The More They Change, The More it Stays the Same

Momservation: If you’re waiting around for parenting to get easier, you’re going to be waiting a long time.

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Passing through the Salt Lake City airport on our way back home from our Montana Thanksgiving vacation, Hubby and I saw a flashback of ourselves a decade earlier.

It was a frazzled and weary looking couple trudging to their next gate, the man with a backpack on his back (no doubt filled with airplane distractions), a toddler in one arm and car seat in the other; the woman pushing a collapsible stroller with an infant in an infant carrier with all sorts of baby and toddler paraphernalia swinging from it.

As we passed them with sympathetic smiles Hubby asked, “How far apart are they?”

“Twenty months,” the man said sounding like 20 months ago he should have stayed on the couch watching SportsCenter instead.

It wasn't always smiles having kids 17 months apart

Hubby and I glanced at each other with a knowing smirk. We had them beat. We nearly always have them beat. Nodding with his head toward our 10 and just turned 12 year-olds walking up ahead carrying their own luggage he said with camaraderie to the couple, “Ours are 17 months apart.”

The man nodded his head in recognition of our mutual membership in the had-our-kids-ridiculously-close-together-club before looking at our loosely supervised kids with disbelief that one day that would ever be his experience.

“It gets easier,” Hubby assured him. But then to not paint an unrealistic picture and show the battle stripes earned he added, “But there was a lot of crying in the beginning.”

That was my cue. “Most of it was by me,” I said toward the woman who looked about to cry. Then I reassured her, “You’re in the hard part, but it goes by so quickly.”

While one couple was thinking too quickly, another was thinking not quick enough. 

The early days of my membership in the Had-Our-Kids-Ridiculously-Close-Together-Club

As we caught up to our kids who had stopped to wait for us at the gate without being told we wished the couple good luck and encouragement to hang in there. Giving them a glimpse of their future Hubby said, “They’re like twins by this age. They entertain and play with each other really well.”

Smiling at our son and daughter who were getting the cards out in anticipation of a family Rummy tournament as we waited for our flight I added, “They’re a lot of fun.”

Watching the couple struggle forward with hopeful smiles, I knew there was so much more I would’ve liked to tell them.

That it doesn’t necessarily get easier, just different. That each stage comes with its own set of challenges. That one day you’re worrying about ear infections and diaper rash and before you know it you’re worrying about first crushes and broken hearts. And that all too soon we’ll be staying up late hoping they get home safely, that they’ll find someone who will love them as much as we do, and that they’ll want us in their lives when they have lives of their own.

Dang it – see now I’m crying again over my kids! Some things never change.


  1. Shari says:

    Spoken like someone who doesn’t have twins “They entertain and play with each other really well…” I’ll let you know when that starts. At 8 it’s still competing and fighting with eachother. Not more difficult than 17 months apart, just different. 🙂

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Ha! Way to call me out Shari on not truly experiencing the reality of twins – you twin moms are in a league of your own, for which I give you all the respect in the world! And you’re right, it’s not all love and roses here all the time here either. But I think of it as more of a built-in playmate that they can interact with whether they’re playing or fighting.

      As far as your boys, I hope they come around sooner than two of my best friends in jr. high who were twins and fought like cats and dogs. Now that they’re 40 and live on separate coasts they like each other… 🙂

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