In my formative years, I desperately wanted to be different. When you have a twin, you are lumped together much of the time. First in the womb, then by your parents, and then by others. My mom dressed us identically. I don’t blame her – it’s cute, right? I feel sure I would do the same. And although she wanted us to look alike, she kept our hospital bracelets on for our first month of life to make sure she knew who was who. Our best friend, who lived across the street, referred to us as “the twins”. “Mom, can I go over and play with the twins?” “The twins are here!” When we were in middle school, we shared babysitting duties for a family down the street. The mom would call with a need, and whichever one was available would take the babysitting job. Since she was never sure which one of us was coming, she would tell the kids, “Kristen and Lauren are babysitting tonight.” Our charges apparently heard this as “KristenLauren” – one name. And since only one of us showed up at the time, it may have taken them years to realize we were two different people. Other friends had such a hard time telling us apart, they would devise ways to remember based on some perceived difference. “Lauren long/ Kristen cut” captures a snapshot in time when we wore our hair differently.
The older we got, the more my sister and I strived to be separate and distinct. In our teens and twenties, we wouldn’t be caught dead in the same outfit. We chose different hobbies – me athletics and she band – and ran in completely opposite circles of friends. We may have shared a car, but we loathed of sharing anything else. And while our personalities were really only as different as night and later that night, we did our best to carve out our own spaces. She was musical. I was physical. She excelled (and still does) in math and finance and I enjoy reading and writing. She strives on structure and I feel confined without the time and freedom to create.
How much time I wasted trying to be different from her. My sister is one of the best people I know. Now that I am firmly implanted in my 40’s and rounding the downhill slide into 50, there is no one else this side of Jesus I would rather emulate. She is smart and thoughtful and so much stronger than she even knows. Most importantly, she loves Jesus. And it shows in the way she loves me and so many others. I consider it a complement now if someone mistakes me for her. If you knew her, you would want to be like her too.
I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Different.”