Thing of the Week: Magic

A year ago, today I was hyperventilating with my head between my legs after just seeing this image on a small screen that seemed all at once, giant. Massively huge. A black hole of doom with two swirling funnels.

...Scarier than finding out I was pregnant with one child, with Archer, was seeing that image on the screen. Because more than the two babies, it represented life in all it's unpredictable craziness. That after months, years of going back and forth between wanting a third child and thinking we were crazy to, we finally went for it. We were going to be a family of five.

I did a reading the other night of an essay that first appeared here. An essay I adapted for this book about a moment that changed me, or rather, moments... of beginnings and endings and if I could have written another piece to go along with it would have been this one. It would have been about the day I saw the two circles in the sonogram, like two eyes opening for the first time.

Blink, blink.

Wink, wink.

Think, think.

...It would have been about that day, March 9th, 2011 and how I realized that there's no such thing as a planned anything. As a planned pregnancy or a planned career or a planned life or a planned afternoon. Even when I try to plan... it rains. Or someone gets sick. Or there are two babies in my uterus instead of one.

That's the magic. We have no idea. Ever. We have no idea until the storm passes and we are on our backs in a field ten miles away from home.

Maybe I knew all along I would end up married with four children by the time I was thirty. Maybe I spent years trying to rebel against all of things I knew I wanted. It doesn't even matter. It doesn't matter what I wanted or what I thought I'd be or who I wished I was. Things happened and then more things happened and then more things happened after that. Things will happen and then more things will happen and then more things will happen after that.

And all of the things that aren't supposed to happen will because all the things that weren't supposed to happen did. Because that's how life moves forward. By dealing with the aftermath of the unplanned.

Surprise is where the magic lives, between the margins of to-do lists, the aftermath of the eviction notice, the tiny movements on the ultrasound machine.

Surprise! Your flight has been cancelled. Surprise! You can't live here anyone!

This time last year, with a shaky phone, I snapped a photo of the ultrasound that would double our brood and double our joy and our stress and change everything. I snapped a picture with my phone and emailed it to him. And waited on the curb outside the doctor's office for him to call me back.

Surprise! You're going to be a father. Again. And again.

And he cried and I cried and it was horrible and wonderful and planned and unplanned and right and wrong and left and right and yes and no.

In August, a month before the girls were born, I wrote this about my experience that afternoon:

And maybe it was just a coincidence, the girls that came to me in a flash with their different colored hair. Maybe it was a coincidence that Archer drew this the summer before I got pregnant with twins and that this happened at the same time a man with a real estate pamphlet for this house came knocking on our door. Maybe it was a coincidence that the "engagement" ring we picked out during our almost divorce was a pair of fraternal stones... Maybe all of this is just stuff that happens and when enough stuff happens, more stuff happens after that.
Or maybe, somewhere, deep within all of us, sits a pocket of magic. And once in a while, we are given the option to tap into it, to watch from the audience as the rabbit comes bounding out of the hat, free and fearless and full-speed ahead, surprising even the man with the wand.



Amber | 12:10 PM

beautiful. just beautiful.

Bless with a Boy | 12:13 PM

As always you wrote that beautifully.

We try to control everything... Or at least the things we think we can control. You are so right in that we actually control nothing.

Sarah N | 12:13 PM

Beautiful, well-put. This is one of those entries that has come to me at a most serendipitous moment, so thank you for the de facto advice and guidance when I needed it. :)

Kris | 12:14 PM


I can't believe you've only known about the girls for a year. It seems like they've been around forever, somehow.

Also, I can't believe I'm going to write this out loud, but have you ever read anything from Sylvia Browne? Part of me wants to believe she's just a nutter, but part of me wonders if she really is legit. That she can tune in to things the rest of us just can't. Or don't. And I wonder if Archer is maybe tuned into the same frequency, somehow.

Alessandra @ Tribal Times | 12:17 PM

yes, thank you for that.

Meg @ Mr.C and Me | 12:19 PM

wow! beautiful. exactly what i need today!

Reb | 12:20 PM

Love this, my life is SO different than the one I had planned. But from this vantage that planned life looks so dull! Thank you for writing something so beautiful!

Sarah | 12:24 PM

It truly is magic. This is beautifully written and full of such sweet sentiment. A great reminder that everything happens for a reason and that we will not just survive but thrive with our new reality.

Allison | 12:24 PM

I really adore your writing. I've been reading this blog since Archer was about 3 and it just keeps getting better. I love traveling along with your family.

