My parents and my brother are on the east coast and I'm in Chicago. I love Chicago. It feels like my home. I have spent almost my entire adult life in Chicago and several years of my childhood. I had hoped that I'd be able to be a single dad here in Chicago raising my son or daughter fully knowing that it would be a lot harder without family nearby.
The idea of twins rarely entered my head as I started this process. I knew twins was a possibility, but when I envisioned myself as a dad I saw myself cuddling one child, driving that one child to play rehearsals and taking that one child to Disney World.
During the surrogacy process I met someone and we are engaged now and hoping to get married soon (if these stupid, discriminatory laws will ever change -- but that's a topic for another day). The truth is I don't know what I would have done had I not met him. Even with two of us I am exhausted, stressed and overwrought. I can barely function some days after being up only half the night while he takes the other half. When the crying is too much for me to take I have someone who can give me a break. When we need formula because we're almost out he can watch the kids when I run to the store. When I have washed 4,218 bottles and I don't want to wash one more I wake up the next morning to find all of the dirty bottles cleaned.
Two weeks ago I got sick. Very, very sick. On Sunday I was so sick I could barely get out of bed all day. I think about the fact that I went to a walk in clinic on Saturday and didn't have to lug my kids with me because Derek watched them. I think about the fact that for 4 nights I was able to sleep all night (and half the day) because Derek took care of them. Had I not met Derek I can't imagine taking care of two kids 24/7 while have a sore throat, muscle aches, fever and chills. I have no idea how I would have done it. And Derek did it all without asking me to lift a finger. He did an amazing job.
I have a lot more respect for single parents now. I have one friend who is a single mom of twins and I am in awe of how she has survived two plus years with them. I have other single parent friends who have dealt with evil ex-es, gravely sick kids in hospitals, huge life changes and I now am blown away by how they conquered tough situations AND took care of kids on their own.
So this Thanksgiving I am grateful to have Derek. Had I been doing this alone I would have had less time with the kids, more stress, less sleep, less money, more worries, and more meltdowns. When Derek offers help I have to remember that we are doing this as a team and it's OK to not do it all on my own. There are times when I get angry that he wants to help and it's because I want to prove to the world that I could have done this on my own had he not entered my life. The truth? -- maybe I could have poorly survived parenthood because you figure out a way to deal with what life gives you, but I would not be as good of a parent as I am. I would not have time at home with the boys to watch them grow and figure out the world. Without Derek the twins would not have eaten squash, known the joy of a Johnny Jumper, be with a great pediatrician and have as many pictures and videos to celebrate their lives.
So thank you, Derek, for entering my life, taking this wild parenthood ride with me, enriching the lives of Aaron and Jeff and making my dreams come true.
|Aaron is standing!|
|Jeff has teeth!|