I recently posted this photo of my twin children on my Facebook page with the caption “Where two oceans meet…” The double entendre was on purpose, albeit private since I only shared the fact that the location was Cape Point, South Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet – a turbulent mix of sea change and wind that nurtures one of the richest and most diverse floral kingdoms in the world. (United Nations Environment Program)
As I watch my children together against this backdrop, the second meaning hits me with a certain beauty and clarity.
How do I nurture the two vastly different oceans that are my children in a way that will allow them to thrive and flourish in their inseparable and sometimes turbulent emotional mix of differences and growth? How did Mother Nature do it in Cape Point?
As I reflect and take my cues from the natural environment around us, what I see is the ebb and flow of calm and storms, much like the children’s daily lives together. The strong winds that come can break each of my children where they cannot bend. On Cape Point where trees break from the wind only small shrubs grow, but those shrubs abound with nesting seabirds, small animals, and flowers that are hard as wood. Resilience blooms here.
Those same winds and storms carry foreign nutrients from far away that once calm, blanket the landscape with new and unexpected influences on the life that abounds there. Whether the impacts are negative or positive on the land, maelstroms don’t abide by what Cape inhabitants want or need. They either create rich and remarkable new species among those who adapt and embrace the new, or they can uncompromisingly destroy what tries to hide with futile resistance. Life always finds its own way.
The western seaboard of Cape Point is pummelled by Atlantic waves into jagged high cliffs that are hardened and worn and immovable. The eastern waves lap against a gentler bay that slope the yielding sandy beaches, although wayward and changing with each season. These two coasts are my children.
What Mother Nature is telling me is that life is not always safe and warm, that motherhood and nurturing for my children’s growth comes with uncontrollable forces that can either be seen as destructive or enriching. That while looking at this scene through either of these lenses and trying to focus on what will become of them is futile and indeterminate. I cannot see the future. I do not know how they will grow. All I know is that my love for each of them will always be as deep as their two oceans.
How do you approach raising two (or more!) different children?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Dee Harlow, a mother of twins currently living in Lesotho. You can also find her on her blog Wanderlustress.