Sunday, April 06, 2014

On twins and non-twins

"So, what are you getting Jess for her birthday?" Tom asks me earnestly. Five minutes later I have the reverse conversation with Jess. Yep, this can mean only one thing - the twins' birthday season is well and truly upon us!

You see, I grew up with twins. My younger siblings are twins, my grandmother was a twin, and my aunt and uncle are twins. I, however, am not a twin. You could say that I am the non-twin in our family.

For the first five years of my life, I was an only child who dreamed of siblings, prayed for siblings, and played at having siblings. I had a large doll that I referred to as my sister, and was bitterly disappointed that she seemed to get smaller and smaller as the years went on. So when mum and dad told me that I would be granted not one but two of these fellow offspring that I had covetted so, I was stoked!

Once I got over the initial disappointment that they too didn't seem to be the right size for playing with me, I patiently waited for the circumstances to change. I had to wait two years before they could reasonably be expected to sit at the little desks upstairs and dutifully play the part of the school students while I played Miss Valentine! I had to wait even longer for them to be able to play 500 and charades, but it's all good now.
The Golden Jubilee of twinhood, Paris 2007
I enjoy twin birthday season, and I enjoy teasing them about it. The earnest conversations about what to do for the other, the generosity they both show, discussion about parties, shopping and lots of phone calls. Also just the "double-ness" of it all. I do remember when they turned 21 and Jess mentioned that she might prefer her own party, there was talk of separatism. Tears were shed. But that was all forgotten a few years later when we spent their 25th birthday together in Paris. The golden jubilee of twinhood was definitely worth commemorating, they assured me, and they were generous enough to include me!!

I can remember people asking Tom or Jess what it was like being a twin, and they never knew how to answer. It was all they had ever known. Tom used to ask them in return what it's like not being a twin and that usually shut them up.

I recently met another non-twin. Or to be more accurate, she is actually a non-quad, and I think she summed it up when she said "it sucks not being a quad". It can be a bit lonely, but mostly it's double the fun and I would never want it any other way.

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