So here we are. Parents in the most unexpected way.
Round 1: A child with a rare genetic disorder.
Round 2: Twins.
And as the quote in my boys’ bedroom reads: “Let the wild rumpus begin!”
And many ask. How do you manage? I can’t imagine what your house must be like.
So, I share with you a metaphor. As any good English teacher knows, sometimes a good random comparison is all you need.
Parenting is like a ride on the cheese bus.
My daughter acquired this phrase, “The Cheese Bus” from one of her beloved speech therapists, and the term just stuck. I have learned with all of my children, that discussions of the cheese bus are far superior to actually stepping through the doors. In fact, it became one of her greatest fears. It took us about seven months to get her prepared for her maiden voyage to return home from school on – The Cheese Bus.
After two years of being driven to her early intervention programs, it was time to try the bus. Just one way. Enter screaming child: Age 4. Vocabulary has begun to grow, at least enough to tell us the dire fear she is feeling. I devised a brilliant plan. Let the teacher do the hard part – they can put her on the bus and I will be the hero that waits for her to come home. (Two points for Mommy)
It only took three adults, but I got the call – she is on the bus. They only had to pry themselves from her grasp for 15 minutes. Fantastic. I will be ready at 3:00.
2:55pm: I was like a teenager waiting for a giant party. I moved the pack and play full of sleeping one month olds in front of the window, straightened up the homemade sign, repositioned the store bought cupcakes and clutched the paper with her arrival information.
3:10 pm: It must just be a few minutes late. Our house doesn’t have a clear number anyway.
3:30pm: “I’m sorry, we have no information about that bus or its arrival at this time.”
3:40pm: It would be better if I was outside. No one will notice my mismatched shoes, oversized sweatpants, and unidentifiable smell. Oh crap, the babies.
3:45pm: I am now dripping with every type of bodily fluid imaginable, one baby is in the carrier while the other is propped on top. I am standing in the middle of the road, waving down every car. Maybe the bus broke down and a stranger took her.
3:47pm: A friend arrives to meet the babies for the first time. I throw her a kid. Third phone call. “I’m sorry ma’m”. We have no information at this time.” I am now a woman straight out of central casting for: disheveled, panic stricken, lunatic.
3:50pm: I see a bus. I run down the street. It’s more like a bungling fall, still clutching a now crying baby. “Excuuuuse me. Do you have a curly haired girl on that bus!?!”
3:55pm: The bus u-turns towards my driveway. A sea of pink pops off. “Hi Momma. Cheese Bus.I hungry.” And she toddles gleefully into the house.
Riding on the cheese bus. Check.
She never knew it was a scary experience for Mommy. She never knew my imagination ran away, anticipating the worst for a child that doesn’t have the language to get herself home. She never knew how helpless I felt or how crazed I became. She didn’t need to know. She just needed me to turn on the music for the dance party and hand her the celebratory cupcake.
And that is what it feels like to be a mother. A special needs mother. A twin mother. Every parent in general – frightened, exhausted, lost and waiting – but accepting the unexpected ride and busting out into a dance party when there is cause to celebrate.