My twins have always been close, and it’s not just because they moved from the same womb to the same room, sharing a Moses basket and a crib in between. There’s something special about these two. How it happened is beyond me. Literally beyond me. It has to be God, because for the first two years of their lives, I existed in a daze, living in the spaces between feedings and changings and naps. By popular parenting standards, I was not a fabulous mom. I barely breastfed, had postpartum depression, never bought organic anything, and was thrilled when they watched TV.
Through their first two years, I wrote, emailing volumes of twin stories to family and friends. My mother recently sent them all back, and I as I read, I realized that most of my memories from that time are gone, save for a general feeling of hopelessness, exhaustion, and panic.
Yet the words seem strangely familiar, a reflection in a store window. Through their lens I can appreciate that what seemed like an utterly black time did contain moments of beauty and grace, and that I was a good mother. Now my twins are six, and I am so thankful to my mother for preserving those words so I can put it all together and marvel at the panoramic puzzle that is twinship, starting from the beginning.
The Morse code tapped out in my distended belly was communication, but not necessarily with me. In my lower abdomen, my son slumbered, and under my ribcage, my daughter, feisty and awake, kicked restlessly. Wake up, she telegraphed.
A blow to my kidney made me gasp and my son answered. No. I’m sleeping. Stop kicking me.
She responded with a series of jabs. I want to be born already. This is boring.
Well, just stop moving. I’m trying to sleep. There’s not enough room in here to even think about being born.
Naturally, my daughter got her way.
Swaddled and in the same crib, they found peace only when they found each other. Their foreheads pressed together as they slept, breathing together, dreaming together, already forming a trinity of him and her and them.
Babble turned to first words in their language instead of mine. Deep philosophical conversations, from the sound of it, conducted entirely in twin-speak, and comprehensible only to the speakers.
They are each other’s security blankets, covering all manner of hurts and needs. A mother’s hug might soothe, but only the other half can make things whole.
My twins are two people, distinct in every way. One boy, one girl. One light, one dark. Photo negatives of each other in thought and in action. Where one has shadow, the other rushes to fill the space with light.
Now, I watch as the threads that connect them multiply, weaving a pattern on an invisible loom, using an ancient craft that can’t be taught. The rest of us are blessed enough to watch it happen, and as outsiders, we only catch glimpses of this gossamer mesh that binds, moments that leave us struck dumb with disbelief at the beauty of this communion. In those moments, I see God through my children, around my children, binding them together with the sticky silk of love.
This mesh forms a beautiful interweaving of lives and space and thoughts and touch that I will never fully understand, even as their mother. The threads that bind aren’t restraints; they’re a web of love and language and unspoken thoughts. If one needs the other, they snap back; a rubber band released. I watch, and I marvel, but I see through a haze, knowing the details will never be clear for anyone but the two of them.