Last week, a women I've only met a few times, in passing, always in professional settings, stood witness to our family. It was beautiful to hear her story. It was reaffirming to have her experience mirror my own. She left me with an observation about creating and holding space for our children - be a parent they will always choose to come home to visit.
I say, Thank YOU to her! Truer words have not been spoken, in regards to building a foundation of love, admiration, respect and friendship with our children so they choose family even when they no longer need family. That is something I will hold in my heart and mind on these frustrating days with my willful little men. And, of course, this image of them, wearing boxer briefs, shoes with no socks and puffy winter coats, expectantly waiting to take out the garbage - concoast and motorcycling.
She was our witness this week. As a single parent, once herself, she knew one of the little gifts is being seen, even for just a moment. It is the witnessing that co-parenting brings that we single parents often miss. It is the witness. So I thank her for being a witness this week.
Today, I was reminded of three important things about toddlers:
Yet, knowing this and working every possible structure and ritual to make sure these three things are always true, in any given moment, they still have a mind of their own. They can, and will, suddenly declare a hunger strike against their favorite food; they can and will decide that no matter how tired they are, they would rather sing to themselves for two hours than take a nap. And the clincher, they can, and will, scream in your face when they are not getting an escalated response to their escalation, which they feel they richly deserve for all their theatrics.
I chose to have days like today. I chose to have a two year old, barely three feet tall, little person, scream in my face when he didn't like the answer he was getting about why the puter couldn't go in the bathtub with him. Arguably, it is probably the very same argument he will have with a future spouse, who wonders why he needs to take his smart phone into the bathroom with him and sit for hours on end, for what appears, from the other side of the door, to be for no good reason. I chose to come into the nursery, after the aforementioned karaoke nap, to find my oldest (by three minutes) excitedly showing his little brother that he had taken off his poop-diaper, somewhat successfully, given that very little poop was on him and a very lot of poop was on the sheets. I chose this. I chose to leave a man, with whom, admittedly, all was not always rosy, especially toward the end. I chose to leave that man, that romantic love, so that I could have the privilege of walking into this daily match of wills. All by myself.
However. And you were waiting for this, right? The neat little tie-it-up-with-a-bow-conclusion to this post: yes, there is great satisfaction in putting the last toy away at the end of a day like today. There is much love, so much I cannot explain, when I peek around the corner from the kitchen to see twin brothers, identical from the back, heads down over their puters taking a break from their own internal madness, driven by their constant playful inquiry to discover and rediscover every square inch of their world.
There are their tiny arms wrapping around my neck for the big hug and last time lull-bye mommy, a special version of the classic I've been singing to them since I brought them home from the hospital, to help them fall back asleep between feedings. There is the tiniest of nostalgia, now, in this song and their calling for it, that reminds me that ritual is a gem; that structure is something to push against; that love provides a place to rest when we've all become too tired from our clashing of wills. That home is always where we return.
I'm Kimberly. Single mother by choice. Soon to be wife. Holder of space. Maker of place. Mom. Mama. Mommy. Mitch. These are my thoughts, reflections, ideas and random observations about raising twin sons.
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