Twinlostmamas know what I'm talking about.
I know I'm not the only one.
The dreaded double stroller.
Even though I push one now, with my toddler and my baby in it, every time I see one, I stop for a second, just to see.
I try not to gawk. I try.
The other day, I saw this gorgeous bright red double stroller going down the sidewalk on our street. I thought to myself, "There goes twins." Then, immediately, "I hope they don't live on our street." Then, more rationally, "Just because it's a double stroller doesn't mean it's twins."
A few days later, same stroller, same lady, passed us in the park by our street.
I quickly glanced into the stroller as they went by and saw them.
Four bare baby feet sticking out. Clearly twins.
I kept walking, but my heart was breaking, and that anger was bubbling.
WHY? Why couldn't that have been US? Why did it have to go SO WRONG for US? Will the self pity party ever end?!
Today, same stroller, same lady, walked by a path near our yard. Her bright candy apple red stroller screaming, "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT US!"
My heart started racing, and I wanted to go inside immediately.
My single twin yelled, "HI!"
My heart was smashed into pieces.
"Hello!" the lady responded. "When they're older, we'll have to come over and play!"
No, you won't.
You won't, because you can't.
You won't, because I can't. I can't take it. I just can't take it.
You won't, because your pity for me will make me ill at ease.
You won't, because I can't have my daughter watch what should have been.
I can't have all that I wanted flaunted in front of my face.
You won't, because just seeing your candy apple red double stroller makes me want to vomit.
Tonight, the tears fall. Of course they fall for my boy. My first born, the twin I never got to raise.
But they also fall for the friendship that could have been mine, that should have been mine, had Elias lived. In an alternate world, my perfect gorgeous first born son came out kicking and screaming just three minutes before his sister. There was no Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep taking photos of precious moments I couldn't have possibly let soak in. Rather, swarms of visitors came with bouquets of pink and blue balloons, just the way I envisioned they would. In an alternate world, I got to experience raising twins, a dream of mine since childhood. In an alternate world, I am not a broken person. In that world, my heart isn't gaping, shattered, confounded, obliterated.
In that world, I jump from my chair when I see that candy apple red double stroller. I jump up to greet this woman and offer her help. "I know what you're going through!" I say, and we swap stories about sleepless nights, about having no time to cook or work out, about how misunderstood we are as twin mamas, about how we wish people could just treat our children as individuals and not sensationalize them due to the simple fact that they were born at the same time. We exchange numbers, and make plans, and my twins are thrilled that another set of twins lives so close by. They stare, unable to believe they themselves were ever so little, and offer to give the babies their bottles.
In that world.
The world where double strollers don't have the power to shatter my heart.
The world where double strollers are just double strollers.