In all honesty, this is something I have thought of --I'm pretty sure-- at least once every single day since January 31, 2005 (the day we flew to Haiti and united with our boys forever). The motto that appears on the Haitian flag, "L'Union Fait La Force," translated into English is, "Strength Through Unity," or, as many people say it, "In Union There Is Power."
I feel like these five words got branded into my brain on January 31, 2005; they so perfectly state so much of how I observe my two boys. I'm going to jot down here a few of my brief thoughts on this. But believe me when I say, I could write a lengthy book on this topic.
Kyle and Owen are a force, especially when united. There is no stopping them-- this is most definitely true in terms of very naughty behavior (man, once they get started, they just don't quit with the antics and tussles and bad bad bad behavior; wow can they get into some trouble together), and I, being their mother, see this almost everyday. There are times when I want to pull my hair out (each of them alone can provoke that reaction in me, for sure, but together... watch out... Mama can go from zero to sixty in no time flat). I still get very nervous when they are suddenly quiet in the presence of each other. It usually means that they are up to no good. This was true when they were 2, and it is just as true today. And yes, they've done some pretty serious damage together... some of which has left permanent scars on our house (think WATER DAMAGE), on our cars (think DEEP EXTERIOR SCRATCHES), and on our psyches (think MOMMY --and sometimes even Papi-- MELTDOWNS). Yes, when it comes to their mischief, "In Union There Is Power."
But "In Union There Is Power" means so much more with them too--- Together they are a force to be reckoned with. Don't even try to cross one of them because you'll get both of them right back at ya. They don't fool around when it comes to defending one another. They've got each other's backs non-stop, round-the-clock, day-in-and-day-out, always. Everywhere, from on the playground to in the family room, and everywhere in between. They are each over 50 pounds right now. But believe me, together they are well more than 100 pounds of full-blown bone and muscle coming at you fast and furious if they think you might be in their way.
And "In Union There Is Power" means a lot in terms of their disposition too. They are unbelievably happy and they are fully engaged in life. They have an incredible zest for living, and they live their lives to the very, very fullest (overflowing fullest of full). They laugh together like you wouldn't believe. And they play together harder than you can imagine. Have you ever heard of a set of twins who shares a full-blown full-time imaginary friend? (June is alive and kicking folks, she has never left). That's just one tiny example of the life-world that is their own. It is bigger than big, that life-world of theirs. "In Union There Is Power"... a power that goes beyond the norms of what you'd normally expect to see from two five year old boys. It is a happy twinship, a tornado of energy and gusto, a double torpedo of GUMPTION and wild-and-crazy ACTION. They do have their calm moments. And they share traits in common that defy their action-oriented-exuberance (they are both extraordinarily affectionate and cuddly and kissy and loving, and just deeply compassionately and empathetically caring). But what comes through the most, especially at first glance, is the powerful dynamic ENERGY of their union.
I truly believe that the fact that they had each other is what carried them through the storms of their early months. No, they weren't held (not much at all), and yes, that's led to some pretty serious stuff that we're coping with to this day and probably always will be. But they could feel each other's bodies, and they could sense each other's presence, and they knew their togetherness (I'm sure of it), even as infants. No, they weren't in (by any stretch of the imagination) healthy circumstances. But they were together in the thick heat and humidity, they were together amidst the gunshots and the tension and the crises, they were together in the bottom of that dingy portacrib every hour of every day and night. They were grasping for each other's hands and touching and feeling each other's selves through the commotion and the chaos and the desolation and the blankness that was their early life. This was one of the first things we noticed about them-- their constant need to regularly hold each other's hands. They'd reach out for one another, as 8 month olds, and grab hands. Sometimes they'd hold tight for long stretches of time. Other times they grab hold and then twirl and interlace their fingers around each other's, rubbing each other's hands and fingers and fingernails. They needed to do this regularly (and it was so clear all the reasons why) for the first few weeks we were with them.
"In Union There Is Power"... I swear, I see it everyday. That Haitian spirit. Times two. Big time. The power of it is a whole much larger than the sum of the parts. In union there is power.