i want them to be mine

The two girls I carry below my heart. The three boys who run circles around me all day long.

I want them to be mine. 

I refer to them as such, of course. My twins. My sons. Our children.

But oh, the flimsy power of possessive pronouns. They have never been mine to keep.

I did not create them. I cannot control them. I will not save them.

What humbling, frustrating, and defining truths.

They have been given to me to guide, to tend, to shepherd and care and companion. But they came from God and they will someday return to God.

They are not mine. 

Most of the time I do not remember this. It is up to us, their parents, to feed, shelter, comfort, teach, correct, and love them. They were born from our hopes; they share our home; they rely on our care. They are ours, right?

Except their life and breath are only in God’s hands. The rest is blessed detail.

So how do you hold loosely and lightly the most precious gift you’ve been given?

You cannot. It is part of the paradox of parenting. The power and the powerlessness. 

But oh, when the veil gets ripped back and you realize that you could lose exactly what you most want to keep, you cannot help but try to cling fast to any illusion of control you wish to be true.

This week we learned the babies have developed twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome: the scariest complication of sharing a placenta. The threat we feared most all along. The game-changer which now turns every twice-weekly ultrasound into a possible algebraic equation: today + 1 day = surgery. From which one or both babies might not survive.

I know that everything could turn out safe and swimmingly. I know there are plenty of twins who go on to safe deliveries and healthy childhoods after this syndrome and surgery. I also know there are parents whose worst fears come true.

I am stuck smack in the middle of all these possibilities that I cannot control.

The stories keep coming, whispering when I wake, circling through my head throughout the day. Only say the word and my daughter will be healed. Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. The Lord will guard your coming and going, now and forever. 

All of these words, like well-worn rosary beads or dog-eared Bible pages, reminding me what they have reminded centuries of Christians. That this life is not our own.

And that my children do not belong to me. They are held by stronger, safer, surer hands than I could ever hope to offer.

Helplessness is not the same as hopelessness. This is what I have to keep learning.

Yes, we are trapped in a situation not of our choosing, a rock-and-hard-place from which I wish I could run and never look back. But no, this is not the end.

And if the only One I truly belong to is God, too, then I must trust the same stronger, safer hands are holding me, too.

33 thoughts on “i want them to be mine

  1. I came to this same realization when pregnant with my daughter. In the midst of fear, test, appointments, and complications I had to come to terms that my children are not mine, but Gods’. She arrived healthy and sweet as can be. We gave her the middle name “Lael”– Hebrew for “Belonging to God”, which serves as a reminder and testimony of what a blessing and privilege it is to parent her.
    Praying for you and “your” girls.

  2. Oh Laura, you’ll have so many of my prayers. What a beautiful tribute this is to your fivesome. I’m sorry you’ve been tasked with this immense cross, and I hope we can be of some relief by praying alongside you as your walk this path.

  3. Oh Laura. I am praying for you every night. For you, your girls, your whole family. Know you are not walking this walk alone. Sending my love

  4. love you dear friend. praying God holds you extra tightly as you try and sleep, so you can feel the warmth of His embrace, and the miracles inside feel the beauty of the woman God chose to carry them.

  5. Helplessness is not the same as hopelessness.
    Prayers from here too. Thanks for writing so beautifully amongst the uncertainty.

  6. Oh Laura. The haunting beauty of your words. You write so wonderfully, I can nearly feel your anguish as if it were my own.

    I will be praying for you and those sweet girls. I have been, but I will continue. How far along are you?

  7. Oh, Laura. How much I just want to hug you!! You know I am always saying that my children aren’t mine, but the Lord’s…but I sure wonder if when push came to shove I could live that fully.

    “Helplessness is not the same as hopelessness. This is what I have to keep learning.” Beautiful. Some days I do better with this than others. And how often I have prayed that pleading prayer of Martha…if you were here you could have healed them! If I had more faith. If …

    Know that you are all in my prayers.

  8. Dear Laura, I am praying so hard for you and your girls. I want to share a blog post that meant a lot to me when I was pregnant and scared for my twins. Hilary’s situation is different than yours and different than mine, but her words were an inexpressible comfort to me, and I pray they will be to you as well. You are a long way out on the water, away from the supposed safety of the boat, and Jesus is there with you.

  9. Oh my. You’ve written a wonderful reflection. “[T]his life is not our own.” So spot on.

    Perhaps the greatest discovery that we can come to in this life is the realization that either 1) Life has no meaning and is utterly useless, or; 2) That every day—moment, really—is a gift.

    I sincerely want to take this opportunity to thank you for this piece. You write well.

    Peace! – DDM

  10. I go by these words when I am in trouble: “Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow, the same loving God who takes care of you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Either God will shield you from the struggle or God will give you unfailing strength to bear it.” St. Francis de Sales.

  11. Our Catholic Moms Group is currently reading Everyday Sacrament. We can’t say enough good things about your book! We will add you and your sweet baby girls to our prayers! May God bless you and your family and thank you for inspiring us in all you do!

  12. Praying, praying, praying. I saw Bonnie’s post about the surgery on Facebook. Lifting you and the girls up in prayer. St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!!

  13. Laura, what wise words to rest on. I am sure this is a season where each day needs constant reminders of the truth, know I will be praying for truth and peace in the midst of unanswered questions. Thank you for sharing and writing.

  14. I went through this same terrifying TTTS with my twin girls, two years ago. Stay strong in your faith, sweet Mama. Our girls, Katie and Lauren, survived the laser ablation surgery used to treat TTTS and then suffered a few more complications after but were born tiny and healthy! Now they are 2 very loving and busy toddlers. Praying for you and your family!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *