Sunday, January 13, 2008

on strength

A friend described me today as "strong." I just laughed and said, "Wow. I must be a great fake."
"Seriously," she said. "It must be so hard. I don't think I could do it."

I thought about this all day. Me? Strong? She who stayed in her hospital bed the day her children were born because she thought - at 27 weeks - they would still look like tadpoles? She who isn't in many of the pictures on her own blog because she is usually having all-out bawling sessions in the hospital bathroom? Me? Strong? Naaaaah.

What struck me even more was the fact that she didn't think she could live my "oh-so-difficult" life. For the record, my life rocks. I have it all: husband I adore; great family and in-laws; fun job; caring friends; and non-drooling dogs. I've always felt unbelievably blessed and lucky. And on top of all of the good things in my life, I have beautiful twins. Yes, they were born early, and yes, they are sick and little. But so what? They certainly don't make my life any less good.

The fact is none of us are ever ready for a traumatic event to hit our lives. And when it does, most of us feel wildly unprepared. I know I did. This clearly isn't the motherhood that I dreamed of. I never thought I would say, "Look at the beautiful wires and tubes that I gave birth to!" But, for whatever reason, it's still the part I was given. And I play the role - with emotion, grace, and a fair amount of humor. I'm not sure, however, that this attitude proves my strength.

If you want to call someone strong, look at my kids. I can 100% guarantee that neither one of them came into this world and thought, "I don't think I can do it." Instead, they continue to fight every single fight they are given, using every bit of their tiny bodies to do it.

Every morning, I get up and go to the hospital. It's not hard to do when I think about what's waiting for me there: two four-week old babies who are ready to teach me a few lessons on will, determination, and strength. And it is the two of them - and their inspirational approach to life - that make my role as "the mommy" quite easy.

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