Before I entered motherhood, I never in a million years would have guessed I would have twins. Having one baby was hard enough to envision.
Right out of the gate, my situation was different from many. At the first sonogram I learned two things: 1) I was suddenly considered high risk, and 2) there was no way it would be worth continuing to work at my job just to pay double day care. Thanks to my pregnancy bed rest and their 9-week-early delivery, going back to work wasn’t an option even if I’d wanted to. (I didn’t really want to.)
Once we got past the logistics of carrying and taking care of two babies, then two toddlers, and now two little girls, it became more and more clear just how different our parenting life is from those of our friends.
In short, these girls are fascinating.
They’re almost always touching when they’re together, and they’re almost always together.
They can be best friends and worst enemies, the roles changing from minute to minute. But when they’re not getting along, the strain is palpable. It’s unnatural for them to be so distant, physically and emotionally.
They are each other’s person, the first face they look for in a crowd and first one they call out for when they walk in the front door after a solo outing.
As they grow in age, their social lives are changing. In second grade, kids aren’t friends with everyone like they are in kindergarten. Closer friendships start to form. And while they have friends at school, they seem to keep everyone at an arm’s length. No one gets them like their twin.
Part of me is discouraged by this. When they were babies, I read way too many books on raising twins.
Give them their own space! (We don’t have the space.)
Throw them separate birthday parties! (That’s not happening; it pains me to throw even one birthday party.)
Encourage – better yet, force – them to lead separate lives! They are different people, after all!
We take them on individual outings, sometimes essential grocery runs, sometimes nonessential fun trips tailored just for them. We are privy to their specific tastes and likes. We don’t dress them alike and rarely buy them the same gifts anymore. In a nutshell, we do what we can.
Look, parenting books. I get it. They each need to be their own person. I’d hate for one of them to sabotage a relationship because she’ll clearly never be as close to anyone as she will her twin. I’d never want one of them to give up on her goals and dreams because her sister wanted to follow a different path.
But everyone needs their own person. It takes many of us years to find that person.
Would it really be so bad if their person was built in?