Tuesday, January 26, 2016

all the feels.

"It's a Friday in November. Not a notable day, generally.

It does happen to be Friday the 13th. Maybe that makes it slightly more notable... but I've never been overly superstitious. Although I do knock on my head three times every time I have to confess that the girls have slept 11+ hours every single night [knock knock knock] since they were just shy of three months old (August 8th was a GLORIOUS day).

I don't have a super focused reason to be writing tonight. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and just got really overwhelmed, and thought, "hey, let's process this bitch together." So here I am.

Again, today was an ordinary day. Before today, I had had an exhausting week - I facilitated calls for more hours than I have fingers, which was ruthless on my little introverted soul. I kept two babies alive and thriving for another week. But today was average. I had a few calls, sent too many emails (as per usual), and pumped milk out like a cow at the Wisconsin state fair. Same thing as every other average day. Better news yet, I went well over my daily 10,000 step goal - first time all week - thanks to those many hours of calls - and got my burn on doing one of my favorite LesMills Combat workouts (or "Lesbian Combat," which is what the wifey thought I said the first time I mentioned it to her several years back). So let's call it a slightly better than average day.

I have really (REALLY) been struggling with the world lately. And by struggling with the world, I mean that the wifey (still on that awesomely long maternity leave) watches CNN from dawn 'til dusk and the crazy shit that happens on the daily on this planet is terrifying me.

But today is not ordinary, for so many."

That's as far as I got. I was watching TV as I wrote it and the devastation of what was happening in Paris took over. Today, I just opened up my blog to write a new post and I saw this draft, just sitting here, waiting to be finished.

Friday, November 13th was definitely not an ordinary day. It was a terrifying, awful, and heartbreaking day. It was the kind of day that makes you hug your people a little tighter, and pull those that are distant from you just a little closer.

So many days that pass feel like they are just utterly unremarkable to most, but as I have had constant reminders of lately, every single day is far from ordinary for someone. Some people are waking up to the memory of a loved one who passed away a year ago, today. Or a month ago, or a week ago - or even a day ago. People are celebrating, mourning, suffering, and thriving every single day. Not to get too sentimental here, but it is pretty incredible when you really let it sink in and ponder it.

As someone with a not quite eidetic memory, I remember anniversaries of the good and the bad for years, and years. I can't help but remember what June 8, September 25, December 5, December 27, December 9, December 30, April 29, and so many other days mean or once meant - whether it's a silly dating anniversary from high school, a miscarriage, or the day someone died - they all stick. It's a blessing and a curse, my friends. Blessing and a curse. (also, #tryalittleharderdecember)

Every morning, since the wifey went back to work, I get to spend with the girls. They are definitely morning people (especially Maggie), and it is most certainly the highlight of my day. When they wake up they are nothing but smiles - when I walk through their door and they see me in the dim morning light? You'd think I was the single best thing they have ever, ever seen.

We snuggle, we giggle, we have "sister time" (i.e. the two of them lay side by side and just have the time of their lives without any intervention from outside parties), we sing, we talk about the day ahead - it is nothing short of heaven on earth (no, seriously). I also change their diapers, get them dressed, etc. - you know, the really magical stuff.

When it comes to dressing them, we have pretty much relied on 100% hand-me-downs for their wardrobe. Which has been amazing - we are so fortunate. We don't mind that they aren't always the newest and latest, and actually, many of the clothes we got were super adorable, and hardly worn. Their wardrobe is, however, mostly blues, reds, grays, and greens. Nearly all of the previous owners were boys. Now, we are not about dressing our girls in head to toe pink - we are actually so glad that we have an easy (i.e. not overly political) and valid excuse not to, in fact. However, they have no hair, and all dressed in gray sweatpants and a blue striped shirt... they look like boys. Really cute boys, but boys. I don't think a single stranger has ever guessed that they are girls (even when they are wearing pink).
one of the little sluggers
"Two boys? How cute." 
"No, two girls." 
One lady had the audacity to say, "well you should really put bows on them or something!" (No. Joke.)

