Pair of Threes

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Last year, on their second birthdays, I wrote Bo and Revi their own separate posts, wanting to send the message that their individuality was worthy of separate praise and reflection. Which it was. And is. And always will be. I didn't do that this year for a number of reasons, the main one being that I had a sort of epiphany recently when I realized they didn't know that they were twins. 
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They knew they were sisters,  sure, but it wasn't until last week that they were cognizant of being twins. 

How that is possible, I still don't entirely know except I kind of do because all this time, I have been determined not to use the word. Instead, I spent their first three years calling them by name and pointing out and celebrating all of the things that separated them.
The word "twins" felt like an oversimplification of their two unique identities and I refused to allow them to conform to the assumption that sharing a womb and a birthday meant sharing an identity. In short, I was being overprotective of their differences. This (I realize now) is somewhat ridiculous considering how different they have always been without intervention. No one has ever assumed they were twins (or even sisters).
To be different than our sisters, children spouses and selves... to slip in and out of different roles, that is what gives our lives and the lives of others, purpose, meaning, joy. We are chameleons who determine our own shape-shift by understanding what sets us apart from the rest. Positive ions repel each other. It is the negative that the plus sign is attracted to. There must be something to that in people, too. The craving of conflict, of differences, the need to respect both the separation and the overlap. The yin and the yang and night and the day and the smile and the frown and the man and the woman and all of the other pairs that exist in nature. Opposites, most of them...

So there I was, huddled between my girls on Bo's mattress, trying to explain that they were in fact twins.

"No, we're not," Bo said. "We're sisters."
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"Yes, you are totally right. But you're also twins and that is AMAZING. That means you get to be yourselves but you also get to be PARTNERS. You were born partners. You came into the world together, quite possibly for a reason. And that's beautiful. It's beautiful to have someone to trust, a companion that has been beside you since before you had a pulse... "
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And the more I explained, the more I became aware of the celebration that was, and should always be, their partnership. Because there is something divine in the synchronicity of their occurance. Their bond is cellular, spiritual and instead of solely celebrating their differences and praising them for their complementary ways, I suddenly realized how little time I had spent fostering praise for their partnership. For their TWINness. 
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I started to think about what it means to be self-reliant, how much emphasis is put on the self as opposed to the team, the companion, the sister...  How dependency tends to insinuate weakness, how partnerships are not celebrated the way independence is. This is how it has always been in my head, at least. DO FOR YOU. YOU DON'T NEED THEM. YOU GOT THIS. And, yes, all of those things can (and should at times) be true. But we are not lone wolves even when we claim to be. We are not islands. We do not strengthen our minds and bodies and hearts without the help of others. We are not the cheese that stands alone. 
Which is not to say that these two aren't beautifully independent but they are also wholly devoted to each other in a way that I have not witnessed anywhere else in my life. (If I raise my voice at one, the other will raise her voice at me. This just started happening and it's both unnerving and incredible. Last night Revi told me I owed Bo an apology.)

"You need to say sorry to her, Mama! You hurt my BoBo sister's feelings!" 

And when I asked Bo if she wanted me to invite any friends to their birthday celebration this past weekend, Bo said. "Uh... how about... Revi?"

"Well, of course. Anyone else?"
"No, thank you!" 
Bo and Revi recognize the importance of each other in an innate way that I struggle with as a partner, sister, spouse... like living with a mirror and seeing yourself backwards and then forwards. Backwards, forwards, backwards, forward... and their devotion to each other, since birth, continues to give me faith in love as the ultimate superpower. 
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Their battle has given me more perspective on what it means to push against the things that matter most. Every day with them is a marathon of endurance and miracles and on this day, I celebrate the duality of their relationship, the tiny mother with her purses full of Parmesan cheese packets and her arms full of babies, and the charismatic ninja, both of whom depend on each other in a way that is powerful and affirming and totally overwhelming (for better and for worse). 
Half the time I don't know what they're laughing about or what they're off whispering about or what song they're singing... I've always imagined them sneaking into one another's dreams at night and sailing off on great adventures only to wake up with all of these stories in their heads and hearts -- stories that nobody but them would be able to understand. 
The 13th of September will always be their day. Strapped together, they parachuted into this world three years ago... And, so, today (a few days late) I celebrate their togetherness. Their twinness. Because as much as they are separate people with different identities and characteristics, there is something karmic about their relationship. There are days when watching them reminds me of two people who have been reunited after lifetimes apart. Soul mates. 
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And while every other day of their lives I will continue to celebrate what sets them apart from each other and everyone else, today is the day I celebrate their union and bond and TWINNESS. Because as important as it is to celebrate their separateness, so is it absolutely essential to praise who they are as a team. 
Happy Birthday, my strong, insightful, hysterical, creative, intelligent, beautiful girls. Being your mama fills my heart with infinite joy and my head with infinite gray hairs. Ah, but I'll take them. I will take them all! 



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