Monday, March 15, 2021

The Moment Between "Before" and "After"

Today is my daughters' birthday. Usually I make a joke about the Ides of March and post a cute photo of them as babies cuddling with each other or asleep on my chest. Thought I'd go in a different direction this time.

This is the very first photo I ever took of both of them together, moments after their births. There would follow hundreds of other photos of them together, but this was the first. You can see their little bald heads; they eventually grew hair. They were a few weeks premature and weighed about 5 pounds. As I recall, each had her own dedicated nurse. They were basically healthy but spent a couple of days in neonatal incubators. Karen needed more recovery time than they did. A few decades earlier, probably none of them would have survived the pregnancy.

There are very few moments that abruptly cleave a lifetime into "before" and "after." This is my happiest one. Happy Birthday, Chiquitas!


HERE'S a story: we took the girls out to a nice restaurant for their birthday tonight, our county having recently opened to very limited indoor dining. Karen looks across the room at one of the four other parties in the place. "Do we know her?" I take a peek. "She looks familiar." A few minutes later she hails us, and we compare notes. Turns out she was our Lamaze coach before the girls were born, and her birthday is the same as theirs.

"I remember that you had twins!" she said.

"Well, here they are!" I said.

"Small world" doesn't begin to cover the incredible chain of circumstances that brought a woman who helped prepare us to bring our daughters into the world to that place at that time on this night. She seemed delighted to see how her work turned out. If I could've given her a long hug I would have.