Thirty-three. Yep, that’s how old I am. It is also the number of birthdays I’ve shared with my twin sister.
But this last Sunday was the first my twin sister and I were able to celebrate together in probably a decade or so. She’d probably have the exact figure, but I’m going with ball parks here.
Our celebration wasn’t anything fancy or extraordinary but it was certainly special. We had cookie cake, my favorite dessert, and ice cream and watched our boys play together. I know, boring huh; nah, it was kind of amazing.
The special part though was getting to spend the time together. The past 33 years haven’t always been smooth sailing between the two of us. For a long time we had a love/hate relationship. We were constantly together — same classes, same friends, same job even. We shared toys and a room growing up and even a car. So there were times when all that sharing got to be a little oppressive for both of us. We needed our space, our own identity.
But just as strongly as that “hate” was as kids, was the love. My mom jokes that we would go from fighting to hugging in seconds. We were thick as theives.
Our parents were wonderful about making sure we were independent. There were no matching clothes, rhyming names or forced joint activities. They did a great job supporting us in our individual endeavors helping us to find our unique strengths. Early on Sarah had the market on math and scienceas well as a passion for music. I, on the other hand, freely took over the writing side of things.
So the hate part is kind of obvious — we did a lot of fighting and grating each others nerves. But the love part was certainly strong too. We were very close and very dependant on each other and each other’s approval. I had a built in friend and ally anywhere, anytime.
After graduating, Sarah moved to Evansville to pursue an engineering degree at the University of Evansville, and I went to Western Kentucky University to study journalism. This was a perfect compromise for us. We were close enough we could see each other whenever we needed and yet we had our own space and were both somewhere that we were no longer referred to as “the Brown twins.” It was kind of freeing.
Life has brought me all over the world since then, while Sarah has stayed here in Evansville. It took me a while to realize how important that relationship was. And eventually a strong desire to be near my family brought me to Evansville.
I’m sure there were several times over the past 33 years that I’ve taken our relationship for granted and not done the necessary maintenance required of all relationships. But thankfully I’ve got a sister who really loves me and is forgiving.
There have been several difficult and wonderful things I’ve gone through in the last few years, and I know there will be many more to come. But I didn’t go through them alone. I had my sister there with me. We cried through the loss of our father together. We smiled together as we welcomed our sons into the world.
So, after living at least a state away (and at times lots of countries away) for 15 years, we are once again in the same town and raising our sons together. It has been so much fun to see her in this new light as a wife and a mother. And she does a phenomenal job at both.
I can promise you this much, there will be a fight or two in the next 33 years, but the relationship now is certainly a love/love one.
And I’m so grateful I’ll continue to have her by my side.