Anonymous | 12:26 PM

Love this post...seriously teary eyed over here. The twins are amazingly beautiful and unique in their own individual way. Beautiful additions to an already super cool family.

Amber | 12:38 PM

"Maybe I spent years trying to rebel against all of things I knew I wanted."

Story of my life, as uaual.

Beautiful <3

Anonymous | 1:01 PM

You make me want to have babies.

elderbug | 1:01 PM

Beautiful. My husband and I planned on being young parents and waiting until our oldest, Ryann, was around five before adding to the brood. Ryann died suddenly last spring at just 19 months and we're expecting her little sister or brother mid-September. Nothing is guaranteed, everything shifts and changes, but it's always worthwhile to live for the light. Look for the positive. Remember the beautiful things that you had and will have.

Unknown | 1:07 PM

Simply amazing! I hadn't read your initial post about your ring....just gave me goosebumps. Do you even realize how deep your writing is? And how awesome you are? And how much you inspire so many people? I feel like I just had a little life counseling session myself. Thank you.

Anonymous | 1:25 PM

Thank you for this. Today of all days. Just thank you.

Anonymous | 1:28 PM

Chills. No kidding, I got CHILLS from reading this...that's what happens whenever (rarely) I read or see something that feels true in my bones, something real to the -nth. Please keep on writing - and living - to the fullest.

Sara | 1:32 PM

I've been reading your blog for years, and I'm finally here to say: I think you are amazing and awesome and hilarious and though it feels strange to love someone you've never met, I totally love you.

Ms. K | 1:33 PM

Loved this post. Noticed you are going to SXSW this weekend. I too will be in Austin this weekend. Unfortunately, it is for a wedding...wish I could come hang out with you instead.

Anonymous | 1:44 PM

A year ago I was standing in court applying for parental rights for my niece. She became our first child, and today one year later I'm sitting on my couch waiting for my her and her new baby sister to wake up from their naps. Is this life I planned for, no. Is this how I imagined myself at 24? No. Would I trade my family and all the magic I've experienced with them? Not for a minute. So happy for you and your beautiful family.

Abby | 2:01 PM

Thank you so much for this post. It was just what I needed today. I'm about to make a major career change and I am thrilled and terrified. Good to be reminded that all of this uncertainty is kind of the whole point.

Amelia | 2:09 PM

This was so beautiful. I'm trying to find my magic too. :))

Unknown | 2:15 PM

I think the reason so many of us adore you and your writing is that you articulate exactly what we're going through, as well, so well. I was going to write that, wow, again it's like we're living parallel lives. But obviously it's not just me who feels this way. You have many kindred spirits.

I'm about to start a new full-time dream job and, even with all of the challenges that come along with leaving my kids under another's care, it feels magically meant to be. Thank you for your magical words.

sonja | 2:31 PM

Today I'm celebrating my first baby's first birthday... March 9, 2011 was a very magical day indeed!!!

I remember reading your announcement of the twins from Google Reader on my phone while I was waiting for my son to come back to me from the warmer in the nursery!!!

Unknown | 2:42 PM

a year ago i was lamenting about how i had just started my 6th cycle since trying to get pregnant and then reading about the twins and then crying. two weeks later, i found out i was finally pregnant (yay!). today, i have an expert 4 month old :)

Mama D | 2:46 PM

This came at the perfect time for me, when perhaps most people would think I want to avoid the subject of babies. I found out yesterday that I'm having yet another (4th) miscarriage...this one at 9.5 weeks. But going through this repeatedly, one learns to never begrudge another person's happiness over a child. And more importantly, life happens. Bad things, then good things, then inexplicably confusing things. They keep happening. And the best thing I can remember at this moment is that more things will happen to me and life will continue and at some point I will look back at this as a launching point for the things that came after. Thanks, Rebecca.

Anonymous | 2:52 PM

Love this post.

When my husband & I were newly married we had our tea leaves read...mine formed into the profile of a pregnant woman...Huh??! I worked at Planned Parenthood and work? Years later, we had one son. And then triplets spontaneously. I, for one, never was sure I wanted to be a Mom. Now I believe it's my life's calling.

Shortly after I delivered our first son, the TV was on in our hospital room. (I still don't recall how/why it was on). I looked up to say "TURN IT OFF!" and it was Phoebe of "Friends" who had just delivered triplets on the show. I remember my doc saying "ah triplets! can you imagine??" 2 years later, I delivered triplets.

And when I was pregnant with my triplets, a robin bird made a nest & laid 3 eggs right outside our window. When I returned from the hospital after delivering my 3 babies, all 3 babies had flown..3 little birds, outside my window...

