Someone once said: When I was five years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.
If you’ve read my blog over the last year, you’ll know from my first entry that I was never getting married and I was never having children. The irony of asking MuMum to marry me within three months of meeting and then going on to have twins hasn’t been lost on either of us, our family, or our friends. But what put me in a place where I was certain, after such a short period of time, that I was the most certain if anything I’d ever been before?
I knew myself. MuMum also knew herself and so a great union was born.
I didn’t really know it at the time, but I’d reached a point (my mid-late late twenties by that time) where I’d felt, heard and borne witness to most of what I’d needed to, to make me self-assured and safe in my own skin without being arrogant. I hope.
When I was growing up, I was always a passenger through life and things happened to me rather than me driving the direction of where I wanted to go; in most cases, I just didn’t know where I wanted to go because I didn’t know that it was OK to want to go somewhere out of my own volition. Life for me was fairly scripted and predictable: school, try to be good at sport, school, try to be good at music, school, try to be good at something else but not quite… The it was GCSEs then A-levels then the predictable trajectory to university and greatness! Only it didn’t quite pan out like that. I walked through those steps mechanically without knowing who I was, unable to make the most of the experiences and opportunities that came my way. That was no-one’s fault; it was just the way it was.
By the time I met MuMum though, I’d finally arrived at the point when I realised that the key to happiness and stratospheric greatness didn’t lie in the things that I did or how much money I earnt but just in who I was. I came to realise that the people I valued the most were those who enjoyed me for who I was, not what I could do for them. The only person I had to impress was me.
And that’s what I want for my twinkles too. I want them to be comfortable in themselves that they will go on to achieve great things because of who they are, not what they are. Every night when we say good night to them, we tell them both: you are good, you are kind and you are beautiful. And I love you very, very much. I usually follow it up with and you can achieve anything you want to.
One of their (and our) favourite books it one called That’s not funny, Bunny! And it’s written by Bethany Rose Hines (I’m not on commission…). The basic premise is that Bunny spends his/her time trying to impress friends by dressing a certain way and behaving a certain way but it doesn’t work. Thankfully, despite saying at every opportunity THAT’S NOT FUNNY BUNNY! they finally tell Bunny that they love him/her just the way (s)he is. This for me is the absolute key to happiness; being yourself. Inevitably life will join you in circumstance with people who don’t like you for who you are but that’s OK too. But dealing with rejection and/or heart break is probably a blog or two in itself…
The twin thing could be an added complication to this, though. I feel quite strongly that if we can let them explore and be who they want to be and be comfortable in themselves in what they find, there shouldn’t be any inferiority or competition with who they end up becoming, compared to their twin. Their twin bond is so strong, especially at the moment (they often check that they’re eating or drinking the same amount as the other) but they’re undeniably different from the other, despite their identicalness; and I want them to be able to celebrate each other as they develop and grow as two individuals in the closest bond two people can arguably experience.
I want them to enjoy whatever they choose to do. I want them to be happy. I want them to surround themselves with good people who like and enjoy them for who they are, not what they are or what they do. And I want this all to happen without causing hurt or harm to any one else.
One day I’m sure they’re going to ask me what they should do or what they should be when they grow up. And I’m going to tell them: happy.