Monday, April 03, 2006

The Story Behind The Photo

A few weeks ago, during one of the few sunny weekends we had in the Bay Area this March (it rained something like 23 of the 31 days!), Terri and I took Caroline and Katherine out for a day of shopping and strolling at the Stanford Shopping Center.

While at the Mall, we stopped to eat at California Pizza Kitchen. During lunch, Terri snapped this photo of me and Caroline:

Daddy is the one hamming it up, Caroline is the one looking embarrassed on my behalf.
(click on photo for larger view)


If you look over my right shoulder, you'll see a couple at the table behind me seemingly minding their own business.

In fact, they did not mind their own business.

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If you are the parents of multiples, you quickly get used to the fact that numerous times during the most routine outings, you will be stopped while eating/shopping/reading a magazine by someone who will ask you, "Twins?" followed almost certainly by the next question, "Identical or fraternal?"

The first couple hundred times you get asked the question, it is endearing. But after the next hundred times, it's becomes a perplexing question. "If not twins," you think, "how else did we get two babies exactly the same age at the same time?!?"

It's hard sometimes to answer that same question over and over and over again politely. But we always try. And sometimes, with good reason.

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As you have already anticipated the man over my right shoulder caught me and Caroline up at the soda fountain, and asked us, "Twins?"

"Yes," I replied, "Fraternal." (Thus, intercepting the second question, giving me more time to suck down some Pepsi before Caroline could grab the cup away from my mouth.)

His response was one of pure joy.

"So are we!" said the man. "We're expecting fraternal twins in June."

The excitement in his voice was subtle, but as a first-time Dad myself, I could hear it in his voice.

He was excited at what lay ahead of him.

He was also nervous of the unknown that lay ahead.

And here we were, parents of twins in front of him, eating out!

"Congratulations!" I said to him, and I didn't have to fake any enthusiasm on my part.

"What's it like?" he asked.

I thought about my response for a fraction of a second.

What should I tell him about? The late night feedings? The constant crying? Worrying so much all night that you sneak into you babies' room to check that they're okay?

I decided in the end, to tell him what I've found to be a general truth.

"It's great," I said. "It's not easy, but it's not as hard as people say it is. It's the best thing you'll ever do."

"Thanks," he said. "That's good to know."

He went back to his meal, I went back to mine, and we didn't speak again, except to smile at each other as we left the restaurant.

But when I look at look at the picture now, I always notice him in the background.

Good luck, guys!


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More photos from our shopping outing:

Mommy & Katherine at CPK
(click on photo for larger view)


Mommy & The Girls Enjoying the Spring Flowers
(click on photo for larger view)

7 comments:

Amy said...

That was the perfect response.

Gene said...

It's amazing how you can bond with total strangers when you have twins in common. I feel your enthusiasm, man. Here you are trying to politely get through the conversation as quickly as possible, so you can get back to what you were doing. Then you find out he'll be a twin dad, too and it's like, BAM!- do you have some time? Let me tell you all about it!

By the way, the weather in sunny California has been lousy. We flew into San Jose for a week long visit with my sister-in-law in Fresno. It rained all but one day! Come on Spring!

avec amy said...

Please tell me you ate the spinach dip . . . Oh, sorry, what a touching story. Seriously, very cute though. I think it's sweet that he seemed excited and nervous, and that he had a point to asking you "twins?". Plus, I'm learning. Fred and I were eating lunch the other day and there were twin babies next to us. If I spoke French, I would have said "jumeaux?"

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I will talk to anyone anywhere just becuase they have twins. It is a strange sort of "club" or "cult" or something.

I ran into a man in the grocery store pushing his young twins around. I didn't even have my kids with me and I started talking to him. His first question was "Does it get easier?".

Yes. It still isn't easy, but it is so much easier than it was the first year.

And your answer is 100% right. It is hard, but who else gets to see their teeny tiny little babies trying to hold hands with each other? And what is better than that?

Odd Mix said...

Great answer.

We are often posed the "Twins?" question. The irony of that is our girls are Irish twins - they are 90 minutes short of one year apart. For an hour and a half on May second, they will both be six.

Lucky Lum said...

Can I just say that you have the cutest little family!
I'm sure it must get tiring answering the twin question so many times... it must be nice to hear someone asking for their genuine interest rather than just polite inquiry.

Now please tell us what you ordered at CPK!

David said...

We had the Chinese Chicken Salad and the Peking Duck Pizza.