Twins First Christmas
The ultra sound showed something Virginia never expected. “You have two little ones in there! It’s a little too soon to tell the sex,” Doctor Gilbert smiled broadly as he moved the scanner around on her tummy. The nurse was thrilled as she watched the screen, but, Virginia was terrified and burst into tears.
“Doctor G, I was upset about having to raise one child on my own. Now, I find out there will be two! How am I going to cope with that? I can’t do it, I just can’t,” she started sobbing and trying to talk at the same time. Her words came out in jerky little girl screeching. “Scott left me when I told him I was pregnant. I thought he would change his mind and help me make the marriage work. He said he never wanted kids! Now I have to tell him about twins. He is going to have a fit – said we couldn’t afford a baby. And he will refuse to help financially.”
“Now, Virginia, it won’t do you any good to stress out. Try to relax. Scott has no choice but to pay child support, the court will make sure of that.”
As soon as she got home, Virginia called her best friend Rose. They had been good friends since seventh grade. Virginia prepared a huge chef’s salad and grilled her “secret recipe” garlic bread while she waited for Rose, who arrived on time as always, with a bottle of their favorite wine. They sat on the terrace to eat. The cool breeze from the ocean along with the calls of seagulls was relaxing.
“Twins! Ginnie that is so exciting. Have you told Scott yet?” Rose bit into her garlic bread. “Mmmm! Good stuff! You have got to give me this recipe, Girl.”
“Well, if I did then you would not come over here to eat,” Virginia laughed. “No. You are the first to be told. Scott will not be happy about child support for twins, but, that is his problem. My problem is how am I going to raise two kids on my own? I know Mom will help out as she can.” Virginia picked up her glass of wine and stared out to the ocean, suddenly feeling helpless about being a mother. Rose was quiet also. Both women in deep thought.
After several minutes they both spoke at once. “You know, ..” “When are the …” then laughed. “We do this a lot! Space out, then speak at once. You go!” Rose said.
“Well, it has only been about six hours since I found out about twins and I am kind of getting used to it now, but, at the same time I am at a loss. I will have to buy so much stuff, two of every thing. Even with child support that is going to be expensive.”
“When are you due?” Rose poured more wine. Virginia held out her glass for a refill. “December 23. I was going to do Christmas dinner this year, but will have to beg out and let Mom do it. More than likely I will be in the hospital then. You and Glen will be here with us, right? She looked down and put her hand on her tummy. “Oh! The twins first Christmas! You bet we will be here.”
Rose clapped her hands. “You know what? Something has been tugging at my mind the last several minutes, now I know what it is. My cousin Cindy. Remember she had twins almost two years ago? She joined a group called SPOT!”
“SPOT?”, Virginia reached for more toast.
“Yes! Single parents of twins. She got all her baby furniture and a lot of stuff free because everyone in the group donates stuff when their twins outgrow things. And it’s a large group if I remember right, so there is always a lot of things in their storage. I will call her tomorrow and get the information for you. If you join then that will save a lot of money and time,” Rose was all excited about her idea and Virginia was very interested.
When Virginia joined the group of parents she was awestruck. It was a large group and very organized. Meetings were once a week. All officers were volunteers. Rules were simple and fair. Any parent could volunteer for offices and could hold that office for six months, or longer if no one else volunteered for the position. Membership fee was twenty dollars a month for storage and babysitting fees. Donations for coffee, punch and cookies were dropped into a large jar.
Ben, father of six-month old twin girls, introduced himself to Virginia at the first meeting she attended. He was the storage manager. “As soon as you find out what the twins are, let me know and I’ll get the things you will need,” Ben told her. Virginia was pleased to meet Ben. He made her feel very welcome and comfortable. He escorted her to a chair and asked if she wanted some fruit punch. He came back with two cups of punch and sat with her. “I’m the host tonight and will introduce you to everyone when I open the meeting,” he looked around the auditorium. “There are still a lot of members still to arrive, so we have time to get acquainted. I am the director of student services here at the college. The college has donated this older auditorium to community services when a new, larger one was built. So, we have Thursday evenings. We have a fund raiser twice a year and it helps tremendously to boost our funds, ” he hesitated. “Do you want more punch, Virginia?” She thanked him, but refused.
“Tell me about yourself, Virginia,” Ben listened as she spoke and he kindly empathized with her. “Do you think he will change his mind when the twins are born?”
“I very much doubt it, Scott. He is not the type to settle down. I thought he would, but I was wrong. He told me before we got married that he did not want kids. This pregnancy was an accident. He got the divorce and is now enjoying the single life. So, these little ones are all mine to have and to hold,” she patted her tummy. “And you know what?” Virginia smiled broadly and looked at Ben. He smiled back and for a moment, time seemed to stand still as he looked deeply into her eyes. “I just realized how much I look forward to having twins,” she said with wonder.
Ben seemed lost in a daze for a few seconds then checked his watch. “I am glad you are happy about it, Virginia. I want you to know there will be a lot of support here for you, this group will be with you every step of the way.” He stood up and patted her shoulder. Before he left Ben asked, “Can we get together after the meeting? There is a nice coffee shop just around the corner. I would like to talk with you again.” She accepted and looked forward to spending more time with him.
With candles on each table and dim lighting from Tiffany style shades above, the atmosphere was quiet and relaxing. Ben had guided Virginia to a secluded table in a corner where they could talk. He was in deep thought as he slowly stirred his coffee after adding cream. Virginia patiently waited in silence and sipped her ginger ale. She sensed what he wanted to talk about was difficult for him.
