12 Years Old

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And so, one more year slides onto the silken string of memories…. soft and sweet, like pearls, this life granted to me as their Mother.

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The line between their life and mine, invisible at first, is more distinct on these cusps of their little boyness, where their arms and legs keep getting longer and their feet need men’s size shoes.  I tell them they are not allowed to grow anymore, but they keep eating and growing anyway.  Whole pounds of spaghetti for dinner, and last week when I made a batch of doughnuts, they ate them all in one day.   They carry each other around the house and can even carry me!

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But there are still signs that they’re not quite done yet being Little.

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The laundry still yields pockets full of bubble gum wrappers, and when I make the bed, it is still attacked by Flying Squirrels within minutes.  Sports and electronics and clothes are important, but we also spend afternoons immersed in Legos, and turn to fuzzy animals and blankets for comfort.  They still need hugs from their Mom and Dad, and I’m hoping that no matter how big they get, that will never change.

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At 12 years old, confidence and self-doubt grow together in leaps and bounds.  As I watch them, sometimes I wonder if having twins and no other children is a little like having an only child.  There is only one age and one reference point, and only one timeline for my attachment to motherhood.  At this age they are like little foals wet behind the ears, wobbling awkwardly as they see the world as it really is for the first time.  That can be a hard thing to see.

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In track and swimming, they have a kind coach who sees them and is interested in who they are.  It is so important at this age to have activities and role models that make them feel good about themselves.  That is important at every age, I think.  Their coach is one of their angels.

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Swim meets are long days spent at the pool, jumping around the gym with their friends and throwing tennis balls, not noticing the fun they’re having without any screens.  Mike and I love watching them fly and free-style through the pool!  This winter, the team went to Munich and Budapest.  They rode the bus with backpacks full of road snacks, and felt the energy of belonging to a team.

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In the mornings I pack carrots, cookies, and salami in their lunches, and add tomatoes and peanut butter to the ones that like those things.  Thank goodness there is at least one that likes peanut butter!  Mike fries eggs and makes toast and sometimes pancakes, if we wake up early enough.  The endless reminders to put on socks and comb hair have been replaced with listening to the NPR news brief together, and discussing the politics of both the world and sixth grade.  Those two worlds are not so different sometimes.  Our long mornings before school are precious, a family time that so far, none of us want to sleep through.

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Twelve years old is delicate.  Jake and Eli are friends but still brothers, and like all siblings, they fight for video game time and to find their own voice.  I see their personalities growing through the years, the same as they’ve always been, but now it’s something that they’re aware of, too.

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There are so many more details I want to recount, to fill these pages with all the things I see and love about my children.  These treasured steps of their growing selves need discretion though, and their details are no longer mine to tell.

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So I hold the details in my heart and appreciate that their little heads still fit against my neck, and that when we hug, we still nestle.

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And that things like this show up to bring perspective to the business of life.

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And that I have two flying squirrels in the house who can’t resist jumping on my bed.  There is nothing I can do to keep them home, and nothing I can do to keep them babies, but I would make my bed three times a day forever, if it meant they would always be here.

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Happy Birthday my Sweethearts!  Your Mom and Dad love you, and no matter how big you get, that never changes.

It just turns the page to one more day of your wild and precious life.

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