I have twins – did I mention that? They are fraternal twins & nothing alike; one is calm, the other excitable; one can sit still for hours and the other never stops moving; one eats everything on his plate, his brother picks everything apart and won’t touch vegetables, meat, fish, cheese…; but they are strangely similar as well. They fell in love at the same time; one with a delicate, petite brunette, the other with a tall, willowy redhead. I wonder where time went. When they were little, I could never imagine them as gown-ups with families and jobs. Where did the time go? The world, so they say, is flying through the universe at mind-boggling speeds, shooting off into space as if fired from a cannon, dragging time with it like the tail of a comet.
When they were born, three months premature, I could not imagine them grown up. I could barely imagine them as normal, chubby, babbling babies because they were so tiny and weak. When they came home, each weighing barely 4 pounds, they slept in the same bassinet, curled up together like fern fronds, their hands so small they fit on my thumbnail. After months, years even, they started to catch up to their age. Time was all it took, and lots of care, and love, with a fierceness that would catch me by surprise. I never thought that children were not like baby birds, hatching from eggs, growing in a nest. They were vines, growing from your belly, with tendrils wrapped around your throat, heart, stomach, hands, arms…so much a part of me that I could feel their pains and joys as if they came from my mind.
An image: the twins running towards me, one hand outstretched, the other behind their back. Three years old. Standing in front of me, panting, eyes brilliant, cheeks flushed, “A surprise for you, Mommy!” and whipping out hands clutching bare stems – the red poppy petals had fallen off in the race. Their joyous laughter dissolving into tears. “They were so beautiful!”
They are still in my heart – these bare green stems clutched in your small fists, along with your smiles and your tears.
Time marches on. We move from England to Argentina to the States and back to France. One of the twins looks at me one day and says, “We’re known all over the world!” Yes, especially after a lost tooth in front of a full stadium prompted the announcer to ask the spectators to help look for it….or when, on the first day of school, the door jammed and the teacher had to call a repairman to come, and parents and children gathered around to shout encouragement at the door. Afterwards, people would stop me on the street and say, “Was it your son trapped in the bathroom?” And the time they killed Halloween…
And still time slides by, marked by the giant snowball on the golfcourse that didn’t melt until April, the trip to Rome, the stint as a fireman (4 years!), the university, and the first and second apartments, the jobs, the voyages, and, yes, now the analogy rings true – the birds stretch their wings and fly. I watch, from the ground, as they circle above me. The sky is very blue – like me, somehow. Blue, and joyous at the same time.