When the girls were younger, I would look forward to the day when they were one year old. Like that was the holy grail, the highest goal.
When they turn one, I'd tell myself, things will be much better.
I'd imagine how they'd play together, and they'd laugh more than cry, and go for longer periods without nursing, and would actually sit up at or near the table and eat with us, like a real family - they'd be veritable adults, and our world would resemble some former shadow of how it used to be.
When they're one, we'd say, we'll do this or we'll do that. It was our coping mechanism, a way to build each other up with the hope that it won't always be like this and that life would go on, and in an even better way. It gave us something to cling to when it felt like I'd never get up out of the nursing chair or get longer than 3 hours of sleep at a time, or even some far-off hope like successfully going camping or to the beach, or even out to eat. When they're one.
Well, the sisters are one. And now that we're here, it's bittersweet. I find myself wishing my itty babes back into my arms, falling asleep with tummies full, curling up close to me at night as we rotated in and out of beds. Those quiet nursing moments, their little hands curling around my fingers, nibbling on their rolls and kissing their baby cheeks. Cuddling them in my soft wrap.
But now they don't sleep with us anymore, it's too distracting and they just want to play with my eyelashes and nostrils. They nurse sitting up, together, one straddling each of my legs. When they're done, in about 8 minutes, they take off again. They are still chubby, but I notice that their legs are slowly thinning as they stand up side by side and dance to Raffi. And when I hold them, their legs dangle below my arms!
Their laughs as we chew on their remaining rolls sound older. I hold their hands to check their fingernails (jeez but they grow fast) and they tear them away, not wanting to be restrained. The distance between night feedings is slowly increasing.
Who are these children and what have you done with my babies?
They stand, cruise, and crawl over and around and then they move away, orbiting around me but the gravity of their curiosity with life keeps them at a distance, until the sweet moment when the baby reappears and they realize that they need mommy - they still need me - and I realize that one year old isn't really so old after all.
And I'm thankful.