I carried them to term, thirty-eight weeks. They were 6.5 lbs. and 6.7 lbs. and each measured 19.5 inches, a remarkable dual heft for a 5’ 1″ me.
I carried them, hip on hip, side to side, front and back, for the first year. I carried them one at a time–on a Boppy pillow in my lap and draped across my shoulder. I carried them in tandem–strapped into strollers and car seats, in a backpack, and in a front sling. I carried them through colicky days and feverish nights, through Chuck E. Cheese bouncy-ball pits and Chick-fil-A slides.
I shuttled them to school, karate lessons, swim meets, soccer practice, baseball games, camp outs, and Scout meetings. I hauled them to shoe shopping and suit fittings and countless times to REI. I drove them to doctors’ offices and school dances, to birthday party days and movie meet-up nights.
I drove them to airports for departure to grandparent vacations and summer adventures.
I carried them to college visits and spring breaks and school dance picture parties.
This month as I watch my twin boys carry their high school diplomas across the stage, I will continue to feel their weight in my arms.
They may not know it, they may not like it, but they are a part of me and I carry them with me as completely and naturally as I carry my own heart.
And after graduation, I will carry them still.
We all carry our children. They are there in our minds and our guts, our hopes and our fears. We carry them through sickness, disappointments, and breakups. When they don’t make the team, when their friends move away, we feel the loss and we share in the sadness. We carry them through health, accomplishments, and satisfaction. When their team wins, when they made the cut, we feel the elation and we share in the thrill. And through all the ups and downs, we carry them…with love and prayer and wringing hands and gleeful hugs.
We teach them to stand and to walk and to be independent; raising self-sufficient adults is, after all, our ultimate goal. (And yes, you can throw-in “happy,” “well-adjusted,” “contributing member of society,” and any number of enriching adjectives, but you get my point). Yet our children are irrevocably connected to us through the bonds of parenthood, and it is within those parental bonds that we carry them.
We carry them with joy and pride and utter astonishment that these beings grew up before our very eyes and developed into a strong and capable adults.
We will carry them still, through dorm move-in day and college football games, through interviews and job searches, through engagements and weddings and births, through new lives and new dreams and new families emerging.
It is the way of the world. Once we carry our tiny miracles as helpless infants, they become ours, and we carry them with us, forever.