One thing that we do have that strays from the color palettes of their hand-me-downs is their sock collection. Lots of stripes in pinks, purples, teals, etc. So, naturally, I plop a pair of pink striped socks on their feet and feel like I'm doing all that I can. Mom guilt is real.

This morning, as I rummaged through their sock drawer, I dug out a particularly special pair of socks. A pair of socks that similar to April 29 and December 5, hold an incredible weight in my heart. In the early summer of 2013, just before our wedding, I moved to a new team at work, and we had a retreat in Phoenix. I was in one of the healthiest places I had ever been in my life (emotionally, physically), but also the most unsettled. We had decided we wanted to have a baby, but the realization of just how hard that might be  - even if I was perfectly healthy and fertile - married to a woman, was setting in hard. Several people close to me were pregnant and I was drowning in the reality of how much time and money this might take us (and I didn't know the half of it) to be in that same position.

With several other soon-to-be-married ladies and soon-to-be-mommas on my team, we had a week full of team celebrations, including a baby shower for the pregnant ones and a pretty fantastic rendition of the newlywed game for the engaged (which I knocked out of the park, if I must say - though it did result in a tie for first, thanks to one wrong answer...).

For the baby shower, when you walked in, you grabbed a single sock from a bowl and then had to go find your match and come up with answers to several questions (which we then shared out as advice for the mommas). My match was with a guy I had really never met, and I, unfortunately, was bursting at the seams with emotion, given the setting - lucky him (a good reminder that you just never know what the person across from you is going through, no matter how innocent the setting). At the end of the activity, he offered the sock to me, noting that he was unlikely to have any use for this anytime soon. I took his sock, and paired it with mine, and stowed it away in my suitcase - feeling ridiculously silly that I kept it (and didn't hand it over to the belly-rocking mommas we were celebrating). I desperately wanted to have a use for that pair of socks.

When I got home, I showed the socks to the wifey (well, at the time, she was still just "my lady"). I don't recall her exact response, but I'm sure it was a cross between her acknowledging my crazy and being a little sappy about it, herself. The usual.

I don't know exactly when I lost track of those socks, but I did. We got married a few weeks later, went on an amazing honeymoon, and came back and continued the baby process. The longer the trying to get pregnant process went on, the less I remembered those socks. December 5th happened. April 29th happened. Just a year later, I couldn't allow myself to even dream of those socks.

Two years later, on my 30th birthday, a day I had always thought I would dread, but ended up welcoming with open arms, those socks re-appeared.

The wifey surprised me by taking the day off, and my Nestor came over and made me delicious, delicious pancakes. Later in the morning, I opened just a handful of gifts from the wifey (I was eight months pregnant with twins, I didn't need anything but an hour without having to pee). Of course, channeling my Boven family sixth sense of knowing what is in any wrapped package before I open it, I was cheerfully enjoying myself as I ripped the paper off of each gift.

One gift completely stumped me. But the moment I saw the rainbow striped pattern on those tiny, tiny, socks, I lost it (as I am right now, thinking about it). My wifey had saved the socks. Through all of this heartbreaking yet joyful mess of a journey, she had held onto them. The socks I didn't dare dream about, she had taken, stowed away, held onto, and saved for this moment that she had never stopped believing would happen.

the little sock-less wonders
Somehow, the girls have already outgrown those tiny, tiny socks (that wouldn't even stay on their feet until they were two months old!). As I held that pair of socks in my hand this morning, I was reminded of the importance of hope. Those socks symbolize everything good and bad that happened to us over the several year span we anxiously awaited the arrival of a baby (ahem, as it would happen, babies). Just looking at them brings a smile to my face, but tears down my cheeks. But, more than anything, they remind me to hope. To wish. To believe.

Ordinary objects and ordinary days are bursting with anything-but ordinary meaning for someone. Thanks to that not quite eidetic memory, I can look at a pencil I used twelve years ago, or a shirt I wore in high school, and remember what I was feeling, who was in my life, what my hopes and dreams were... These little socks? They will always symbolize the importance of having hope and faith (and a really, really amazing wife), to me, as silly as that might be ten, twenty years from now. Everyone needs a little pair of socks in their life. And, more importantly, we all need an incredible someone who will hold steadfast onto those socks, even when you can't manage it yourself.


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