Have you ever had plans that you were unwilling to change? I am talking about the kind of plans that you believed so deeply in, that you just couldn’t see things going any other way. I have. On many occasions life happens and the idealistic plans that you made seem to dissipate. Sometimes reality is much better than you could have planned, and then there are times when real-life gets augmented to such a degree that your life becomes unrecognizable. This happened to me.
My parenting journey was completely planned. It was going to go super smoothly because I did my research. I knew what to expect. I was ready! Like many millennials, I waited until my thirties to have kids. I had a few rules for myself before I was going to become a mom. I had to finish college, be married, and establish a career. It took me 10 years to graduate from college. I went straight from high school to a major university in Alabama. My plans were on track. That is, until I went on vacation. I was visiting family in Colorado when I met Big Daddy. He was a carefree 25 year old who had graduated from college with a business degree. He spent his days playing golf at a course where he was a popular bartender. I was infatuated with him from the beginning. We spent a few awesome days together before I flew home. This was not part of my plan. At the time I was living with my high school sweetheart. We had a dog together. I thought I would marry him. But, after meeting Big Daddy, plans changed. I turned down a proposal for marriage from the high school sweetheart. I broke a boy’s heart as I packed my life up, and headed to Colorado a month later.
Moving across the country for a boy I had just met was bold and spontaneous. It was def a change in my plans. I was 21 and hopeful about my future. When I switched colleges, I lost almost 2 years worth of credit hours. This was a setback, but it didn’t deter me. I, eventually, changed my major to Sociology. I was going from a practical major that would get me a good job, to a major that would help me grow as a human. It turned out to be a great choice. Big Daddy and I had been dating for a year and a half before we moved in together. I had new goals. I just knew that he would ask me to marry him soon. I got a series of great jobs in the mortgage industry. I was a contract employee, so I had a different job all of the time. The years passed and the economy crashed. I continued to finish school, which was then starting to offer online courses. I worked hard, but the recession was making life impossible. Big Daddy never proposed. This put a big fat wrench in my plans. We stayed together, but marriage was off the table. I was devastated. My mental health started to suffer. I was drinking a lot. I was fighting with everyone around me. My life plans were falling apart. I was depressed and I was gaining a lot of weight. I had always been thin, so my ego was took a huge hit. I eventually graduated from college which meant I had accomplished at least one life goal. I was relieved. I was still working in mortgages. My stress levels were through the roof. I started to get stomach issues, which lead to a pretty gnarly surgery. The road to recovery was long. It took about two years to get healthy. I was unable to work during this time. My career goals were not on track. Things started going relatively well over the next couple of years. Big Daddy bought a home that was in foreclosure. We planned to fix it up. We were super broke, but life was looking up.
About a year after moving into the new house, we decided to have a baby. Things were on track again. I was happy. It was time to make new plans. I had to get my IUD removed in order to become pregnant. I made the appointment. Big Daddy went with me, to hold my hand. It was sweet. About 6 weeks later we were celebrating our anniversary at a casino in the mountains. It was exactly 11 years from the day we met. I won on an Alice in Wonderland slot machine, which made our stay and dinner free. It was my lucky day in more than one way. I got pregnant that night. My plans were going well.
Four weeks into my pregnancy I started getting really sick. The morning sickness led me to the emergency room where I received IV fluids due to dehydration. I had 4 more weeks until I had my first ultrasound. I was thrilled. I was making all kinds of plans. We were going to have a baby, and I was prepared. Big Daddy went with me to get the ultrasound. I did not know that the appointment was going to change my plans again. It was going well. The ultrasound was almost over. We had heard the baby’s heartbeat and everything. That is when the nurse discovered something. She looked at us and said “I know why you are so sick. You have two babies in there”. I was in shock! We were going to have two babies. I was not ready for that, and neither was Big Daddy. At 17 weeks we found out that both of our babies were boys. It was once again, time to make new plans.
I experienced a great pregnancy. Everything went smoothly. I had an emergency C-Section because the boys were breech. It was a perfect birth experience. The twins were born healthy. They had 20 fingers and 20 toes, as expected. No NICU visits. It was a blessing. We went home and life went well for awhile. The boys were difficult to handle. We were working really hard. After they were about a year and a half old, we started recognizing that one of the boys was withdrawn and extremely hard to soothe. When he would get upset he would jump and flap his hands. This was when we were told that he had developmental delays. I was worried. The word delay does not mean never, so I was sure he would catch up. His brother was difficult as well, but his delays were less obvious at first. It was 6 months later that we found out that we were dealing with one child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This was devastating news. A month later my other son was diagnosed with ASD as well. Every single plan I had at that point in my life, was destroyed. I did not know how to proceed.
My new life was being outlined for me. I had little control. The diagnoses of ASD changed every aspect of my world. It has been a good thing for our family. We were able to get the support that we needed. I learned that plans have to be flexible. I have had to give up my plans, in most cases. It wasn’t easy. I def had growing pains. I have had to learn to take care of my special needs children. This is my job, which means that I may never have a career in the traditional sense. Big Daddy and I have never gotten married, and probably won’t. It has been 16 years since I met him. Life looks very different from the original plan, but I have grown into a person that I am proud to be. I have learned that plans are meant to be laughed at, and redesigned. My goals were met in ways I would have never expected. I used to get disappointed when my plans changed, but I now know that going with the flow leads to a much happier journey. 3+3 is 6, but so is 2+4. Your destination can be reached regardless of what life throws you.
The Millennial Twin Mom