. We just shortened them. And the curls still blow in the breeze today.

Before - a little nervous

During - such a sweet boy

After - with his stylist Kim

The same evening of Adrian’s first haircut, we converted each of the boys’ cribs to toddler beds. Isaac started crawling out of [escaping from] his crib that week, so we really had no choice. They love their big boy beds. They are usually great about staying in their beds, too. Although, one day at nap time they were both continually getting out of their beds to goof off. I was getting very frustrated. As punishment, I finally began taking a stuffed animal, or “buddy", away from them each time they got out of their bed. Finally, after about the fifth time, Isaac had an arm full of “buddies”, ran to the door, said, “Here. Mommy. Buddies.” as he cried his eyes out. So sweet and so sad at the same time. I am still not sure if that was a parenting success or failure.

We celebrated my aunt Carla’s 50th birthday with a surprise party at my cousin Travis and his wife Jacqui’s home in St. Joe. It was great. The following day, the entire family loaded up and visited the KC Zoo. Isaac, Adrian, and their cousin, Palmer really enjoyed it. They had all been to the zoo one previous time. Adrian is such an animal lover. He just couldn’t get enough. They also enjoyed their first ride on a carousel.

Jacqui & Isaac

Gramo and Adrian

Palmer & Tonya

Isaac & Uncle Jeff

We spent one weekend in August running a 5K in our hometown of Memphis at the annual Antique Fair, a weekend festival. Their Grandma Oleva (“Gramo") and her friend Cathy pushed the stroller and walked with Isaac & Adrian while I ran. The boys enjoyed the parade with their cousin, Palmer. They each had several pieces of candy - a rarity. They really enjoyed those suckers.

Isaac & Adrian's Great Grandpa Burdett’s antique International tractor (that he bought new in 1954) was in the parade. The boys were able to sit on the tractor with Gramps (my dad, Ron) after the parade. Later that afternoon, we celebrated our friend Hilary’s first birthday with a party at her home. She is a cutie. I’m sure the boys will fight for her affections one day soon.

We rounded out the summer with lots of jogs and walks with me behind the jogging stroller, “The Bob”, while Isaac & Adrian lounged with a snack and enjoyed the ride. Oh, how they love The Bob. We usually made a pit stop at the Brashear Park for some swinging and climbing. Isaac & Adrian also spent a lot of time cruising our neighborhood in their little red wagon. They used that time to find their good fiends, Jersey, Payton & “Baby Brett”.

The best news of the summer is that Dave and his business partners completed their latest project, Park 1600. It is a large professional building housing a slew of physicians, Century 21 and his law firm. I’m so proud of him.

Isaac & Adrian visiting Papa while he was moving into the new office.

I will have to spend some time posting about September, October, No . . . Oh. My. Goodness. I can do it. I can do it. Stay tuned.