Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two and counting...

Dearest Sophia and Mae,
Tomorrow is your 2nd Birthday. We have made it two whole years. In October of 2008 I was still living in my little apartment off the park in Atlanta. 

I had not yet decided to come to Morocco. I was in Paris on vacation in October of 2008. I had NO IDEA that within a year I would be giving birth to two twin girls. That I would be reunited with the love of my life and that we would turn into the vessels that would birth you and then care for you and then (now) begin to make decisions that will affect the rest of your lives. 

Every decision that we are faced with feels so heavy. I try not to analyze it all at once or I feel at risk of a panic attack. My god, how do parents, how did my parents swallow this responsibility. Or maybe it’s not so hard for everyone? Maybe some people make these decisions easier. Maybe these things are not as difficult for everyone. For me, though, for your mother, these decisions are huge. I am graying in the hair, I am wrinkling around the eyes. Yesterday while sitting in traffic and trying to accept the magnitude of what it means to be responsible for your lives I was actually able to empathize with the presidents of the United States - past and present. My thinking went like this:

“Holy crap, what is wrong with me. Why does this all feel so huge, am I making the right decisions? Are we making the right decisions for them? Will the decision that we make now about what school we put them in affect the rest of their lives? How will we ever save enough money to send them to college? To retire? To take another vacation? Oh my god, we need more money – no wait, we don’t – we have everything we need. I need to look at myself (opens the mirror) fcuk I am turning gray over this, look at those hairs, and oh my god my face is pale and ahhhhhhhhh this is why the presidents all go gray. I am graying over which freaking pre-school to enroll my toddlers in and a family savings plan and they are, in a way, responsible for so many lives not just in America but all over the world. I mean if THESE decisions feel big to me just imagine how THOSE decisions feel for them!”

So couple that with the keen awareness of the 99% movement in the states and the rough economic times that the United States are facing and the confusion over where to live and when to move and what to do, and you’ve got Madame (gray hair remember, no more mademoiselle) Basket case!

Anyways, besides all of the worrying I do…will continue to do…I also do the following:
I am still able to sweep you up from your beds in the morning, with your languid bodies plastering against my chest. Hold your hands to walk around the house. Get you to give me sweet intentional kisses. Make you laugh your heads off by throwing a really (not very funny) ugly face your way. Sophia you have learned how to throw except that you walk right up and throw hard, at close range, in the face of whoever you are throwing to. Mae, when you are sick Sophia becomes the ‘Mae is sick Sophia’. She is bad, she jumps on you and takes stuff from you and acts really like a controlling little tyrant. She also acts goofy and expresses all of these desires and emotions that I think she usually suppresses when you are well, because her personality has developed in relation to yours. But Mae, when Sophia is sick, it is the opposite, you listen for her cry and accompany me into the room. You bring her Dora doll to her side of the bed and kiss her on the head and are careful not to accidentally hit her. You translate her whines for me and call it to my attention if I overlook her needs.  You are sweet and caring and make sure she is ok. I am so proud of you Mae. You are a good sister. 

Sophia you are too honey, just not when Mae is sick! But when you are both well – you Sophia, you willingly give Mae your toy if she is screaming for it, maybe because you don’t want to listen to it or maybe because you don’t really care either way and prefer for things to be peaceful. Sophia you are able to lay with me for hours or even lay alone and read books. You are very outgoing and you don’t cling and will go to anyone that offers you a kind smile and open arms. 

You are both so loved and adored by your father and me. We can’t even remember what life was like before you got here, even though that was only two short years ago. 

You have also started talking to us. You tell on each other, you tell on the neighbors, you know the names of all the neighborhood kids and ask to go and play with them and the cows and the donkeys on a daily basis.

This past week we considered moving you back into Casablanca to facilitate your lives. Since you have been born I have had the distinct impression that I am only the conductor of your fate, that I am not the decider. I have the impression that you two were born with your own luck, your own money and your own destiny and that my job and your father’s job is simply to be open enough to listen to your fate and simply help you connect up with the wide range of possibilities that are out there for you. This debate about staying out here in the country or moving back to the city at a certain point made me revisit this idea that I am only a conductor of your destiny and that your home, the place where you are meant to live, will come to us and that we only have to be smart enough to recognize it. Well…it turns out…we are already living in it. We found this country house with ease. We found it for the price we need, your nannies presented themselves to us in a month’s time after we moved here and we have been in peace every since then. You have both learned to walk in between the raised beds in the garden and not to step on the vegetables. You have taught yourselves to imitate the noises of all of the animals you see every day here. Your skin gets sick if we take you away from the ocean air and it gets better again when we rub salt water on your legs. I dare say – your home is your home and you are not meant to leave it yet. You are not meant to return to Casablanca and live in an apartment and have a maid pick you up from school.

We just had to be smart enough to understand that. Now we get it. We are staying…until the next thing presents itself.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday little darlings! Thank you so so much for every single day since you were born. All of the worry and enormity of raising you is worth every single second of it. I am humbled and overjoyed to be the conductor of your fate. I look forward to seeing your lives unfold and I have absolutely no doubt there is greatness in store for you at every turn.