I'm a Twin

I am a Twin

Are you and your twin identical? Surprisingly, that’s not the weirdest question we’ve been asked as fraternal twins of the opposite sex.

We aren’t identical, we don’t feel it when the other one gets hurt (both common twin questions) but we do have what we call “twin moments”. We complete each other’s sentences. We simultaneously text each other the same article or comment on something we’ve just seen on social media. And while we live 15 blocks from each other and have very different running schedules, we find ourselves passing each other (perfect high-five opportunity) on a run without any prior planning.

We thought we’d write this post from each of our perspectives, but what’s true about our individual thoughts below is that they really are… THE SAME.

SARAH (younger by 21 minutes) Every birthday, a specific thought returns to me: “everyone should have a twin”. I think of all of those terrifying moments most people have to suffer through alone…first day of kindergarten or (worse)high school, first driver’s test or SATs and somehow I got lucky enough to always have a sidekick. That sidekick is my brother Steve who is 21 minutes my elder.

Having a twin brother did come with a unique set of trials. Keeping a secret was nearly impossible and maintaining my individuality from my twin was extra challenging. Steve and I went away to different colleges and it was then that I realized how hard the world can be on your own with no automatic passenger. We kept in touch often and we both liked our new friends and schools. I could tell Steve enjoyed being in a bigger city than where we grew up and that he just seemed happier than ever. It wasn’t until our second year of college that he came out to me and that my “twin powers theory” came completely off-kilter. I thought I knew everything about him; I’m his twin, how could I not have known?! I quickly realized that after Steve came out, we were both our true selves. We became even better BFFs, supporting each other no matter what.

STEVE (older by 21 minutes) I often wonder if my twin is freaked out when she meets someone new with whom I am friends. Typically, they already know everything about her and then it becomes apparent to me that I talk about her… a lot. After college, I was teased with Sarah’s 6-month stint in Pittsburgh. From the day she told me she was moving to Denver, I knew my #1 priority was getting her back to the Burgh. I’m pretty sure if she tallied the number of emails and texts I sent trying to sell Pittsburgh to her; it would have been in the thousands. Eventually, and fortunately for me, it worked.

What made those years apart go by much faster is probably my favorite part of having Sarah as my twin – our 50 states marathon goal! After running cross country and track in high school together, Sarah ran cross country in college while I started running marathons. Once she started to join me, we ventured beyond our hometown (Scranton) marathon and ran the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, OH. We were hooked. “What if we traveled to all 50 states together by running 2 marathons per year?” We have now completed 22 states and have enough memories to last a lifetime.

This past August, at the urging of our friends (and parents of twins) Jeanette and Kyle, we ventured to Twinsburg, OH to the Twins Days’ 40th Anniversary. It was easily the greatest twin experience I’ve had with Sarah. Seeing that we are part of this huge network of twins from around the world who have felt this bond with someone so strongly, that they travel to rural Ohio for a weekend every year to celebrate, made me realize just how lucky I am. Young twins, old twins, tall twins, short twins, girl twins, boy twins. Whether they looked alike or not, there was one thing that was the same among all of them: they were so proud to be seen with their twin. It’s a feeling I’ve felt for 34 years leading up to Twins Days and it’s a feeling that I’ll have for the rest of my life.

To be “born with a friend” is a gift, one that we are grateful for every day.

Life, FamilySarah HartleyComment