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Laura Rossi Totten

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Why Parents Don't Need a Crystal Ball

Posted: 12/06/2012 5:45 pm

When I found out at 8 weeks I was having twins, I realized I would need all kinds of help -- an extra set of hands, borrowed gear and emotional support times two. I read parenting books, registered for two of all the "must-haves" and selected the pink and blue layette. But the best preparation I did was building a team of "mom mentors" as soon as I left the doctor's office that included my own incredible mother, other mothers-of-twins (MOT), authors, bloggers, moms with children of varying ages (from pre-K through college) and eventually, special needs moms.

Over the years, my personal army of moms has provided everything from emergency clothing changes to hours-long phone therapy sessions. Most miraculously, each mom in my circle has bestowed the gift of hope or inspiration in her own way.

This week, in what has to be a pre-holiday Dickensonian twist, a mother I don't know gave me a very rare gift: a glimpse into the future. (To add context: my running and not-always-funny joke is that I want Santa to bring me a crystal ball so that I can look into my twins' future to make sure everything turns out "OK" for both my typical daughter and my special needs son.)

Author Susan Engel's searing and deeply honest piece "When They're Grown, the Real Pain Begins" in The New York Times (Booming, November 28) took my breath away and has created a stir online. When I accidentally happened to see her on the "Today Show"this week, I reread her poignant piece and now I can't stop thinking about it, though I think my take-away is unique and very personal.

Susan captures the essence of motherhood beautifully and her intimate portrait of her own family is brave. But it is what Susan didn't write that touches me the most. It's the feeling and heart behind her piece that makes me pause -- motherhood is unpredictable and we can't know what lies ahead, and that is OK.

Just as her old family friend Cora did, Susan grabbed me, got in my face, and speaking loudly told me more about the journey of motherhood in her piece than anything I've ever read. In just 10 short years, my own very full parenting plate has included surgeries, diagnosis, crisis big and small, very high highs and unimaginable lows, uncertainty, beauty, transformation, the expected and the unexpected and a huge learning curve.

Selfishly, I imagine Susan wrote her piece to tell me that I don't need that crystal ball after all just faith and the wisdom of other moms.

Thank you, Susan -- I'm glad you are in my circle of moms.

 

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