“You shared your personal story with me, Virginia, and I appreciate that you trusted me by being so open and honest. I have not been able to talk about my loss,” he looked into her eyes. “I don’t yet know why, but I feel the need to tell you about my wife. Something about you helps me to open up finally,” He kept stirring, then started twisting his napkin, thinking again. He dropped the napkin and reached across to hold her hand. “Virginia, it is not that you look like her, it seems deeper. It is like I know you have a good heart. I watched how you related to others at the meeting, the way you reach out, how you show compassion and kindness. You will be a wonderful mother.” Virginia smiled, but remained quiet. She did not want to interrupt his thoughts.
Ben let go her hand and picked up his coffee. “Sarah, my wife, was like that and it was magical – it opened me up to express and share my feelings. Without a word she encouraged me to talk, which was not always easy for me. That is what I see in you now. And, I feel a bit awkward here. We just met a few hours ago. I want to let you know I am
not flirting or, trying to be too familiar. I just feel comfortable with you and something inside me has changed since we met. Something is healing a part of me.”
Virginia got another tissue out and dabbed at her eyes. She felt a great tenderness for Ben. He looked over at her. “Is it okay if I continue?” She nodded with a sweet smile. She knew what was coming.
“Sarah died two weeks before the twins were due. She was in a horrible car accident,” Ben took a big swallow of coffee. “She wanted to go shopping for some outfits for the twins. There was a big sale on. I asked her to wait till I got home from work, but she wanted to get there early. Her mother was driving. When they entered an intersection a large truck ran a red light and hit the car on the passenger side. The car was pushed quite a ways then started flipping over. It turned over four times,” Ben was talking easier now. It was all coming out.
“Sarah’s mother was killed, her neck and spine were broken. Sarah was badly injured and stuck between the air bag and the smashed-in door. They had to use the ‘jaws of life’ to get her out. She was unconscious, but came to in ER. I was called and rushed over there. Both her legs were broken, her right shoulder was crushed and she had bad cuts on her face and head from the broken window,” Ben lowered his head to his hands and cried. Virginia was horrified, but still remained silent. She wanted to reach out and touch him, but knew he was with Sarah at that moment and did not pull him away from her. After a few minutes he reached for a fresh napkin, dried his eyes and blew his nose.
“I picked up Sarah’s hand and held it in both of mine, telling her how much I loved her. She opened her eyes and I could see the pain in them. Then, the most amazing miracle I saw. Her eyes cleared, she smiled at me and whispered, “You will be a loving father. Take them home, Ben.” Then she was gone. I stared at her for it seemed like forever and her face lit up with a golden glow then faded. I believe her soul left at that moment when the glow faded.”
Virginia sobbed once and covered her face with a tissue. When she looked back at Ben, he had changed a lot. The expression of pain was gone and a calm had come over him. He was in command of himself now. “One of the nurses said, “You will have to leave now, sir. The doctors are delivering the babies.””
He motioned to the waitress to bring another coffee and ginger ale. “I looked at the nurse, her eyes above the mask were sad. No! I said. Get me a gown, gloves and mask. My wife asked me to take the babies and I will! One of the doctors looked up at me then nodded to the nurse. An incision was made and the twins were delivered. When the cords were cut, that doctor handed the babies to me one at a time. The nurse helped me wrap them and we took them to another table where two other doctors examined them thoroughly as each twin wailed in anger. They were both in good condition.
The nurse guided me over to the nursery where I bathed my babies, diapered them, put gowns and caps on them and wrapped them tightly in fresh blankets. I sat down in a rocker, holding them both, and rocked them to sleep. I named them Elizabeth Sarah and Rebecca Marie. My wife’s name was Sarah Marie. They were very healthy
and I was allowed to take them home two days later. At the funerals I held the twins, who slept peacefully. Eventually our life calmed a little. The twins have been a heavenly joy for us and I cannot imagine life without them. We look forward to the first everything. Especially the twins first Christmas.”
Virginia had kept her hand over her mouth as she listened to Ben. He reached over, took her wrists and pulled her hands to his. He held them tightly and said, “Thank you. Thank you for listening and being with me through this. It is the first time I have been able to talk about it.”
After a few minutes and a lot of tears from both of them, Ben said, “I must invite you over for dinner very soon to meet the twins. Will you come? I will pick you up.”
Virginia fell in love with Ben’s twins and his mother, who was so much like her own mom. A week later Virginia invited them all over for dinner. Her mother had cooked a lovely meal. It was a perfect evening and they all got along very well. Beth and Becky were just learning to crawl and could sit up, but kept falling over. It was fun watching their antics.
At her six week check-up, Virginia found out her twins were girls. Ben had all the needed furniture delivered. Rose and Virginia were ecstatic and began decorating the nursery in shade of pink, pale green, and white.
Over the next few months Ben and Virginia’s families became very close. They decided to have Christmas dinner together at Virginia’s home. Her mother was living with her now. The two mothers cooked a fabulous dinner as Ben and Virginia played with Beth and Becky. Rose and Glen were fascinated with the babies and so happy to be at the twins first Christmas. Rose laughed and said, “Virginia, you are late! This is supposed to be your twins first Christmas also.” Virginia agreed and tried to get up, but felt a pain and leaned back again. Ben had noticed and sat down by her.
Ben had volunteered to be Virginia’s labor training partner and during the process they had fallen in love. After Christmas dinner, Ben gave Virginia a gift. She read the card first and started crying. He had written, “I think we can raise two sets of twins together. What do you think?” With tears streaming she nodded yes. She opened the little box and Ben put the engagement ring on her finger, just as Virginia went into labor and everyone panicked except Ben and Virginia.
Virginia’s twins, Meagan Virginia and Melanie Rose, were born Christmas Day evening. It was indeed all the twins first Christmas.
© 2017 Phyllis Doyle Burns
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