I have a secret love affair. It makes my heart race. My adrenaline pumps a little harder when I hear that certain music. I feel a rush when I know it’s getting to be that time.
This clandestine affair is with the Olympics. More specifically, the winter Olympics.
During my childhood, I enjoyed watching the Olympics as much as anyone. Figure skating was my favorite. I grew up idolizing the dazzling Rosalynn Sumners. I thought she was just gorgeous! Not to mention the exotic Katarina Witt. My mother cut my hair in the seventies to look like Dorthy Hamil. Was there a little girl who escaped that look back then?
However, my true passion for the games came the winter that B and A were born. In February of 2002, I had my first babies. A week after we brought them home from the hospital, the 2002 games in Salt Lake City began.
As most of you are aware, when you have a brand new baby at home, you are up at all hours day and night. It was during this time that we discovered that they also happen to rebroadcast the Olympics beginning at 11:30 pm until about 4:00 am. This was very convenient for someone awake with newborn twins.
That year, we watched every morsel of Olympic coverage. We were stuck indoors and at home with our new babies. So, we’d start watching the broadcast at 7:00 pm, but would miss some things due to feedings, changings, pacing back and forth. (Did I mention they were colicky? That is surely another post.) Not to worry! We’d watch it all again throughout the night. I felt like Apolo Anton Ono and Sarah Hughes became personal friends.
We watched the opening ceremony and saw the flag from 911 paraded in. And I cried when we watched the closing ceremonies. I felt like I was losing something. What were we to do now? What would keep us awake and alert enough to take care of these two babies all night long? When I say that I cried, I mean real tears. My husband consoled me. He said it wouldn’t matter. We’d find our way without the games. Of course, not having crazy hormones pumping through him and not breastfeeding two babies, he was much more rational about it all. Somehow, we did get through it and the twins started sleeping through the night a month or so later.
I remember thinking that the next time the Olympics would be on; my new babies would be four years old. I laughed thinking about how far away that seemed.
It arrived in a flash.
During the games of 2006, I thought-we can’t be here already. How had four years gone by so quickly? My new babies were little people. Preschoolers. And I had just found out 2 weeks before the games began that I was pregnant again.
Each time the winter Olympics end, I think about B and A and the age they will be at the next games. This year, I realized that they will be twelve. Gulp. That was my heart dropping into my stomach. Twelve. Can that be possible? Having watched their progress throughout the last 3 games, I know how fast those next four years are going to go. In the blink of an eye, they will be twelve. And so on and so on. Twelve is close to being gone. Out of the house. Off to college. It’s much closer to that step than to having them home with me.
So, the Olympics this year have reminded me that at eight I am almost at the half way mark. Half way through them living at home. Half way through my time to teach, to lead, to help grow these people. Again, I question whether or not I am doing well enough. Am I doing all that I can for them? We are often given these opportunities. These touchstones. Something will come along and remind us to check in. To see the progress, the growth. To evaluate how we are doing. For me, the winter Olympics have become one of those touchstones.
But first and foremost, they will always remind me of how it feels to be deliriously happy and content with your arms full of new babies. At home, tucked away from the cold and snow with those that you love. Becoming a family. And that feeling… is pure gold.