In our series of letters from African-American journalists, film-maker and columnist Sharon Florentine reflects on life as a new mother


How is it I find myself
talking about my kids? When it came down to it, we all agreed, “I love you,”
and “we’ll take good care of her.”

She is an only child and there is
a very good chance she is going to have one, if not more, siblings. But then
everyone has kids, and you never know. For those of us who do, our children
are always, always, ALWAYS something. And as soon as we make our
reappearance in the lives of the other parents on this planet, the
conversation turns into one big conversation about whether we are the
parents or the children. Which is a whole different set of things.

And then there are the other stuff. And it’s
always, always, always something.

Because we are parents of twins. And as
always, their names are Genevive and Evey. Their middle names are not
Genevive or Evey or Gene and Evey. They are Gene and Evelyn.

For the past few months, we, as a
family, have been working on a brand new, never-before-experienced chapter in
our lives. The chapter about twins.

There is nothing that compares to
the feeling of having a baby with you all day and the sense of seeing your
child develop inside your body all day. There is nothing that compares to
the feeling of having a baby with you all day. That, too, is an incredibly
great experience, but it is not, unfortunately, a life experience.

This is our life.

For the past five weeks, we have
been working on getting used to having Evey and Genevive at the same time.
Every morning, they wake up at like 5:30. We wake up at 6am. It has taken a
lot longer than we expected. We are finally taking off our shoes and getting
ready to do the dishes. And then we just put on our pajamas and turn the
covers back up.

When they are asleep.

Before we woke up, we were like
“hey, let’s spend some time enjoying this time. It might be the last time
we have all day to be in each other’s presence.”

And we spent those moments just
loving their little bodies.

When they were in a deep sleep, we
would tell them to “be quiet.” That meant no talking. When they asked us to
play the game, we would say, “No games. Just don’t talk.” When they woke up
from their sleep and we went back to our busy lives, we spent a lot of
time reminding ourselves of that.

I am pretty sure that our oldest is
going to have a sibling. And he deserves it. He is always up and asking to
go back to his room again. I am going to have a son. And he deserves it too.

Right now, I don’t want any other
childs. I don’t want any other little kids in my life, but Evey and Genevive
are in my life now. And they need me. I don’t want to leave them. I don’t
want to not love them. I don’t want to not be here.

I am not going to be the parent who
forgets about his kids. I am not going to be the parent who gets mad at them
for not being perfect. Of course, they sometimes make mistakes. This is
normal. I know I do all the time. But I am going to do one thing right for
the next five years. And that one thing is I am going to make them feel
like they matter to me.

After they are asleep, I will just
love them and want them to feel like they matter. It will take some time.
But I want it to be worth the wait.

I think about our daughter all
the time. And I want to tell her more about how much I love her. I want to say
more and more and more. And I am tired of pretending that I don’t know

I never meant to be a mom. I never
took it for granted that I would have the time or the privilege to be one. So
I am just going to do this thing for the rest of my life. The rest of my
life. The rest of my life, I will do this thing right, and I will make it
worth the wait.

After I’ve done this thing for the
rest of my life, I will take it for granted. I will let it become the norm.
I will tell all the other moms that I know that I am a lucky woman because
I have a full-time job that requires so little of my time to give my kids
that I don’t even really feel I have enough time for them. I think they would
say the same thing.

I just don’t know why I still love
them so much. And I always will.

So now that the book is written, I
will try to be like the other moms. I will try to be the mom who puts
everything on the table. When I’m asking them to help with the dishes, I
will also be asking them how their day was. I will ask them how their
brains feel when they are tired. I will ask them how their children feel
when they are tired. I will ask them how they feel like their kids are
tired. And then I will stop. Because I love them enough to tell them in
detail, but I don’t want to bore them with all the details.

But I also don’t want to bore my
own children with all the details, because then I am just a mom talking a
lot about how much I love my kids and that my feelings are completely
irrelevant to my kids.

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