It’s really a win-win situation. We buy Costco amounts of produce and we need help eating it. Also, I have stacks of papers I need to shred. If I know two guinea pigs desperately need some bedding or a comfy place to take a dump, surely that will motivate me to get organized. Lastly, and most importantly, my boys have been begging for hamsters. I can’t. Just too many traumatic hamster stories growing up. Like the time our babysitter tried to kill our hamster with a broom. She thought it was a mouse, despite our yelling that it was our pet. They also ate their babies. And constantly escaped into the bathtub, of all places.
So, guinea pigs it is for the seven-year old boys on their golden birthdays. Since we’re a little crazy. I promised them last summer in a weak moment. Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. Especially not with a child. Or twin children. You will be reminded. Times two.
My twin boys are different in so many awesome and beautiful ways, but they also have similar characteristics and interests too. Maybe that has to do with their ages, their innocence, their creativity or their rapidly pounding hearts. They were born only a minute apart (maybe less)on the seventh day of the eleventh month of the year, 2008. I will never forgot the happy tear eruption that filled the operating room when we heard their itty bitty, yet loud cries. They came early. We were scared, nervous, and excited. They entered the world and it’s as if they were saying, “Hello, everybody, Mom, Dad. Since there’s a crowd, we thought we should do our best, in our tiny five- pound bodies, to let you know that we are here. We have arrived.” And our hearts swelled up and grew a million sizes bigger that morning. They continue to grow to this day. Overflowing with mad love for our seven-year old boys. Our lucky number sevens.
If I had the power to pause time, I could make a strong case for keeping them seven forever. I can tell you exactly why. Their thoughts literally leave me speechless at times. The things they say and genuinely feel dance freely out of their mouths. They don’t hold back. They will stop and point out the beautiful fall leaves or talk about a project they’re working on with this endless passion, persistence and tone of voice that you just can’t resist. “I love this day,” one of them said yesterday. They will spontaneously ask to hold my hand or say totally out of the blue while we’re driving, “I love you, Mom.” For no reason. Except I guess that the thought popped into their heads. So they said it. And it’s like a surprise delivery knocking on the door of my heart. Every single time. Because they’re old enough to know what it means and if they say it, you can believe it. It’s pure joy to both unexpectedly and knowingly receive their sentiments.
They’re fearless climbers. Both of them. You turn your head for a moment and they’ve shimmied up the door frames in our house or a tree or onto a wall or up a slide. “Hey Mom! Look fast!” They say in their proud voices. They’re multi-talented at trying and figuring things out, but they will still ask for help too. They aspire to be restaurant owners, police officers, road builders, drummers, musicians and they’ve told me they want to work at the hospital too. “Can I have five jobs, Mom?” They see no reason why they can’t hold all of these jobs at the same time. Their imaginations and creativity captivate, inspire and overwhelm me. I can’t help but feel so damn lucky and proud to be their mother.
They giggle and belly laugh every day at words pronounced in a funny way or silly poop jokes. One of my favorite things is how they both get to laughing so hard that they can’t talk or breathe really well. It takes a moment for them to recover. And it’s awesome. They’re overly genuinely happy. And caring. And kind-hearted most of the time. They believe in things they can’t see. Like God’s strength and power. And love. They simplify and explain enormous concepts in a way that stops me in my tracks. To say that I love them seems like an understatement. Not quite enough.
We used to say at bedtime, “I love you.”
“No, I love you more.”
“I love you the most.”
Now, we compete to see who can say, “I love you the morst!”
We have a bedtime ritual of playfully arguing about who loves who more. I will love them to infinity and beyond. As far and wide as the ocean. To all of the stars and moon and back. And I tell them since my hands are bigger, then my heart is bigger. So, naturally, I have more room to love them the morst. And thats what I tell them. They usually outsmart me with some reason how their hearts can hold more love than mine. I don’t know if they will ever truly be able to fathom just how constant, unconditional, never ending, always growing and readily available my love for them is. Those two wrestling, giggling, crying, running, snuggling, loving boys unexpectedly made me a mother seven plus years ago. Their sole existence, dependence on me and unconditional love for me has shifted how I view and care for others. They’ve unintentionally adjusted my perspective and my priorities. They have stretched my heart to experience, feel and love in ways I could have never imagined. Thank God for my golden boys. My lucky number sevens.