Whenever people find out I’m a twin, they’re always fascinated and full of questions. I’m always asked, “What’s it like to be a twin?” I often want to reply, “What’s it like to not be a twin?” I don’t mean that in a snotty way, it’s just that being a twin is all I know.
The dynamic between siblings that are different ages has always been interesting to me. My brother and I were always learning the same things and we knew the same people. Being the same age meant many of the same classes, which resulted in lots of togetherness and no secrets. Like it or not, we knew everything that was going on with the other. I would sometimes ask my friends questions about their older or younger siblings and they’d reply, “I don’t know.” You don’t know? That was mind-boggling to me.
Being a twin colors a lot of who I am and how I parent. I’m very protective of the identities my kids are creating for themselves. When you’re a twin, everyone makes the joke, “Are you the good twin or the evil twin?” But at some point in my life I’ve been known as the social one, or the sporty one, or the dumb/pretty/funny/dull/whatever one. Is this common with other siblings? I haven’t ever noticed other siblings being labeled the way my brother and I were. Anyway, because of this, I will never let my kids be referred to as the “Insert Adjective” Spohr. They are Annabel and James.
I’m also very into fairness and things being even. For some reason, this mattered a LOT to my brother and me. There was never an excuse for one of us to have a more extravagant gift or outing. I know several of my friends would be told things like, “You’ll get this when you turn sixteen,” or whatever arbitrary milestone was being celebrated. That sort of thing never happened in our house.
Then I wonder about stupid things, like do typical siblings have different bedtimes? Not like, a preschooler and a baby (obviously they do), but similarly aged siblings (like, when they are say, eight and ten)? And what happens when they go through their separate phases of disliking each other? My brother and I had periods of loathing, but they were always mutual (hahaha). Mike once told me a story about how one day, his older sister suddenly thought he was gross and he was devastated. That breaks my heart!
It all fascinates me. Watching Annabel and James, with their almost three-and-a-half year age difference, has been delightful. They love each other SO MUCH, and it just socks me right in the stomach, you know? I think one of my most important jobs is making sure they always feel that love and remember it. I know they’ll have plenty of difficulties and disagreements, so I’m going to do my best to make sure I’m not the cause of any of them!