twin girls facing each other laughing outside in the desert, one in a pink shirt, one in a green shirt

Happy Birthday to My Beautiful Girls!

This is it. It’s the big one! My girls are officially adults!

So, if anyone needs me today, I’ll be in my closet crying into a bucket of nacho cheese.

These girls have been pushed to the limit. They have been through things that would break so many. And they have handled it all with such grace and resilience that I don’t even know how to express the pride I feel from being their mom.

It always annoys me slightly when people say they don’t know how the girls have dealt with all this and kept it together. That’s because I know. They are eternal optimists with just a splash of realism. They are smart enough to know that life is what it is and we make the best of what we have.

I truly believe that all of us, patient, parent, or otherwise, are just doing the best we can with what we have at the time. That has been somewhat of a motto for my life and my sweet girls seem to have taken that on for themselves.

My rare kiddos are rare in every sense of the word. They have been rare since the very beginning as I discovered that they were di/di identical twins. For those of you who don’t have all the twin insider info, di/di is two placentas and two sacs. Di/di is the most common twin type, but only about 30% of all di/di twin pregnancies are identical. So, they are definitely a bit on the rare side for twins in that regard.

twin girls in matching black graduation caps with '22 tassels, with black gowns and light blue, hugging each other and smiling in the desert.

As my girls turn 18, I am reminded of their 17th birthday, just weeks after our second brain surgery in 3 months around here. It was incredibly bittersweet. I was keenly aware of how lucky we are to continue to celebrate birthdays with them in a way I hadn’t really appreciated in years past. At least not since their actual birth day which was filled with typical worry and anxiety given their premature entrance into the world.

This year they enter adulthood. And while I am thrilled for them to enter this next phase, I am unsettled. I am struggling to accept that their life may not be quite as carefree and independent as I had hoped and dreamed. We will always need a backup plan. We will always need to buy insurance on trips, worry about odd symptoms, and plan to put money aside into a trust for them so they don’t have to worry about paying for medications and testing. We are preparing to take care of them for the rest of their lives, not our lives.

This 18th birthday, like most days raising rare kids, is a mixed bag. I am incredibly excited to see where life takes them. And I am incredibly worried that where it takes them may be a disappointment to them. It may not live up to their expectations.

Mostly, I am just a little sad about it all. A little sad that this week marks the first week that we will have to use all those legal forms I’ve been hoarding for this occasion. We will have to finally meet with that attorney to set up trusts for them both so as not to leave them with money that may disqualify them for services that could be required one day after we are gone. And a little sad that their plans to go 3 hours away to college are on hold for another year or two while we get things a bit more settled.

I know it is normal to feel this way, even for parents of typical children. I know I am not alone. I know other rare parents see these feelings in a way that is both validating, and heartbreaking.

And for now, for the day, I am going to ignore those feelings. I spent some time honoring them here, with you. I spent a bit of time in prayer, asking God to look out for my babies as they go out into the big bad world in a new way. And now I am going to move forward in celebration of my sweet, beautiful girls -I mean women- as they embark on the next exciting chapter of their lives!

Happy Birthday, Twinnies!

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  • Kate

    I was doing okay until you called them “Women”, but they are! Amazing strong beautiful women who are a credit to your beauty and strength as well. This day celebrates you as much as them. I hope you enjoy it as much as they do. Happy Birthday, beautiful women!!!

  • Katie Norris

    I cannot believe they are 18!! The years have flown by! I am incredibly proud of these two young women. It is a honor and a privilege to ne their Nana!❤️❤️??