Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Girls

After having five children, my parents divorced in 1984. Thankfully, they were able to find replacement marriage partners within the next couple of years. My mom met her husband-to-be while working at the switchboard for a company called Fiberite; he was employed as a salesman there.

At first, I didn't like the idea of having a stepdad, but there were a number of perks. He made plenty of money, so took my mom and me to Disneyland in 1986. They convinced me to get in line with them for Space Mountain. I was coaster-phobic at that time, but they made it sound like it wouldn't be that bad. I kept inquiring about all the warnings that had been posted in the queue. They reassured me that things would be fine. I wasn't convinced, so turned around and told them I'd meet them on the other side.

The highlight for me was seeing Michael Jackson's 3-D movie, "Captain Eo".

He hadn't released an album since '82's "Thriller", so being able to hear new music from him was extremely welcome.

It was during this California vacation that I first got the inkling that my mother was up for having another child. Her last had been born in 1978. In '86, she was 36 years old. It should be noted that I was the only sibling living with my mom. One afternoon, during that trip, while I sat in the backseat, my stepdad touched my mom's belly and made some kind of comment insinuating that he sought to create a baby with her. My mom shushed him a bit, but I'd heard. I should also mention that he was 19 years older than my mom. My dad wound up marrying a woman who was more than 20 years older than him.

I didn't hear any more baby talk for a number of months and gradually forgot about it. In the late summer of '87, however, they announced that she was with child. I wasn't sure how to feel. At the age of 16, I was soon to have a half-sibling, one I would be living with until I graduated high school. My younger siblings were excited and seemed to prefer a girl as my mom already had had four boys and just one girl.

One afternoon, Mom and my stepfather came back from her clinic appointment with an additional announcement. My siblings were present for this as well. They said they were having twins. Twin girls! My eyes widened. Twins ran in the family as one of my mom's sisters had had twin boys in the early 80's.

Now, there was no way that Fiberite's top company salesman was gonna raise twin girls in the apartment we were living at, so plans were made for a house to be built in a new subdivision on the edge of town. It was the biggest house I'd ever live in. It had seven bedrooms and three bathrooms. The extra bedrooms were for when my younger siblings stayed at the house. The hope was that one day one or more of them might choose to live there. We were asked what color we'd like our walls to be (I chose sky blue) as well as if we wanted a conventional bed or a waterbed (all three of my brothers chose waterbeds).

I didn't show much interest in wanting to check the house out until it was built, kinda like the groom shouldn't see the bride before the wedding. One great aspect of having such a big house is that the girls' bedroom would be on the second floor while mine would be in the basement (two floors down). That would be a good sound cushion, I thought.

The girls' due date was awfully close to February 29, 1988 (Leap Day). What a thing it would be if they were born on the 29th, only truly being able to celebrate their birthday every four years. We moved into the new house just a few days before the girls were born. They wound up coming to be on March 1st.

I saw them for the first time a couple days later. I asked my stepdad, "Is it OK to call them the Minnesota Twins?" (a nod to the Minnesota Twins winning the World Series five months prior).

I enjoyed having them around. It was nice to have younguns to coddle and laugh with. It was certainly a blessing that they had been born twins as only children can miss out on a lot. One day, I looked down at one of the girls and saw her laughing at something that appeared to be behind me. Most would say that she was laughing at nothing, but I believe babies can sometimes see things we can't. Things that they forget about by the time they're four or five. Perhaps if we could remember those things we saw as an infant, we'd be more assured that there is more out there than what is typically discerned.

When they were about two years old, I took the girls downstairs with the candy they'd collected for Halloween two days prior. They sat on the floor with their plastic jack-o-lanterns and began to chow down on the fun size chocolates and Smarties. I probably should've stopped them at some point, but didn't think to do so. My mom came down a few minutes later and said, "What are you girls doing?" and took the candy away. About ten minutes later, now upstairs, one of them said, "Mommy. My tummy hurts." My mom responded, "Well, I wonder why..."


ExtraO said...

I think babies can see things too... the worlds overlap.
What do you think would be different about you had your parents never divorced?

Thomas said...

That is a heck of a question, Extra. If my parents had been able to work it out, I assume that I would've continued to have been a Jehovah's Witness for a number of years, perhaps even dating some of those in our congregation.

There would be some downsides to this, however; All dates need to be chaperoned plus there would have been like, five girls total, to choose from.

My brothers got around this a bit by dating girls from other congregations.

Assuming I married a Witness, I wonder, at what point, if any, that I would've questioned the faith.

A number of my contemporaries who stayed in it well into their 20's wound up leaving for various reasons. I assume that a free-thinker like me would've been one of them.

Of course, I probably wouldn't have been as depressed in my teens had the marriage worked out. It's very interesting thinking about the what-ifs.

Perhaps in a parallel universe, I'm a happy Jehovah's Witness. If so, here's to you, Brother Dixon. I'll be praying for you.

Narkissos said...

wonderful post as always tom.....:)
i believe babies are angels....they see beautiful things we can't cuz our souls get corrupted as we age....