This is way too long, but yes, the universe gives us hints of what is to be, whether we pay attention is up to us. It's a gentle nudge to pay better attention, I believe, to all the small, but wonderful ways we really are all connected. And to remind us it's all beyond our control.


Your ring matching your twins' hair colors gives me chills. In the best way. They were always meant to come to you, just like your first two children, just like your marriage...

I got pregnant the first month in AGES that I decided to not get pregnant. There were preventative measures in place and everything.

So, yeah. I don't believe in coincidences.

Shea Goff | 3:17 PM

I love this. Thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous | 3:38 PM

Magically lovely.


Sabrina | 4:06 PM

Amazing post. After a very rough, tiring and trying year I've had, we've had as a family, this brings tears to eyes and makes my heart skip a beat. Because maybe we were meant to go through this. To make it through this. Thank you for some clarity.

Adrianne | 4:12 PM

Ever since I saw these two pictures on instagram a couple of weeks ago, I've been waiting for the beautiful post that I knew would accompany them. This did not disappoint.

So, so beautiful. I think everyone has magic, but you (and Archer, omg!) are especially in tune with the magic surrounding you. I love the way you wrote this as I think about this sort of thing all the time.

Mama Smith | 5:09 PM

The more that I read of your life, the more I am convinced that you guys really do have some extra magic. Maybe what you have is the ability to observe all of these little breadcrumbs that lead you to the unexpected and perfect place you find yourself and the good sense to listen to the wise words of your little boy when many people would dismiss them. Whatever it is you give me chills and as always a few tears!

Christa | 8:51 PM

Thank you for this. And for continuing to share the bits of magic you notice so clearly. It reminds me to pay better attention to the magic in my own life, to try to take more time to write it down.

Amber F. | 11:26 PM

I love the picture of your babies showing black hair and blond hair and next to your ring with the black and blonde stones. That is amazing!

Laraloo | 11:55 PM

What a beautiful post, really needed the reminder today! Working to trust the magic in my life these days.

Rebekah Wallace | 4:34 AM

beautifully written Rebecca. I love seeing the journey of your family progress. thank you.

Anonymous | 6:36 AM

Oh my good lord this one has me all choked up.

Thanks for sharing your magic with us, reminding us that it's within us all.


Rachel | 8:58 AM

As always, beautifully written.

Do you know this Amanda Palmer song? Thought of it while reading this one.

Amber S | 9:20 AM

This is beautiful. You articulate a lot of things I'm feeling and thinking. My two best friends are in town this weekend for our annual girls trip (Trifecta). We typically go somewhere super fun, you'll find out why we're spending it at home in Milwaukee in a minute. One year ago on Trifecta, we were doing an adventure race in Arizona. I couldn't figure out why I felt so hungover after 3 beers that weekend. Then I came home, realized I had no idea when my last period was, and took a pregnancy test. My husband and I had an 18 month old at the time and were considering not having any more kids. We went to the doctor's for an ultrasound and saw that same double image. I leaned over to puke. My husband laughed and said "of COURSE we're having twins!". I cried, he said it would be ok. I laughed. And now I have a Judah and an Althea swinging in their swings while big sis Talulah is sleeping upstairs with a fever. My friends are here for "Twinfecta". Who would have guessed it??

Heathrow's World | 11:45 AM

I think I need to print this out and read it every day.

glenda | 2:18 PM

Beautiful post. Beautiful words. Beautiful family x6

It's all happened the way it was meant to be! <3

Hilary (Adventures from 14 Maple) | 10:32 PM

Sitting at work. Scared and overwhelmed and 23 weeks pregnant with fraternal twins with a 3-year-old and a 22-month-old at home. Tears. Needing this reminder. Thank you.

Susan | 4:10 PM

Wow I so relate to your feelings...pregnant with twins and conceived naturally, no twins in our family even. Talk about complete shock!! It is a very special gift, for sure...

Lauren Knight | 8:18 PM

Beautiful as usual! You have such a way with words. Thanks for making me think!

T. | 10:44 PM

Without the magic, there is no reason for anything.

Thank you for writing this.

Thrifty Vintage Kitten | 5:40 AM

Gah! I just love reading your posts so much, especially ones like this.

