The Same But Different
I am a child of the 80’s and 90’s. And I don’t know if it was that time period, if it was my mother specifically, or just moms in general, but my sister and I were dressed alike for almost everything. No we are not twins. We are 2 and a half years and 2 days apart to be exact. But my mother insisted on buying 2 of everything- one Laura’s size, and one mine. Or if we were REALLY lucky, identically puffy painted sweatsuits. Yeah, we were that cool. As I’m sure you can tell, I hated it. To this day, in my late 30’s, I still hate it. Maybe I should have seeked out some therapy by now, but that’s a whole other story. The idea of having to dress JUST like your little sister, or anyone else for that matter, is just painful.
A few decades later, I found out I was going to be a mother. To twins. To Identical twins. Oh the irony. And what does everyone LOVE to do with their identical twins…. Dress them exactly alike. Obviously you know my stance on this and I have worked very hard for every year of their life to make sure they are never wearing the exact same thing.
In hindsight, what I was so against as a child, really wasn’t about the clothing. It truly has to do with identifying yourself as an individual. A way of figuring out who you want to be, what you want to look like, and how you present yourself. And here now, I have identical twins who are 6 going on 16 and just trying to figure out exactly who they are- to their friends and family, from one another and for themselves.
For them, they will always be referred to as the “twins.” While this title and their bond together is so incredibly special, it’s quite possibly the least most exciting thing about them. They are two individuals- with incredible but different personalities- who will have to try extra hard to prove to the world who each of them is. It’s hard for any of us to find our way in who we are and who we want to be, but even harder when you have an identical sister and hardly anyone can tell you apart. In the last year, I have watched a real shift in their identities. Madelyn has fully embraced girly girl, loving all things makeup, rainbows, dance, unicorns, mermaids and barbies. Gabriella has gone in the other direction and fallen in love with sports, superheroes, pretty much anything her father loves, cooking, dark colors and a dream of doing karate (soon to be a reality). Some days I question if their choices are truly genuine or if they’re just on a path of figuring out how NOT to be their sister.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But it’s become more clear to me in the last year to embrace my daughters’ personalities and lean into who each of them are becoming. From their choice in clothing, to hairstyle, sports and activities and even the way they color (and regardless of how many times this might change over time)- it’s my job to embrace each of them for who they are becoming and encourage them to keep being them. Not an easy task sometimes but making that extra effort will continue to build their confidence and teach them that they are ok to be who they want to be outside of just a twin sister.
(written by Kate)