Jamie and Micah are not exactly Irish twins. You know, babies born a year apart. They are nearly nineteen months apart in age, which is not that unusual. In fact, I know several people who have had babies that close, or even closer together. But Jamie was less than eighteen and a half months old when I hit my due date with Micah, meaning he had no clue what was going on. He has no memory of life before Micah. And Micah certainly has no memories that don’t include Jamie.
Cody and Jamie are close in age too, exactly twenty-one months apart. Cody likely does have memories that don’t include Jamie, because he’s got a ridiculously sharp mind and memory. Cody is close to both of his brothers too, but somehow he wasn’t as much a part of the team of troublemaking. Maybe it’s because he is older, or more responsible, or because he started school and left the others behind when they were only two and three.
Whatever the reason, Jamie and Micah formed what I named The Dynamic Duo. Together, they were unstoppable. Two boys that young: one with extremely creative ideas and one with no inhibitions…well, theirs was a dangerous liaison. When I was pregnant with Lauren, Micah moved into Jamie and Cody’s bedroom. He was a few months shy of three years old when we made that move. Since then, they have been sharing a room, and are still sharing a room, even though Cody moved out over a month ago. They were in the same class at school last year, and the same class at Sunday school too.
This year, there has been a shift. Both of them had school every other day last year, so on their non-kindergarten days, they were home together, with Lauren and I. This year, Jamie is in grade one, and he now attends school full days, every day. This is their first significant separation in a long time. Micah goes every second day, all day, but he is in a different class from his brother. Further, on his days off, Jamie is not here with him. This change has been bittersweet for me. I miss my Jamie, and I confess I worry about him being at school all day, because the adjustment has been hard on him.
But I have also spent the last month reflecting on the difference between three years ago, and now, and I feel like I have breathed out one big sigh of relief. Not because I don’t want Jamie around, but because I have been reflecting on how hard parenting has been ever since number two arrived. Having three boys in the span of three years was crazy difficult. I used to look at other parents and think there was something wrong with me for finding it so hard. But now I realize, it was hard. Very hard. People used to tell me, “This stage won’t last. I know it feels like forever when you’re in it, but it will pass. So enjoy it while you can, because believe it or not, one day you will miss this.” I suppose I knew they were right, but it really didn’t feel like things would ever get easier. But they have! I still can hardly believe it, but it’s true. My days are quiet now, in a way I couldn’t have imagined two years ago. Today, it’s just me and Lauren. Tomorrow, it will be just me and Micah. And it’s not just easier because the boys are at school. They have matured. They are now eight, six and a half, and five, and now they can do stuff, like clearing their dishes, making their beds, putting their laundry away, cleaning up their toys. Okay, that last one needs a lot of work. But they help. They dress Lauren in her jacket and shoes when she needs help. They buckle her in the truck when I can’t reach. None of them run into oncoming traffic if we have to take them to the city. It’s refreshing.
Of course, I still have a two year old, but she doesn’t have a three year old to lead her astray. I’m not saying motherhood is suddenly easy and perfect. It’s still difficult, but not gut-wrenchingly difficult. I don’t feel like begging every parent out there to form a support group for me. I’m not drowning. I miss my boys when they are at school, but do I miss that stage? Not yet. For now, I am finding myself grateful I survived that period of insanity. And they survived it too.