Twin Crazy Nana Nutkin

I was not born a twin but descended from a colorful one. My great grandfather Basil Hampton Blakeney was one and also had a pair of twin brothers. He was lovingly called B. H. or “Bonehead” by the family.

Although I thought that twins would be fun, I was blessed with five children spread out over 17 years. (Never had two in diapers at the same time. I guess I couldn’t have said that if I’ve had twins.)

 With one son beginning his senior year in high school and another beginning seventh grade, you’d think my life was calming down.

But no! My “over-achiever” son and his wife delivered twin girls last week. AND six days later my daughter had her first girl. My cup runneth over!

After delivering my grandson to his first day in pre-K 4, I discovered that the strain of it all had rubbed off on him.

“I hear you have a new baby sister,” the teacher said.” What’s her name?”

He stuttered, “Charlotte?” “No,Olivia?”

I saved him, “Your baby sister’s name is Lainey”. But even I had to stop a minute to think it through.

I read that research from the University of Utah reveals that the mothers of twins tend to live longer than mothers of singles.
That may be right but I’m thinking it may reduce the longevity of the grandmothers. Ya think?

I also read that once you’ve had a set of fraternal twins you are three or four times more likely to do it again. Woopee!

Honestly my husband and I have truly enjoyed having our grandsons home with us while their mother and father recover from having little Lainey. But I can’t help but believe that the younger generation recovers a heck of a lot more quickly than we do.

The first time I saw the twin girls roll their heads together my heart melted. How wonderful to have such closeness and intimacy. A study in Italy suggests that in utero twins deliberately begin interacting with each other as early as 14 weeks. I guess the fighting doesn’t begin until 32 months later.

 I suppose, sadly, that I have become lazy, grumpy and selfish. Where is the mother who tirelessly stripped the soiled sheets every morning, packed the lunches and drove the tots to kindergarten? I guess she became the grandmother who now only has to take her self-sufficient 13-year-old to and from school, football, etc. AND this blessed teen helps me with my grandchildren!  How did I ever make it without him in raising his four older siblings?

I commend my grown children for their courage and hope. I did warn them. “Once you have children your life is forfeit. There’s not much time for selfishness. The life of a mother is characterized by patience and self-sacrifice!” How beautiful to see that in my children.

Reese surprised me the other day with another statistic. “Mom, it says that there’s a higher chance of having twins after you’re 50.” I assured him that I was pretty sure that no 14 week fetuses would be frolicking in my womb anytime soon.

In the meantime- and with the promise of school starting next week- I am hopeful to conquer this melancholy and old age fatigue. (Oh, did I mention that I fractured my foot while mountain biking with my middle child?) There’s no self-pity here, really!

Seriously, I am over the moon delighted with my three precious granddaughters. I am immensely proud of their parents and grateful that they are such giving capable adults. My hats off to all the parents of twins out there. May their energy and tribes increase. And to the grandparents who love them—Lets just hang on.

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Living and Hoping

I recently experienced a bout with depression and was gripped by the accompanying hopelessness. Despite what I knew to be true, my emotions usurped rational thought and dragged me down. With proper medication, good counsel, and time I believe that I am, finally, on the mend. Whew!

Over the past year I have had the privilege of getting to know many homeless women who have real physical reasons for depression. Many have been abandoned and abused. For others, family members have taken advantage and refused to help with bills and other responsibilities. Sudden and debilitating illnesses have robbed many women of their jobs and the resource to pay rent. Talk about depressing…

The Davis Center at Community Connections houses homeless women and provides transitional housing and rehabilitation to 80 women at a time. For up to two years women are assisted in financial planning, job-training, academic accreditation, counseling and medical care. I have been amazed as depressed and sometimes angry women find hope.

During our recent monthly “Women’s Empowerment” dinner we discussed how hope has two components: expectations and specific desires.

Expectations:

I was not surprised to discover that most of the women believed (when they were teenagers) that they could expect an easier life, happiness, and love. Those who were cared for by capable mothers or grandmothers took them for granted. Others grew up in abusive situations and believed that escape would produce freedom. In many ways my teenage expectations were similar.

Desires:

I have always possessed a deep desire to be loved. My friends at Community Connections are no different. We all desire to have a purpose. We want to be respected and understood. Unfortunately the way that I sought to fulfill that desire was in ways that hurt me. I abused and overmedicated my body to achieve “fame” in modeling. I still have a voice in my head that says, “If you were just thinner you would be happy.” We all have stupid voices in our head, don’t we?

Last night, as we sat in a big circle, I was enthralled to hear the many ways women have awakened to their need to silence such destructive voices. Their expectations have changed and they are now prepared for a life of self-determination, self-sacrifice, and hard work.

Their desires may not have changed fundamentally, but they are gaining wisdom in learning how to best achieve these goals.
One woman shared, “I know my mama loved me but she never treated me with dignity.”

The hope for these women is to get on their feet and live productive lives. They are learning to avoid the spiral of debt and poverty. Fortunately, the statistics show that the Davis Center produces long-term success. Most of these women will never face homelessness again! That’s great news.

Unfortunately I find that many of my desires are more selfish and actually elusive.
  I want to be a perfect size 8
  I want my face to be free from those unsightly lines and wrinkles
  I want to spend the rest of my days happily married to my husband
  I want my energy level to stay like it was in my 20s and I never want to be sick

  Obviously these desires are setting me up for dashed hopes.
After all, my expectations must be realistic. I am over 55 years old. These things happen!!!

So what is my hope?

Last night I learned from a beautiful young woman. She said, “My hope is that I will leave a legacy for my children… one of faith and hard work… one of hope and a future.”

I like that, don’t you?