Dear Ashlyn and Brooklyn,
I know you’ll never remember taking this picture, but I will. You see, it was five years ago today that you came home from the hospital after spending the first 44 days of your lives in the NICU. I thought about writing you this letter on your 5th birthday, but with all of the hoopla that surrounded that, I thought I’d wait until now, because to me, this day is nearly as special. This day was the day that real life began.
Those 44 days were some of the hardest days of my life, and trust me when I tell you that I’ve had some others that I’ll tell you about when you get older. The hardest part every single one of those days was leaving you. I’d wake up every single morning just wishing you were in this house and wishing that that day was the day you were coming home, and although I may not have let your mom or anybody else see it, I would cry every day that you weren’t here. But then we got the good news that you were coming home and were coming home together. It’s actually quite rare that twins get to leave the hospital on the same day. But you two were bound and determined not to pass your tests until the other one could as well, and you both decided that November 20, 2010 was the day. That picture you see above was taken right before we left, and that day was so unbelievably special.
The problem I’m running into now is that I have to relive those days on a constant basis. Listen, I know you don’t understand what happened between me and Mommy. Don’t worry. A lot of people don’t. What I can tell you is that it had absolutely nothing to do with the two of you, not in the slightest. Choices were made that changed all of our lives forever, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that now. All we can do is move forward each and every day, and I am so proud of you for handling everything the way you have. I also want you to know that it’s okay to be sad sometimes. You’re starting to ask more questions these days, and that’s okay too. You’ve been asking if Daddy gets sad when you’re at Mommy’s house, and truthfully (I always want to be honest with you) the answer is yes. I know we’re not supposed to use this word, but I hate when you’re not here. All it does is remind me of those 44 days and yes, I still cry a little bit each and every day I can’t see you, even if I still don’t let people see it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want you to have a good time when you’re with your mother. She’s a great mom, and no matter what happened, I will never say otherwise, but it’s just really hard for me. Sure, I’ve got plenty of things to keep me busy when you’re over there, but this house is more complete when you two are here. Even when I’m working and you’re in your room playing, I just love knowing that you’re only a few feet away from me and I can just get up and hug and kiss you whenever I feel like it.
Thanks for calling me last night before bedtime. I love knowing that you’re thinking about me when you’re not here, and even those two minutes can brighten up my day more than maybe you’ll ever realize. You’ve given purpose to my life that I never thought was possible and driven me to do things that I never thought I was capable of. You’re growing into such wonderful young ladies that it makes my head spin sometimes on how fast it’s going. Just look at how much you’ve grown.
I know I’m rambling a little bit here, but Daddy tends to do that on occasion, especially when it comes to the two of you. The point I guess I’m trying to make is that you are the best thing to ever happen to me. I know things didn’t go as planned, which is okay. Believe me, you’ll have a lot of times in your life where that’s the case, but if handled correctly, you’ll come out even stronger because of it. It took Daddy a little while to figure that out, but I hope you know that I’m doing the best that I can when it comes to you. Sometimes, it may seem that I’m a little strict or a little overprotective, but there’s a reason for the things that I do. I know I’ll have to loosen the reigns at some point, but let’s not jump too far ahead, and if you could both just stop growing up so quickly, that would be great.
Girls, I love you. Whether you’re snuggled up next to me or miles away from me, I love you each and every second of each and every day, and that’s one thing that will never change. I suppose I should wrap this up though. You see, I woke up today with that special feeling that I get constantly, much like that feeling I got for the first time five years ago. Today’s a day that I get to pick you up and bring you home. I’ll see you soon.