I’ve always been a big proponent of the treating-twins-as-unique-individuals philosophy. I never dress the boys in matching outfits. I never call them “the twins.” I try to always respect their individual (and very different) ways of approaching life. I think I’ve taken it so far as to think of them more in terms of brothers and not twins. And then life, in typical fashion, teaches me a thing or two about my boys and my perspective on their relationship.
A few nights ago, my husband and I spied on the boys as they slept. When they were younger, we’d spy every night before going to sleep. But in recent months, our voyeurism has tapered off enough that I had – I guess – forgotten how they slept. It blew me away to find them sleeping in perfect mirror image to one another. Perfect mirror image!
This one experience made me pause about my aforementioned philosophy. I remembered being pregnant and reading about all the amazing connections, characteristics and dynamics that twins have and thinking how lucky we are that we’ll get to experience it. Secret languages (in our house, known as baby Chinese), knowing looks and laughs (that I’m not privy to), touching each other’s faces and hands with the curtain in between (remembering in utero experiences?), the crazy empathy they have for one another. These are all incredible things; and for the most part, only grace relationships of multiples.
And so there I found myself, standing over their cribs, staring at their perfectly joined configuration and holding back my tears of love, joy and total adoration for my twins. Because for better and for worse, my boys are not just brothers. As unique and individual as they are separately, they form an incredibly special set. They have a bond I will never be able to fully comprehend, molded at the most primal level. And I suddenly realized that I should not only respect this, but also celebrate it.
I will, without a doubt, continue to emphasize their unique attributes and their sense of individual self. It won’t be hard, after all, Abel and Oskar are night and day from one another. But I think a new chapter has opened up for me in terms of not just loving my two boys for who they are, but also loving my “twins” for who they are together. Striking that balance between the sum and the parts. Which also shouldn’t be hard to do, because if what they say is true, and the sum is greater than the parts, then my heart just might explode from all the love.