Today, I arrived home earlier than usual because Charlie needed to be at his school for an open house. After he sped off on his motorcycle, I decided to take the girls to our local park to play for awhile. We all got in the van, and quickly arrived at the park.
"Can I go Mommy?" Meghan squealed as I lifted her out of the carseat.
Grace jumped out of the side of our minivan, and I clicked the button to lock it up. As I turned around, Meghan's petite legs were trotting up a slight grassy incline. Her tiny rear end was hidden underneath her capri pants, and her long yellow locks bounced with each step. Grace raced behind her and passed her by to beat Meghan to the playset.
It had been a while since I'd been to the park with the girls so I was pleased to see that Meghan could now climb most every part of the playset with ease. Honestly, I still have my moments of doubting her abilities. I know I shouldn't do this, but I can't help but noticing how other kids seem to take their profound agility for granted somehow. I secretly yearn to have kiddos who can "leap a tall building in a single bound." I know that is screwed up, but having been Mommy to two former preemies, it is hard not to think that way. It is hard not to remember that if I hadn't gotten sick, my babies would have been full term agility prone gals, at least that is what I would have given them...a full long ride inside my womb with little to no stress and a peaceful low blood pressure experience. Alas, it was not to be.
All-in-all, today's trip to the park provided me with much perspective. Thank you cosmic energy. Thank you God.
"Watch me Mom!" Meghan squealed as she climbed up the slide in the wrong direction.
"Meghan, you know the rules. We go up ladders and down slides."
A different voice appeared from the top of a platform on the playset. It came from a bulky little boy named Rico who also said, "Watch me Mom! I told you I could do it."
His mom shouted, "Watch out Rico. There is a little girl at the bottom of the pole. Watch out for her." Meghan was standing at the bottom of the equivalent of a fire pole so I guided her out of the way as he jumped on the pole and rode down.
I turned around to find his mom sitting at a picnic table.
"She is so cute. How old is she? Two? Three?"
I responded, "She is 3, but tiny for her age."
"I keep trying to teach him to be careful around girls and that if he is nice that he'll have some girl friends. I mean girl friends not girlfriends."
By this time, Rico had climbed up the platform and was ready to jump down the pole again. "Meghan, please get away from the bottom of the pole. He wants to come down."
"Is that her name? Meghan?"
"That is a beautiful name."
"Thank you. She is tiny because she was born very early. She weighed 1 pound, 9 ounces when she was born. We took her home 79 days after she was born."
"Wow, what happened?"
"I got very sick with preeclampsia, which causes very high blood pressure."
"Oh. She looks great now. I had preemie twins, who were 4 and 5 pounds when they were born."
"Aha, so you know how it goes then," I believed.
"Sort of. I gave them up for adoption because I couldn't take care of three kids. It was so hard to give them up...the hardest thing I ever done. I had them in Utah and the mom and dad were there in the NICU every day with my daughter and son. I was only there until they made me go home after my c-section."
"Wow. You were so brave to make that incredibly generous decision. It sounds like you made the right decision for you."
"I don't know why I'm telling you this. I don't usually tell anyone, but you seem so nice."
"Thank you for sharing it with me. I bet your twins' parents thank God every day that you blessed them with your twins," I meekly responded.
"Yeah. They are a white family, and my twins were biracial. My son had green eyes at birth, and my daughter had brown eyes." I wondered why she felt the need to share that detail with me besides the fact that I have the fairest of fair skin, and she was looking for a way to find some commonality between us.
"Mommy, I want to go swing! Mommy!"
"Hold on Grace! Just a minute! I'm talking to this lady. Hold on."
"It's okay. Let her swing."
Grace raced to a "big kid" swing, and Rico followed her to the other one. Meghan wimpered a bit as I placed her in a baby swing. "I'm not a baby!"
"I know Meghan, but the other swings are being used. You'll have fun on this one."
"Yes, Meghan. In just a bit, you can have a turn on the big kid swing." Rico's mom joined us and began pushing him on his swing too.
"My son had jaundice and had to go under those lights to get better."
I pointed to Grace, and said, "She had that too. Those lights work great."
"Their mom sends me pictures on all the holidays, and she sends a video tape on their birthday each year."
"So, you get to see how well they are doing?"
"Yes, but it is so hard. They are so beautiful, and I miss them so much."
"I suppose you'll miss them forever since they are a part of you, but I hope you know that you did a really great thing. You gave your twins two parents who love them, which is a beautiful gift."
"I know. It is just so hard sometimes. I still don't know why I'm tellin' you this."
Grace and Rico had gotten bored swinging and had run off to the playset again.
"Mommy! I want to stop swinging now. Mommy, I'm all done now," Meghan shouted.
I was so immersed in Rico's mom's story that I wasn't hearing Meghan.
"Oh, alright Meghan. Go slide."
Rico's mom and I continued to exchange mommy small talk until it was time to go. I'll probably never see her again, but I learned a lot from her tonight.
I'm an incredibly lucky person. I have my children with me. I never had to make a decision like Rico's mom did. I have a spouse who loves me, a nice home, my health, and my beautiful children. I have so much for which to be thankful. I don't think I'll ever forget Rico's mom even though I never got her name.
Thank you cosmic energy. Thank you God.