We’re at the zoo and we’ve only made it a few yards before a grandmother-ly type with fading auburn hair stops us.
Oh! Twins! How old? And aren’t they precious? And do you have twins in your family? And …. and … and …
I smile and keep the answers short. I’ve almost gotten used to it by now, really. The stares and whispers and grins and questions. Taking our infant twins anywhere in public invites attention from others, but I don’t really want to fuss with all of that today. We aren’t at the zoo for the babies. We’re there for the big girls.
My sweet big girls, 8 and 5 1/2, they smile at the woman who is captivated by their little brothers. I watch as they search her face, wondering if she’ll notice them. My generous big girls, they never, ever complain about the attention the babies get when we are out. My thoughtful big girls, they just stand there, smile, and nod their head yes when they are asked for the eleventy billioneth time if they are good helpers for Mommy.
My heart hurts for them as they stand there in the shadow of that big rig of a double stroller. When the curious stop us to question and comment, I want to say
But look at my big girls! Aren’t they amazing? Aren’t they lovely and smart and courteous and kind?
Aren’t they so much more than big sisters to twins?
Because they are. They are so much more. And I look at them and I see the ripening fruit of years of tending to seedlings. Hours of prayer stretched across years of parenting and they are the beautiful, brainy rewards for my labor. These two big girls, I know them. I know them so much better than I know the baby dudes. And so when people stop us to talk about the babies, I want to say
Yeah, they’re pretty cool. Do a lot of the eat/sleep/poop routine. But ask my oldest daughter here about Mincraft, and she can lecture you for hours on the intricacies of the game. And did you notice the clever and creative outfit my younger daughter is rocking today? That girl has style in spades.
But, I don’t say any of that. Like the girls, I just ease myself into the shadow of the double stroller and smile and answer the nice lady’s questions and move us along as quickly as I can. I brush off the niggling worry that all the attention for the twins is planting seeds of bitterness in my big girls. I hand over way too much money for Dippin’ Dots, an icy treatment to cool the flames of mama guilt in my chest.
And with a wink and some sticky smiles, we set off down the path again – my big girls, my babies, and me.
image by Hello Turkey Toe