One year ago today, I embarked on a journey that would change the lives of everyone I love. Many of those lives have since changed dramatically, and two of those lives hadn’t even started 365 days ago. At this time in August of 2017, I was somewhere in the air over Europe. I had flown from San Diego to Houston, and I was on my way from Houston into Munich. From there I was looking at a relatively short flight into Kyiv. This was actually happening.
27 hours of traveling alone gives you a lot of time to think and to evaluate things. I remember a lot of those emotions and thoughts, as I wrote many of them down. After all, I didn’t have a lot to do and I had quite a bit of time on my hands. I remember being excited. Our family was having twin boys. After years of pain and struggle, we were creating – in an unorthodox manner – siblings for our beautiful little girl, which was the biggest source of motivation for all that we went through to get our sons to the planet.
I was nervous. I had been to Kyiv before and knew that despite having traveled all over the globe, this was perhaps the most foreign place I had ever experienced. I had no idea what to expect. Would the birth go smoothly? Would everything be OK? How does one manage the birth of two children without the ability to read or communicate?
I was a bit harried. We had planned on me leaving ahead of my wife to get things settled with our living arrangements and to get the legal ball rolling with the US Embassy. The boys were coming early, even earlier than expected. I was on the plane 2 weeks before I thought I’d be leaving, which meant that I’d be missing my daughter’s first day of kindergarten.
That was part of the reason that, strangely, I was also filled with sadness. I had never been away from Téa for more than a few days, but I knew that this would take at least a few weeks. I wept like someone had died at least once on my flight over there.
No one had died, but the little family of 3 that I had come to love so much was no more the second I jumped into my Uber at my house to head to the San Diego airport. Yes, it was quite possible that we’d be even happier with a family of 5 instead of 3, but what we knew was what all of us loved. It was as hard to say goodbye to that as it was to my little girl.
I wrote down what I thought life would be like one year from that day while I was in the air. Today is that day. I just looked at it. My list could not have been more wrong. I thought that we would have the parenting of 3 kids, including twin boys, down to a science. We do not. We still in many ways make it up as we go along.
I thought the amazement of having these boys and how they got here would be somewhat worn off and that I’d just be focused on raising them. I was wrong. Even now, not a day goes by without me reflecting on the insanity that unfolded before, during and immediately after their birth.
I thought that having two young boys would make me feel young as well. That’s not completely accurate. Having twins my 40’s has made me feel young and old at the same time. That’s a bizarre dichotomy, but one that I’m strangely used to now.
I thought the “newness” of having babies would wear off by now. It has not. When they learn something new – this week it was how to wave at people – that thrill of newness washes over me. Wrong again.
Those are just a few examples of what turned out to be a list of things that proved that I had no idea what I was in for over these previous 365 days. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s interesting because it taught me that when you’re about to embark on a life-changing event or era, your life is probably going to change in ways you never foresaw.
What a year it’s been. Today, I think I’ll make another list of what my life will be like one year from now. Based on track record, I’ll expect that to be completely wrong as well.