November 12, 2010

A double blessing...

When our twin sons Zach and Daniel came along, we were stopped constantly by people while we were out and about who felt compelled to tell or ask us twin-related things.  This was not limited to strangers; even our friends participated at times.  Among these gems are the following, for which I will provide comments and answers here to satisfy any who echo their curiosity:
“Uh-oh, double trouble!”  (Not in the slightest.  They are a joy.)
“Boy, do you have your hands full!”  (Please see, “Boy, do you have your hands full…”)
“Are they identical?”  (They are not.  One has brown eyes and one has blue.  Oh yeah, and different faces.)

“Were you on fertility drugs?”  (No.  Not that it would be anybody’s business.)
“Do twins run in your family?”  (We especially got that if they knew our first children were twins, who passed away after an extremely premature birth.  We like to tell people that they didn’t run in the family, but they do now.)
“How nice that you have a replacement for your other twins.”  (That one is bitterly painful.  Our children are not something you exchange at the customer service desk at Sears.  It denigrates the memory of our first two and devalues the lives of the two we have with us.  People don’t mean to be unkind saying this one, but it’s just awful.)
“Do you dress them alike?”  (No.  Occasionally someone would give us coordinated outfits when they were babies and we’d use them, but in general we dressed them  how they each looked best when they were little.  Even now that they’re choosing their own clothes they have opposite taste.)

“It must not be that hard.  After all, they have each other to play with.”  (They didn’t play together in the traditional sense until they were at least two years old.  Until then they played next to, not with each other, and quite often would scurry off in opposite directions keeping the rest of us hopping.  Since then, yes, they play with each other and are good buddies.  But those first two years were a challenge!)
“I know just what it’s like.  My children are a year and a half apart, and it was just like having twins.”  (Nope.  Not even close.)
“I know just what it’s like.  My neighbor has twins.”  (Um, no, your neighbor knows just what it’s like.  You just know what it looks like.)
And so on.  If you’re detecting annoyance in my tone, you’re a good detector.  When they were babies and I’d go grocery shopping and get stopped six or seven times to have identical conversations with total strangers, it began to get on my nerves.  My husband didn’t feel the same way at all – he’d tell people all about them, and loved the whole experience of chatting with strangers about all things twin.  But then again, he didn’t deal with it on a daily basis like I did, now did he?  I was getting little sleep, and life was very busy.  I really didn’t enjoy these little conversations, especially the more ignorant ones.  (A personal favorite I must add to the above list:  people asking if our first twins, a boy and a girl, were identical.)  As the boys have gotten older, and the younger of the two has grown to be two inches taller than his twin, the questions and comments have diminished about the twin subject in general.  Now, with less frequency and with me getting the sleep I need to be a much nicer and more patient person, those twin conversations don’t bother me as much.  But still, please don’t tell me that I have my hands full… 

I may have a low tolerance for ignorant questions and comments about twins, but I sure do love having twins and the adventures and special joys that come with that.  When we learned these little guys were two babies and not one at our first ultrasound, I was grateful for such a gift, but nervous.  With the loss of our first twins, and with their older brother Scott born prematurely and having had a long stay in intensive care as an infant, I was afraid I might lose them.  I was put on bedrest for the pregnancy and carried them to eight months, which is normal for twins.  They had a two week stay in the hospital and came home tiny but healthy.  What a blessing the Lord gave us.  To be fair, it was hard work taking care of them and meeting all their needs for the first few years.  But the pleasure of having two little Wilburs at once far outweighed the work.  And now that they’re bigger, it makes no difference in our day-to-day life that they are twins.  They’re just Wilbur kids, like their siblings.  And though they are total opposites in every way (more on that another time), they are the best of friends.  We don't just love having twins, we love Zach and Daniel individually, and they are each a precious part of our family.  They came as a pair, and that's a lot of fun.  But they are unique, special, and adored for who they each are.

Nonetheless, they are twins, an integral part of who they are.  It's something I can't relate to but am intrigued by, just like all those nosy strangers and friends.  When they were about four years old I asked them my own prying question, what it was like being twins, curious as to what they might come up with.  Daniel summed it up nicely, “Being together.”

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