A dear friend of mine and I were talking about her darling twins. She is an amazing mum and I don’t know how she does it, but she shared something that I am forever grateful for and I am amazed how relevant it was to me.
She said “People think that having twins is cute and they assume it is a double bundle of joy. They go all gushy when they see these two little darlings in the mall or out and about. They will poke and smile and laugh when they see them; even if I have only just got them settled down,” She went on to say “twins are HARD work and it is one of the hardest things you can manage and you can’t wait until they are old enough.” And they she stopped and I knew that she was lost for words about how demanding and difficult a role it truly was. The words didn’t have to be spoken, they were felt.
I must say that I was truly amazed, as like every other ignorant person out there, I naively thought twins would be such fun! They would have each other to play with! They would dress the same and look cute all the time! They would be best friends and always get along! Right? Wrong!! My friend described it as an endless, feeding, giving, arguing, pleading, screaming, demanding scenario that is never ending. No, they don’t sleep at the same time. No, they don’t always get along. No, they don’t like the same things. No, they don’t do everything in unison. No, they aren’t little angels all the time… and so on. The reality is that they are two demanding newborns born at the same time and wrestling for attention. YOUR attention.
I sit here today and I am amazed at some of the parallels for those of us with more than one disease, and trying to manage them at the same time. When people ask you “Oh, what condition do you have?” and you tell them a long list of illnesses you are trying to live with and cope with, they generally hear the first word you say and form this picture of what life might be like. They are wrong. Very wrong.
Its not just a laundry list to me that I can ‘check’ off as the day goes by. Some days they play nicely, but that can change quickly! Some days its like walking into a room and one child is screaming in the corner, one child is writing on the walls, one child needs changing its diaper, another child is hitting the other over the head with a baseball bat and one is about to pull boiling water of itself!! Which one do you help or rescue first? Its a constant juggling act and no two children are alike. They even compete for attention! Sometimes you want to run away and some days you may wish it was all just a bad dream and want to be that single carefree woman again. I carry these little darling monsters with me wherever I go, they are inside me, they are part of me. Everyday is an up at dawn battle with very little rest and no escape.
There is one important difference though to me and my darling friend with the twins and that is that my ‘children’ will never grow up and leave home. I have to nurse them for the rest of my life.