Last month we went with Angel, Zoey and Mya to Cincinnati Museum Center‘s Holiday Trains Exhibit. Owen kept saying “choo choo” and “wow.” The exhibit included a small train children could ride, sans adults. While waiting in line I kept debating if I should let Owen and James ride it with Zoey and Sophie. I thought of the worst thing that could happen—they totally freak out, the “conductor” has to stop the train and I have to climb through the exhibit to get them. And I decided I wouldn’t let them. But then I thought some more. I thought about how much Sophie did at their age. Because of the boys’ gestational age, they don’t do as much as Sophie did when she was their age. They’re not as ready but yet I worry that I sometimes hold the boys back, because of my own fears—of logistics, for example.
And so, I let them. I loaded everyone into the train.
Owen flipped out. Thankfully, he did this before the train left. So I pulled him out, but let James stay. James did wonderfully. He sat on the seat with Zoey and Sophie the entire time. Sophie said once he tried to stand up and that she and Zoey told him he wasn’t allowed—that he had to sit down—and so he did. I was so proud.
And yet, I felt so guilty. I know Owen and James are two separate people. And I know Owen gets much more anxious and upset with strangers and strange situations compared to James. But yet, I felt sad. Sad that James got the experience and Owen didn’t. Happy that James was so happy and then, it occurred to me. Owen was, too. He loved watching the train go past, waving to Sophie, Zoey and James. He was happier off the train. James was happier on it. Sure, equality is important. I wouldn’t give Sophie and James an apple and not give one to Owen—if he wanted it. But I also wouldn’t force him to eat an apple, just because Sophie and James wanted it.
It seems so simple, but it was a good twin-mom lesson for me to learn. Most lessons are that I way, I think—seemingly simple, once learned.
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” —Helen Keller