We don't fit the classic idea of 'twins' and don't need to

Anyone who's ever watched something that stars the Olsen twins, or the "Sister, Sister" show, or anything in the media twin-related for that matter, has an idea of what twin sisters should be like.

And growing up, I had those ideas, too.

When Sam and I were little, we didn't really pal around together. Sure, we were a part of the same family and shared a room, but during our elementary school years, we played separately. We had incredibly diverse interests (aside from a few sports) at a young age. As a result of these differences and our not spending a lot of "playtime" together once we got to a certain age, I used to try and coerce her into having "twin days." For example, I recall being in our first few years of elementary school and Sam and I walking around the neighborhood in matching overalls doing things together.

In my head, that's what twins were supposed to do.

However, over 20 years as a twin has given me a lot more perspective on this, especially since Sam and I rarely see each other with her being in the Army (and right now, Afghanistan) and me being in college. We're in two different time zones with two completely different lives going through totally different experiences that will take us down two very separate paths.

Needless to say, holding another "twin day" would be slightly difficult. But most importantly, I've realized it's just not necessary.

Why? Sam and I aren't "those" twins.

A couple of weeks ago during Sam's two-week leave from Afghanistan, she and our mother came down to visit me at school. We did the classic visiting-student-at-college things, like going out to eat at college-towny places, stopping by the bookstore, etc. Like anyone who was going to get to see their soldier from overseas, I was excited and happy to see her face and spend time with her. But since then, and even as a writer, I've really struggled trying to explain my relationship with my sister.

It's not fair for me as Sam's twin sister to try and fit her into the cookie-cutter twin picture. She doesn't fit in the twin frame of what my TV idea of twins is supposed to be like, and I know I don't fit in hers. But really, neither of us can have those expectations. That's the beauty and the hardship of all relationships—we can't mold people to fit into what we picture, and that's why every relationship is different and unpredictable.

Sam is not the first person I call to chat about a rough day I had in the newsroom. And I am not the first person she calls to express her excitement over musicals. We probably won't ever stay up chatting about Cosmopolitan or guys or be able to spend hour after hour at the mall together. All in all, we'll probably form closer relationships with other people in our lives.

I love my twin sister more than there are words to explain—I do. I'm beyond proud of her boldness in entering the Army and the extent to which she has pushed herself out of her comfort zone. I'll always be there for her to fall back on, or to vent about our parents to, or just to have a shoulder to cry on. We'll always be twins and have that special bond with one another—that bond that no other relationship can take the place of.

Like most siblings, I'm eager to see how our relationship will continue to evolve as we get older and follow our own paths. But we'll never be the matching-overalls twins or fit the classic twin stereotype that replicates that of the tight-knit twins portrayed on TV. And that's perfectly OK, because we aren't those twins and don't need to be.

Our relationship, like that of many twins, is our own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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    Allison Prang

    Allison is a student at the Missouri School of Journalism, specializing in watchdog journalism and political science. She is a contributor for The Mash by The Chicago Tribune, the City, a senior staff writer for The Maneater, MU's student newspaper and works part-time at Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. In her free time, she loves to run, read, nurse her caffeine addiction and obsess over Bob Woodward's latest best-sellers.

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