When I was pregnant with the triplets I dreamt of the normalcy of their childhood. I’m sure normal and raising triplets don’t usually belong in the same sentence but in my mind they would.
I looked forward to sitting still with a cup of coffee and a mom-friend, watching our kids at dance class or a baseball game. Ashlyn was 12 at the time and I had yet to sit down. We had worked on potty training for long enough that I’d blocked it out of my memory, adopted velcro as our only shoe option and never ventured into a play place where I couldn’t fit through the tubes, one step behind her.
My daydream for the triplets was that my biggest worry would be piles of laundry and grade-level homework.
Five years of reality later and I have yet to sit on that bench with a coffee-sipping friend. After losing one daughter and then working through the special needs of another I find myself right here, three feet from my five year-old so she can participate in the least demanding of dance classes, swatting away “normal.”
I want to say that I have accepted there will be no dance recitals and no birthday parties without a heap of anxiety on the side. I’m dying to pretend I never think about the unknowing pregnant me of the past, belly full, dreaming about a life that was never going to happen. But it just doesn’t work that way. I know I have to move through it all, the motions of accepting where we’re going and where we aren’t.
I pulled out the last of my ballet moves for living room lessons tonight. We pirouetted and stopped when McKenna got tired and I tried to remember the name for that little step where your feet tip toe around each other but she couldn’t dance through her giggles. Ashlyn got mad because we were too loud so we followed her stomping feet up to her room and talked to her with headphones in her ears because that’s what you get around here. You get love.
The same love I planned on giving when my pregnant belly was full of dreams. Maybe more.
There’s nothing as rewarding as a smile you have to fight for.
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