The thing about having twins is that it's an entirely new experience in an unknown realm for me. I grew up with older brothers who did not have time for me, their annoying little sister. (In hindsight, I can't really blame them as I did suffer from a bad case of "Dork".) I never had a close relationship with them, so I don't know what that's like. And of course, I have no idea what having a sister is like.
I have two children who are the very embodiment of "close" and "sisters". Heck, at one point they were one egg, one baby; can't get much closer than that. There are a million ways in which our two are not like the singletons around them, and nothing has shown us that (for better or worse) more than their being in school.
As many of you may know, they are each on 2 IEPs this year. One is for OT (Occupational Therapy) to help their handwriting get smoother, easier, and to come more naturally for them. The second IEP is for Speech & Language, but more specifically, for socialization. We've struggled with them in this area since their birth, and we went into the whole Twin parenting thing knowing it might happen. Twins (or any tier of multiples) can be very attached to their co-multiples, sometimes to the point of excluding all others outside their unique bond.
Ashlyn and Caedance share a bond which I can only begin to imagine and will never fully comprehend. They are the stereotype you think of when someone says "Identical Twins". They shared language for several years, they communicate without speaking, finish each other's sentences, and like to be near enough to one another to be touching. When they were younger, people thought this was cute. Now that they are school age, I've had a few people voice concern about their closeness, and it leads me to ask the question: Why?
Since they've been in school, they've blossomed academically and socially. We thought that perhaps being in a classroom would change their relationship, removing some of the dependence that they place on one another. But if anything, it has strengthened their bond. They've each expanded their individual worlds to let new people in, yet somehow that has allowed their own unique bond to grow even stronger. I look at them and see two little girls who are each independent on her own, and more united when together. It's truly a beautiful thing; a happy progression.
Complete strangers may look at them and wonder if they're "Too Close" and should be "Separated" to become more "Individualized", but Dan and I are confident they are doing just fine. This is their journey, after all. Their relationship is something that they must continue to grow into and figure out, and while I can guide them, I certainly cannot direct them. Not in this. For me to tell them how to relate to one another, how to feel about each other, would be like having some outsider who has never been married tell me how my marriage should function. It just doesn't work. I may "know" they are close, but I can't fully understand the extent of that, the complexities it creates. But that's okay. I'm all right with that. And I hope everyone else can be too.
For now the truth is this: They are evolving. They have friends. They enjoy being together and are learning to be apart. They are growing up, yet still seem to want Dan and I very near the center of their world. And most important of all, they love each other with an intensity that defies explanation, with a bond that is innate to them, born with them, and stronger than any bond I've seen. And it will stay with them, grow with them, and be a part of them all through their lives.
And the fact that we get to watch this happening is pretty awesome indeed.