I like to be prepared. Actually, that’s the understatement of the century. I love to think ahead, create a plan, make a list, overthink possible outcomes, and walk into situations with all my ducks in a row. I even asked one of my nurses to give me a detailed play-by-play of a c-section so I knew exactly what would happen once they wheeled me into the operating room. I told her to spare nothing. She probably thought I was nuts.
Ryan is a planner in regards to travel and work-related tasks (well, I think the last part is true, he tells me a “bring your wife to work day” doesn’t exist). He’s my [free] personal travel agent; he books my flights, hotel accommodations, dining reservations, scopes out cool local joints, and even adds a few excursions to the itinerary. I just pack my bag (always a long process because I have to think and rethink what to pack, and my bag is always checked because I’m a chronic over-packer. Never have I ever just “carried on” in my life) and attempt to be ready in time to go to the airport. My travel agent even booked our entire honeymoon to Tahiti, including all of the inter-island flights. Not an easy feat, my friends. If I had to guess, Ryan would rank that as one of his top 5 lifetime accomplishments.
In all other aspects of life, he’s very much a “live in the moment, embrace the spontaneity” kinda guy. Opposites really do attract, folks. We like to say I keep him grounded and he pushes me out of my comfort zone. His favorite phrase is, “just trust me, Cass.” Pains me to say it, but most of the time he’s right.
You can imagine the level of trust I must have when he says he’s packing the diaper bag. Ever seen the meme on social media where letting your spouse do that is the adult version of a trust fall? 100% correct. Luckily, we’ve been together long enough that he knows what a “packed diaper bag” means to me.
Anyway, one Sunday we loaded the boys in the stroller to grab the late morning pick-me-up all parents live for: a caffeinated beverage. If we’re being honest, Ryan needed it more than I did…he thought he would be able to sleep for his night shift with the boys merely in the same vicinity of our bedroom. How cute.
Our favorite breakfast spot is just a few blocks away. Being the prepared mom I am, I brought a snack for each of the boys. That’s it. One snack. No water, no “dats” (a burp cloth that’s worth more than gold in our house), no hand wipes, no chairs, no bibs.
On a whim, because the weather was so nice, we decided to walk farther to a neighboring town. I very rarely have a devil-may-care attitude, so my natural reaction: PANIC. I mean, we were bare bones, people! We were basically roughing it with two toddlers and closing in quick on their lunch time. Ryan caught on that my mind was swirling after I asked probably 5 different versions of, “I didn’t bring [insert necessary item here], what should we do?” His response: “don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.”
Oh, and to top it off, the boys were still in their pjs. And also wearing–yep you guessed it–the coveted “Elba” rain boots, despite an absolute cloudless sky. Needless to say, my ducks (both literally and figuratively) were the farthest from a row. More like a zig-zag yelling, “beep!” and pointing at the dogs on the sidewalk.
But you know what? We did figure it out. We spent a spontaneous (did I just write that word to describe something I did? Whoa.) and fun afternoon in our little foursome bubble before Ryan went to work that night. We ordered lunch, found a nice spot in the grass to eat, and the boys LOVED every minute. They ate grilled cheese and looked for trains, drank chocolate milk, and we all survived the walk home without the “dats” (I did find a pack of hand wipes in the stroller, thank god).
Bottom line: Ryan was right.
The boys and Ryan have taught me to be more present, and I’m attempting to be more of a “go with the flow” kinda girl. Don’t get me wrong, I still thrive on schedules and routines, prefer to make a plan for the day, and feel much calmer when I know exactly what to expect in almost every situation.
I’m learning that life with twins requires a tremendous amount of flexibility. And patience. So much patience…that I don’t always have. So many days I have called my mom, and through tears demanded to know 1. what am I doing wrong–these kids are like caged animals! 2. why didn’t she tell me there would be days like this? and 3. what was her secret with me and my sister.
I can’t always count on things going according to my plan–getting out the door takes forever and a day with two spirited little people who have learned how to use the word “no,” naps run late (or not long enough), dinner gets pushed back or thrown on the floor (from the boys, not me), and baths can soak the entire floor (sometimes there’s even a naked baby who makes a break from the bathroom without a diaper).
Some things I can absolutely count on? Two lovable boys shouting, “Mom!” a million times throughout the day, four little dimples that appear every time an infectious smile spreads across their adorable faces, and two of the sweetest hugs you can ever imagine at bedtime…and toys EVERYWHERE. And, aside from millions of scattered toys, those are the very best things.
Most days, I still refuse to let myself “just wing it.” I don’t even consider that phrase in my normal vocabulary. That day though, I did. And it was fantastic. Maybe I should try it more often. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here…motherhood is a marathon not a sprint, my friends.