There are two things in life in which we are never prepared: twins! ~Josh Billings

Don’t panic or get too excited! As of yesterday, the ultrasound is four years old. If you look closely, Javi is on top with his back turned; Joaquín is looking up at his brother. Miguel and I had known for a couple weeks that I was expecting twins, but we’d kept their arrival secret from most people. I guess we were still experiencing the “seeing is believing” part of pregnancy that has only recently became a possibility with ultrasounds.

We sat in a darkened room waiting to view the two little amniotic sacs that contained what resemble a shrimp or a peanut more than a person. When they appeared on the screen—like little blobs in a Roschach inkblot test—we couldn’t stop smiling. We giggled throughout the entire appointment.

Mayans believed twins were a blessing and that one soul had fragmented. I like this idea—that one soul would be too immense, too luminous to remain in just one body, so it needed another person to contain it. In some Native American stories, twins accompany each other on various quests. The boys definetlty relate to this idea and have started to call each other their best friend. It’s nice to know that in one pregnancy, I created the classic American duo.

Some cultures see twins as evil curses or an ominous presence. Maybe it’s just the workload—the doubling of diapers, breastfeeding, teething—that caused this initial reaction to twins. How did people manage twins before all the new-fangled equipment of double strollers, car seats that click in-and-out (once people had to have them), and twin nursing pillows? I guess, like anything else, people make do.

In Nebraska a couple summers ago, I took the boys to the grocery store in their double stroller that had click in-and-out car seats. An old farmer came up to me to check out the contraption. He told me he had twins that were now in their 50’s. He said he sautered together two different strollers to make things easier for his wife.

Before I had the twins, I asked my friend Claudia, who has four kids, “What do I do about________?” Drop all kinds of questions into the blank from pregnancy issues, to nursing, to getting around in the grocery store with a double stroller and a cart. She always answered, “Don’t worry. You’ll figure it out.” So far, we have.

What surprise have you ever received that overwhelmed you but made you smile, too?

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