It was 25 years ago this month that my husband and I learned that we might be expecting twins.
We had waited awhile. My grandmother had told a friend, unbeknownst to me, that she despaired of my ever having children; she thought I had chosen a legal career over motherhood. Had she mentioned her concerns to me, I could have allayed her fears and, I suppose, added a new one. I was waiting until I turned 29, waiting to be through with 28, the age my mother had been when she was killed in a car accident. Talk about magical thinking ~ but what I did not know was that virtually everyone who loses a young parent thinks of the parent's age at death as a significant milestone, one which the child must pass before beginning to think of her life as her own.
We were in Albuquerque, I was about to turn 29, and I tossed the birth control pills. A year and a half later, the ultrasound depicted two small amniotic sacs, one with a heartbeat. "Don't get your hopes up," the doctor warned. "Often what looks like a second baby dissolves and vanishes." But four weeks later: two strong little hearts. May: two tiny boys. Late August: frantic medical practice. How could twins be overdue? Sepember 1: Perfection times two.
We were so lucky. So grateful. I never stopped being grateful. So sad, for what my mother and I had both missed. So aware of the gift of joy. So happy that we went ahead and welcomed the Lovely Daughter (and would have gone for more had not both my pregnancies been so physically gruelling).
The years did not pass easily. Three children in three years. A husband and father who traveled abroad frequently. You can fill in between the lines. Each of the children with significant challenges of his or her own. Each of them growing into a distinct individual, often apart but always intertwined. Our family.
And now one of them is gone.
I do not understand how this can possibly be my life.
I want him back.