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By May 30, 2007monkeys

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.


Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • “inherent ironic uniqueness”

    How I love that phrase.

  • Dag says:

    I know that I would have cried reading this if I had not been a mother, but GOD, because I am, my legs are weak, my heart aches & laughs, and I’m grinning (really big ~ almost as big as the girls’ when they saw you in the audience!!).
    Thanks (again!!) for such a lovely moment!

  • mh says:

    Dear Laurie,

    I see you’re not the only writer in the family–what a lovely gift for Lucy and Zoe someday and for all of us right now. Thanks for sharing these tender moments.

  • Judy Pera says:

    I can’t type or think, I’m crying so much!!

    Love, Aunt Judy

  • Mary says:

    ditto what Judy said! plus, they are so lucky to have you as their mom.

  • ruth Cohen says:


    I will cherish this beautiful event among my memories.

    My best love to all of you.

  • clarissa porter says:

    Thank you, Laurie, for the Magical Mystery Tour de Force.
    You are an interestngly inventive, poetic, talented writer.
    I love the questing spiritedness.
    And the photos, early and late, are a just-right conclusion.
    Your timing for this lucky recipient was post-on.
    Laurie, you never, ever disappoint.
    Your loving old teacher,

  • found you because of your collaborative site sk*rt. This post… wow. Amen. Something for me to… look forward to…and hope doesn’t come for a long while.

  • Joanne says:

    I also found your site through Sk*rt. And your post also brought me to tears; it was very beautiful. Perhaps you want to print two copies and give them to your girls when they become mothers. I am a first time mom and although my son is only almost one, sometimes thinking about him growing up, and graduating high school makes me so anxious. I know that 18 years is so far away but at the same time, I am sure it will turn into that blur that you speak about. People ask, Can you believe he is almost one? and I say Yes…since I’ve spent every day of this first year experiencing it and watching him go from nursing evry two hours, to moving from his bassinet to a crib, and you know the rest. Congratulations! Your girls are beautiful. Congrats on Sk*rt too…I think it’s great.

  • Debbie flynnstein says:

    Just had to say thank you and share with you that Rachel read your post with me. As soon as the girls pics appeared she announced with glee “dere’s Zoe and Lucy!”. Then she wanted to know whether they were at Columbia. I guess David’s graduation made an impression. Then of course she wanted to know where Elmo was as he is the person she most often sees on the computer.

    Congratulations to both graduates. They have passed summa cum laude in curiosity, empathy and humor.

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