Monday, August 19, 2013


The ultrasound technician said that most people are surprised when she tells them they're having twins. And, at the very least, she gets to tell them they're having twins.

I show up looking for them on the screen.

My mom is a twin. We have lots of sets in my extended family tree and I'm one of few siblings and cousins in my generation who has publicly stated that twins are too much. Don't get me wrong - being one looks awesome - but having one baby three years ago put me through the ringer and changed the whole fabric of my being. I'm too neurotic for the two-for-one special. And so I've always been wishing it on my brothers and cousins instead.

"Don't be so dramatic." Those were Matt's last words before I left for the appointment last month. He'd seen me scoping for twins early in our last pregnancy. He got embarrassed when I asked if one could be synchronized swimming behind the Jasper-fetus we could see on the monitor.

"I see two sacks. I see two beans. One is moving. Holy shit. Is the other one moving? Do they both have heartbeats? I'm having twins - am I having twins? Oh, this is happening. There are two! You see them, too, right?" Of course she sees them, you nerd. She's an ultrasound technician. If you can see them, she can see them.

And then I started heave-crying. Awkwardly. In front of the male intern who had (clearly) never met an external processor like me. I got sweaty and I kept covering my face and then looking back again. My hands were clammy and shaking. Then the tears turned to laughter...

because this is how it always starts.

Here's the thing: I have amazing plans for my life. It's a well known fact that oldest children and Type A women have awesome ideas and our anxious meddling and organization gets dreams done.  I do my best to sport a casually chaotic facade while frantically trying to control everything behind the magic curtain. It's exhausting and there are only a few rewards: de-cluttered junk drawers, an addiction to Candy Crush, and a toddler who cleans the sand off the slide at school. Oh. And general self-righteousness.

Women like me take risks, but they are very calculated, researched risks. God usually takes a look at my risks and laughs because they are not risks at all - they're just plain Living. And just when I think I have my ducks in a row behind the curtain, I wander into one of those you're-having-twins moments.

The bad news: I don't seem to get any less neurotic as time goes on. I've put up a good fight and been terrified and convinced myself I can't do it every time those frightened tears turn to laughter. Through every holy twist and turn, I'm still afraid of the ways I will unravel and fall apart, the people I'll fail and the grief of saying goodbye to my own plan (which - again - is always awesome).

The good news: I'm growing two people and that's pretty bad ass. I only know bad ass moms of multiples, so now I'm in good company. The babes are healthy. There are months to get used to this idea. I am fertile and grateful. I have a supportive husband and an amazing son. I have a job that will be hard to do with all this change, but they're willing to ebb and flow with my scrappy little family. We moved into a new house and have a bedroom for them. Our village will help.

And my self-righteous good news: Told ya so, Matt.

Like every holy twist and turn I've weathered so far, I'll again discover the beauty in real risk. I'll leave the desk behind the magic curtain un-manned more often and that will be a good thing. I will be revealed - more vulnerable and softened by the love growing in me and around me. Because every time God has thrown me up on the beach and pointed to Nineveh, it's been a really great great that I forget about my awesome idea that wasn't really that awesome after all.  So great that I realize I made up all that bad news.

And then there is only good in the twists and turns.
There is only laughter.

Baby Carlsons are due in early February!


Carl Robie said...

As the husband of a "Bad Ass," I can attest to the challenges and blessings you face Meta. Congratulations. What good fortune that God has elected to place those two with you in addition to little Jasper. Trudy and I can't wait to follow the delightful anthology of their lives with you and Matt. So happy for you.

Becca Groves said...

Oh this news just makes me so happy. And this writing is amazing. Your reaction to seeing the ultrasound. Hilarious. And your honesty and clarity in all that is happening is inspiring to me. I am so, so happy for you.

This is going to be fun.

Mary Hess said...

As the older sister of twins, and as an aunt to twins, I can testify both to the glorious joy and the difficult challenges of living with twins. God be with you in this journey!

A Work in Progress said...

Long time reader, admirer and sister in the ELCA-congrats and bravo for sharing your honest feelings about this life changing news. The sheer ridiculousness of what God thinks we can handle does move from laughter to tears and back around again. Blessings!

Nancy Holte said...

Love this! First off, congratulations! You will be a great mother of twins. I can tell this even though I don't know you because you are willing (though not necessarily willingly all the time) to let God be in control. O.K., secondly, "our anxious meddling and organization gets dreams done," FAVORITE LINE! It could describe me except for the first born part. Enjoy your adventure!

Jill said...

Meta, from one external processor to another, I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share your fears and hopes and vulnerabilities. I too have been "revealed" as a parent and it isn't always pretty, but it's pretty amazing to grow in such deep ways. I feel blessed to have you in my life as both my pastor and my friend. Congratulations to you, Matt, and Jasper. What an adventure!