Nine years ago, I was sitting in my doctor’s office confirming a pregnancy diagnosis. After three children, pregnancy was no surprise, but what I did hear sent my head into orbit and sent me home laughing through my shock. I was having twins.
Although my girls we born four weeks early, they came into this world perfectly healthy – and looking virtually identical! For the first several days, I kept their hospital bracelets on so I wouldn’t get them confused. But they quickly outgrew those. Then I developed a system of bathing them separately and dressing them in different colors so that I would be able to tell them apart.
When they were about two months old, things got a little bit easier. They started sucking on their thumbs. Natalie, who was 11 minutes older than her sister, always sucked on her left thumb, and she developed a callous on that hand. The same was true for Emily, who only sucked her right thumb. The girls never switched hands. When we needed to know which girl was which, all we had to do was to look at their thumbs.
As they grew, they still looked a lot alike, but subtle differences began to emerge, both in looks and in personality. Natalie was more outgoing and was ready to make new friends while Emily was reserved and referred to stay with Mama and color. But what really amazed me was that Natalie, who always sucked on her left thumb, was right-handed, and Emily, my right thumb sucker, was a southpaw! My girls were mirror twins.
I have been grateful that Emily can grow up in a time where left-handedness is understood and accepted and she does not have to be forced to comply with a right-handed world. Natalie and Emily are such a pair. They are so alike, and yet so different at the same time. It has been an amazing journey and I look forward to many more adventures with them, and the rest of my children as they continue to grow.