Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Being a Twin: Part 4


Lately I've been missing my twin sister more than ever. I miss her every day of course, but somedays I feel it more. Maybe today because I didn't get to actually talk to her on the phone. Or maybe because life is feeling complicated right now and I just need my other half here with me and me with her. It can be hard to know what to do when half of you is missing...

I've talked before about how we have a closeness that is stronger than any other relationship we'll ever have. Martin often wonders why I always want him around ALL the time, sitting right next to me...a little closer, please? just a little closer?  Our family still wonders why Kate and I have a hard time going to the grocery store alone or the post office by ourselves...we blame it entirely on being a twin. 

I really had never done anything by myself until I went off to college. The day we went our separate ways was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. I can remember the moment vividly, our eyes spilling with tears, not wanting to let go from our hug. Knowing that the second we did let go, things would never be quite the same. I watched my sister walk out to the car and I turned away as she drove off. The pain we felt was almost debilitating. 

I remember sitting in my dorm room a few days later, willing myself to walk to class...alone, without my sister by my side. All the way across campus, pretending like I had walked somewhere by myself millions of times before. Kate and I had walked every day to elementary school together, sat with each other on the bus on the way to junior high, and fought over who had to drive that day to our high school. I watched the other students from my window wondering how they made it look so easy. How in the world were they able to be so brave without their twin next to them?? Why were the simplest things the hardest to do alone? I felt awkward and exposed being by myself. I had always had another shadow walking beside mine.

 As we drifted through our college years I felt as if I was learning to walk again, talk again, be me. I met new friends and they knew me just as Jessica, not "Kate and Jessica".  Being a twin didn't seem to be defining who I was anymore. I felt uncertain in my new role as myself, but in a way it was exciting and I began to slowly spread my own wings. We were having our own experiences, some we wished we could share, others we wanted to keep for ourselves. 

The weekends when I could drive to Boulder or when Kate could come visit me felt as exciting as Christmas morning. We would sit in our dorm rooms and talk and talk, not wanting anyone else to join in on our our own little secret Twins Society, where only twins named Kate and Jessica were allowed. We felt so relieved to be in each others company. 

Now, almost ten years from when we first said goodbye...when we thought we would never leave each other again, we've said goodbye too many times to count. Life has taken us our different ways again, but we know someday we'll be back in the comfort of each other. We're still learning how to be on our to live our lives without the other one being right there beside us. Some days are harder than others. Some days we have to keep ourselves from spontaneously buying a plane ticket and moving to where the other one is. Somedays I forget how to walk down the sidewalk without Kate next to me.  But then there are the days where we are thriving on our individuality, when we are growing in our own relationships, our careers.  It's become a balancing act.  Keeping part of us true to being a twin and growing the other part of us in our own distinct way. 


  1. And even thought I tried not to do the "twiny" thing, I guess you two just have a special thing going.!:-) Sounds like you should write a children's book!

  2. i love this post. miss you more