I am a twin. We are not identical but people who don’t know us, or don’t know us well have trouble telling us apart. To be fair, in pictures from when we were babies and toddlers even I can’t tell us apart (my mother has trouble with it too). Those who know us well however have no trouble distinguishing us.
Even though we are twins we are unique. We are each an individual with different likes and dislikes. We have chosen very different paths, although we have both ended up as single mothers. She married her high school sweetheart and had children in her early twenties. I met my ex in college and we waited until I was in my early thirties to have kids. She works with children and because of this has felt the struggle of a profession that is often not fairly compensated. I ended up in IT, even though most days I would prefer to work with children.
Being a twin gives me a unique perspective as a mother. My girls are 15 months apart and I have always made the effort to treat them as individuals. From the time they were little I paid attention to their uniqueness more than their similarities. I’ve encouraged them to be their own person, never dressing them alike or buying the same gift at Christmas. Over the years, I’ve attempted to spend time one on one with each of them. I’ve encouraged them to participate in different activities even when it stretched my already short free time, my oldest choosing Girl Scouts and my youngest opting for piano lessons.
But because they’re so close in age they have experienced some similarities to being twins. Strangers on the street have always stopped and asked if they were twins. They’re in different grades in school but they share some of the same friends. We often have several kids over and I encourage them not to exclude anyone, although I know at times they will want time alone with a friend. They have both been in non-competitive gymnastics for years, both at the same level so in the same class. They are getting ready to go up a level, but even then they will probably move up at the same time as they have the same skills left to master.
A lot of the tension between the two of them involves this struggle to maintain their own identity. They compare themselves against each other constantly, even though I feel I am continuously reminding them they are unique and can’t be compared. I know this is normal and I try to be patient with it. But as a mother I want nothing more than for the two of them to appreciate each other.
No two people are ever identical. It is our very individuality that makes this world such an interesting place.