Dear Zoe and Lucy,
Tonight you graduated from Preschool.
Gay-Gay and Pop, Uncle Mike and Aunt Brooke, Great Aunt Ruth, Papa and I sat on the second row and watched you and a sea of blue mortarboards file two-by-two into a room filled with teary-eyed, flash-popping grown-ups. At first you were uncertain, cautious. Then you saw us and your bursting smiles nearly split your faces in two, and you waved, sweetly, frantically, unable to believe that here we all were, watching you.
At dinner beforehand, Lucy, just as we were sitting down, you turned to your grandfather, eager to make conversation, and said “Pop, what do you think about our graduation?”
I’ll tell you what we all think. We are proud. We are excited. But most of all, we are dumbfounded.
You see once upon a time you were very tiny, and you demanded a great deal of attention. You nursed around the clock, neither of you would sleep unless you were in someone’s arms (both of you desperate to reclaim the constant human touch you had grown accustomed to in utero, but lost at birth), and while you were in our arms not one of us could carry on a useful conversation without mentioning our amazement at the sheer fact of you. The inherent ironic uniqueness of identical twins.
I took a walk one day with my mother (Gay-Gay). You were some number of not many weeks old and I was explaining to Gay-Gay that, although I understood how one day this period of time would all be a blur, I couldn’t help but feel distraught at how acutely un-blurry it felt while we were going through it. “I just want to be on the other side,” I remember saying. “Looking back and saying ‘Wow. What a blur that whole time was.’ ”
The thing is, they got it wrong. Those people who empathically explained that the first few months of parenthood would soften into a blurry dreamlike representation of the actual first few months of parenthood. It’s not just the first few months. No, as far as I can tell, it’s the first few years, really.
I mean sure. I remember plenty of details about the past 4-and-three-quarters years.
I remember how you both used the word “nay-nay” to refer to yourself and your sister, yet mysteriously stopped on your second birthday when you learned the word “mine.”
I remember how you wore nothing but bathing suits for an entire summer, regardless of whether there was swimming on our agenda for the day.
I remember the first time I saw you laugh at each other. At 4 months old, you could barely balance unassisted on your sides so we propped you there, facing one another, and you laughed and laughed and laughed. (That moment began an addiction for me — I will never get tired of hearing you laugh.)
I remember endless hours pushing you on the porch swing, telling you stories. Endless. Hours.
So I guess it’s not all a blur. I remember all these things and much much more. And I’m grateful for every single one of those memories, and doleful over all the ones that have gauzily drifted away.
But I swear, tonight, watching you on that stage (a stage in both senses of the word as you are ending one stage and moving boldly on to another), even though you looked like this:
I cannot for the life of me figure out when you stopped looking like this:
I love you both so very much, and I am so proud of you.