Barnicles | 5:43 AM

its beautiful reading this, i took all the links and read the story :)


Erin Trew | 6:55 AM

I've been wanting to write you but, haven't quiet known what to say, I am a 32 year old mother of a 4 year old son, 2 year old daughter and after much contemplation on having the third am 35 weeks and 2 days pregnant with twin girls. Through a girlfriend of mine I started reading your blog about 2 months ago and I can't even tell you how much it has helped me. Yes, I am still terrified out of my mind, but now can safely say extremely excited as well. I love all of your entries, but this one as I get closer to the end has summed it up so well. I guess it's just nice to know that I'm not the only one who has these thoughts. Thank you, more than words can say.

Jennifer | 10:22 AM

I love your blog! I have 7 year old twins and my husband and I decided we were done so I had my tubes tied in Jan 2011. BUT we just thought we were done - I am now 25 weeks pregnant!! So much for planning!

Christina@busybmommy | 10:53 AM

Because it regularly forces tears from my eyes I should really stop reading your blog while I'm at work.

I too believe in magic.

Last week one of my girlfriends shared a prayer with me and I fell in love with the following line, "Miracles beget miracles and wonder never ceases."


Tanna | 1:05 PM

Beautifully written! I love your perspective of the things that happen in life! It is such a magical journey. Thanks for pointing that out and sharing yours with me.

Becca | 6:44 PM

Even we planned for our future, sometimes things could not turn out as we expected. Everything happens for a reason, either good or bad always look at it n a positive side. And you'll see God's plan why He allows to happen it.
congrats Momma! twins are blessings!

amy j. | 8:53 PM

I just really like you. That is all : )

Just me. | 7:25 AM

I have to say that I read a lot of blogs, and by far yours is the most beautiful and inspirational. The reality in which you put your thoughts to paper is just so raw, and honest. I love that you can tell us about your struggles, thank you for being an imperfect mom, like the rest of us, and thank you for making me realize that its about the sum of the small things, that make the big picture... Not just the bad things that sit in the background.. Thank you.

melissa stone | 8:49 AM

i've never really been a planner. and, i'm always late for everything...i'm the one that shows up to the reception!

i met my husband cause i skipped an event that i was, naturally, late for, my period was late, my wedding was 5 month late, and my baby boy arrived 2 weeks late.

i don't even know if i'm late, anymore. i don't bother to check the clock. cause the only thing that matter is that i'm here, right now. these two guys make the world around me stop, and the only thing in focus is there beautiful faces.

Anonymous | 12:54 PM

When I found out I was having twin fraternal girls, 4 and a half months ago, I freaked out. My good friend directed me to your website and it has been better than all the twin books combined.
Today I was feeling overwhelmed by the idea again, would I still have any space left to love my other child, let alone my husband with two more on the way?
But then I read your beautiful post. (Which actually made me cry just a little bit) and now I'm feeling better.
Beautiful ring btw.

Maricris @ SittingAround | 4:54 PM

Most of the things that I have planned never happened. But I guess what I ended up is better. After all, things happen for a reason :-)

All that makes you... | 2:30 PM

Loved it. We have 12 year-old twin boys and we have emails I sent my husband long before we KNEW we were having twins where I refer to them as "the babies". I started my blog a couple of weeks ago. I am trying to give people a place to visit everyday where I will have a short story that may make you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing. I story that everyone can relate to. Something to read after you have read the news on your mobile sitting at the school drop off/pick up line or the side of a practice field. I would be honored if you took the time to stop.
Look up the post, "Aren't you glad you only had to do that twice to get three kids?!" I think you will appreciate.

Riss | 6:49 PM

Okay, so. Thank you for this post. I want to believe that it's true. That the magic is there in the unplanned. And I am crying with relief at the idea that nothing can really be planned. See, I have 10 month old twins. And I just found out that I'm 8 weeks pregnant. And I'm just so...well...unsure and embarrassed and freaked out about it. I certainly have led a very "planned" life in many ways and keep looking at myself in the mirror saying... "I can't believe you're pregnant again." And much of me is not ready and most of me says... "It's too soon!" but another bit is in there swooning and waiting to meet this person that apparently had to come right away. Your words are an island to me on my long swim between the unplanned and the magic...

Love | 7:58 PM

i love this.

just got pointed here after i asked on twitter for twin mom...especially ones that nurse &/or babywear. [i believe my friend steph, adv in babywearing, though has recommended i read you even before this!]

we just found out that what we thought was our 8th baby is actually #8 & 9! =) looking forward to ready more here.

LaurenK | 9:32 PM

You and I found out we were having twins the same day! I read your blog often as your twins are the same age as my boy/girl twins (Ruby and Ezra)...Mine were born Sept 26th. Love hearing from another twin momma!