I can spot them a mile away; twin strollers. This one was a tandem Babytrend Snap 'n' Go, blue, with two matching car seats, blue with green animals. I could tell from the door as I entered McDonald's. I stopped dead in my tracks, but my children bounced into the playroom hollering about food and playing first. I didn't have much of a choice except to follow them and prepare their meals. The kids scrambled to their seats and I plopped William into the highchair. I unwrapped burgers, squeezed out ketchup and opened containers of milk. I settled down to start spooning orange goop into William's open mouth when I realized I was staring right at the stroller and their mother. They were baby boys about 5 months hold. I couldn't see them very well except for the fuzzy light brown hair, chubby little legs, and the occasional arm swiping at their hanging toys.
I snuck glances at this mom, none of them smiling. I decided all sorts of reasons why she didn't deserve these twins. The first one was that she has a total of 5 boys. She probably had 3 boys and wanted just one more, a girl, and she ended up with the twins. Then her age, she was older than me, probably by 10 years, so I decided she must have used medical intervention for her twins and therefore didn't deserve them like I did.
The dialogue continued in my brain. I studied the other families as they talked to her about her babies, listening intently. I thought about all the steps required to bring 5 boys to McDonald's, all the car seats, taking the stroller out of the car and maneuvering that huge stroller with a tray of food for four. I could see each step of the process in my mind. Then I replayed the whole outing with me as the mom and Lainy Ann and Connor. Could I have done it?
The kids scarfed their food down and had one foot on the play equipment "We're done!", like it was a race to the finish. I used that opportunity to hop up and sit on the other side of the table, the twins were behind me now. I called my husband who was sympathetic as I explained the situation in hushed tones. He suggested we leave, but I couldn't, the kids were having a fabulous time and my friend was on her way.
My best friend arrived a few minutes later with her brood of 3. We are quite a sight when we are together - 2 moms and 6 kids, including 2 infants and 3 preschoolers. She did the same busyness that I did as she arrived; divying up chicken nuggets, coaxing kids to finish burgers, getting milk and water situated. She told me of the crisis of the day and when the kids were all on the play equipment and it was just us and the babies she stopped and said "Are you okay?" I thought about the choices I had for answering, 'what do you mean?' or even 'yes'. But she is my friend. She has been through it all with me. So I said, "no". I wanted to leap across the table wrap her in my arms and yell, "I love you." She knew. She knew without me saying anything. We spent the next few minutes spooning more orange goop saying terrible made-up things about the twin mom and her kids. None of it was true, it was all made-up, none of it was nice, but we laughed and I felt better.