By Kitty Just
Calling old friends! Calling old friends! Come out…Come out, wherever you are! As the mother of two singletons and 1-year-old twin boys, I created this slight “fun” variation on an old children’s game to make a serious point. You see, I am often home alone with my twins, and fun is a word that I recently had to look up in the dictionary to recall its meaning.
I know just by writing this that I am bordering on self-pity (not to be confused with remorse) over the fact that raising four young children can be tough. But is that why my old friends are rather invisible these days? I often ask myself. Are they afraid that my condition is contagious?
To put it bluntly, I’d like to know where all my friends have gone. I seem to remember them from the not-too-distant past whooping with joy when hearing about my impending multiple births. They were the same ones who daily called to get the “twin pregnancy update” and who promised to be that extra pair of hands when the babies arrived.
So, there I was, egotistical old me, feeling very special and flattered by all the attention. I could not wait to deliver my babies—the only twins, by the way, ever born in the whole world! Finally my boys entered the world amid much “ooohhing” and “aaaahing” from friends near and far. They visited; they left; and they didn’t come back… so much for feeling special.
Excuses! Do I get excuses! Some of the most popular ones are: “I’ll try to come by!” “I’m so busy!” “You don’t need visitors!” “I don’t want to bother you!”
Please bother me, I think when hearing those comments. I want to be bothered! Yes, my hands are full; my home is crazy; and someone is crying or hungry or wet, but I still need my friends to bother me. Now more than ever, I need the security that friendships give!
Maybe it’s a fear I have that I will never return to my pre-babies state of mind. Granted, my life has changed, but I haven’t, I hope and I wonder how my friends perceive me? Their absence is disturbing, if not depressing.
If I thought the fault lay with me, I would readily admit it. But in talking to other mothers of multiples, I find the same trend. It distresses them as much as it does me. For some reason, our old friends consider us off limits now that our families have grown.
I realize that most people fail to understand how I cope with my topsy-turvy life. 24-hours a day of doing double diaper changes, juggling two bottles in two hungry mouths and attending to stereophonic screaming (not to mention the voices of my other children who would also appreciate some of their mother’s attention) is a tough schedule for an outsider to grasp.
I don’t lightly dismiss the fact that many of my friends have similar days with their children. I’m not trying to outdo them on the misery index, but I have come to believe that nobody can appreciate what two babies the exact same age, running in opposite directions, can do for one’ psyche, unless they have experienced raising multiples.
Had I delivered a single baby, I would probably be a lot more mobile, running to the mall or lunching with a pal, baby in tow. But I cannot do that comfortably. The hassle and exhaustion of getting two babies revved up for a fun day spent strapped in a stroller and dressed in parkas when naps and meals have to be considered can be a monumental, if not impossible challenge for me to meet. Quite honestly, I don’t really know if I can blame some of my friends who have older children for their excusing themselves from joining me on those excursions. I’d like to stay home, too!
So I stay home often, nursing my wounds, hoping for an impromptu visit or telephone call from a buddy who just wants to get together for old times’ sake. I love my kids, but I love my friends, too. It seems that “never the twain shall meet!”
I think that I know what the real problem might be: My friends are all afraid that I am going to put them to work chasing babies! Never mind that they volunteered to be that extra pair of hands anytime I needed them. In fact, I know just the thing that might wake them up. If they need an invitation, so be it:
Mrs. Kitty Just requests the honor of your presence for coffee, some sympathy and general chit-chat any day of the week including evenings. Expect several interruptions, but diaper changes unnecessary.
Regrets Only (Running Shoes Optional)!
Kitty Just has twin boys and was an active member of her local parents of multiples club for many years including serving as president.