Today was (finally) the first day back at school (hooray!) for the 4 year olds (yippee!).
And I didn’t sleep a wink last night.
All summer long, as we trudged through gymnastics classes, swimming lessons, and day after long day here at home, I’ve said that I absolutely cannot wait until these two are separated in school for a few hours a day. Spending every waking moment together is taxing on them, and spending every waking moment with them has had me locking myself in a closet to escape the unholy dramaz.
Last year when our preschool director asked if I would be interested in separating them because they were such a distraction to each other, I tucked her concerns safely in my pocket, but the answer was “Not yet.” I just wasn’t ready. Even as the school year ended and I knew I would have to make a decision for the next year, I still fidgeted when I thought about it.
But this summer made it clear that times were a changing. The girls need some quality time apart so that the time they spend together will hold even more quality and less beating each other over the head with My Little Ponies.
Still, I tossed and turned in the nights preceding our first day.
Despite having talked about it, there was some apprehension on Claire’s part during orientation when we split them up to meet their teachers. This girl, who is so brazen and even bossy at home, she’s the one who thrives on the twinship more. She gets more upset when they fight. She seems to need it all more. And as their mother and the one who is mostly responsible for making sure they grow up to be sound, confident individuals, it’s both heartwarming and terrifying at the same time. I couldn’t help but lay in bed at night and imagine her sitting in her classroom, playing apathetically, and missing her sister.
I know I made the right decision, but my apprehension and worry surprise me.
When my girls were born 9 weeks early and thrived in separate isolettes in the NICU for five weeks, I worried the silly worries that they wouldn’t bond like twins that were together from day one. Even twin moms get caught up in the fantasy of having children with such a closeness that nothing can shake it. Do they miss each other? Do they even remember the constant presence of another being right next to them since conception? Does it even matter?
But then there was today. The first day. And things seem to have fallen into place perfectly. Both girls have familiar aspects in their class that will give them a dose of comfort. Rachel knows and loves her teacher, who we started with last year before moving to a new class. She gave her sister a big hug and kiss, and wished her a good day. She missed me some towards the end of the day, and nearly knocked me over when she saw me.
Claire’s class boasts the name of her very favorite animal — the Frogs, and upon quietly entering and finding her name on the wall, requested to play with some. Her teacher pulled out a whole bin of green frogs of all shapes and sizes, and she was in heaven. She got to see her sister at recess, lunch and music class. The teachers told me that they reunited like they’d been apart for days. But they did well.
I know my worries aren’t silly, but they’re lessening. These girls have a bond that I will never understand, but I must respect. Still, they need to be separated from the unit that often makes twins inseparable in other people’s minds. They each need the opportunity to express themselves apart from their sister and show what they can do. These days with less distractions will allow them to shine as Claire and as Rachel, not ClaireandRachel.
And these girls? They have a lot of shining to do.
I think they’re going to be okay.