My daughters started middle school this year.
(Long-time readers will now join me in picking their jaws off the floor. How did they get so big?)
They’re taking almost all the same classes, but they’re in different sections. They see each other at lunch and in science class, but otherwise do their own thing during the school day. One of them wears her glasses all the time, while the other takes them out only to read the white board. They haven’t dressed alike in years.
The school hosted an open house for parents after the students had time to adjust to their schedules and get to know their teachers. As I introduced myself to their teachers, pointing out the kids I belonged to, I saw realization strike over and over again. Even their science teacher, who sees them side by side in her classroom, hadn’t realized that they were related to each, much less that they were identical. After all, Rodriguez is a rather common last name in Texas.
I’ve gone from a parent of identical twinfants who needed to help people learn to tell them apart to a parent of kids who just happen to be sisters. It’s been a long transition, sometimes bumpy, but mostly gentle. There’s part of me that misses the celebrity that came with being noticed as a mother of twins. The larger part, though, is so happy that each of my daughters has found her comfort zone.
They love being sisters, but they don’t feel the need to advertise it. Their friends see them as individuals first, but honor the primary role each plays in her sister’s life. I think that’s a healthy place to be.
When the children were picking band instruments at the end of last year, one of my girls waffled back and back between oboe and clarinet, occasionally feeling drawn toward the trombone. The band teacher let her take her time, talking her through the roles each played in the band. When she brought up feeling conflicted about playing the same instrument as her sister (oboe), the teacher handled it perfectly.
“Play what you want to play. It’s not about your sister. It’s about you.”
I’m in a healthy place myself. As the other teachers came to realize that these two kids in their classes were sisters, I didn’t even feel the urge to point out that they were identical. As fascinating as it continues to be to me that theirs was a mono-di gestation, it has nothing to do with how each child is doing at school nor with her relationship with her teachers. It’s interesting, but not instructional.
I’m growing up too. I’m a Mom first, these days. The Mom of Twins title is far less salient than it once was.