As children, my younger sister and I loved the look of confusion and astonishment in new friends’ faces when we announced we were born in the same year.
The fact that I was born early in January and she late in December never deterred us from enjoying our small claim to fame. We enjoyed every time another child exclaimed, “Why, that makes you almost twins!”
Of course we weren’t even almost identical twins – not with her blonde hair and easily-tanned skin standing four inches below my brunette hair and sure-to-burn, pale skin.
Only our identical blue eyes, the same parents, the same year of birth … and a mother who loved to dress her daughters in matching outfits validated our claim physical twinness.
Some years I thought nothing of our 20 days of being the same age as my younger sister.
Some years I hated it and wanted to be the older sister in every aspect.
But as an adult, I am impressed that even though we do not see each other often, even though we do not call and chat about the little things in our lives, we seem to be linked by some inexplicable bond that does not quite have any other explanation than some deep bonding such as being – if not twins – then at least sisters.
At this summer’s family reunion one of the cousins looked at the two of us, “Do you realize you both have the same hair do?”
“Yes, we do that a lot and we don’t even talk about it with each other,” I said thinking about our Hibbard girl reunion three years ago. We showed up with fairly long hair. Two years later the reunion picture displays much shorter haircuts on all four Hibbard women.
Our weddings occurred half a country and two years apart, but we both made our wedding gowns. She shopped in Arizona, I in Indiana and came home with the exact same pattern. Hers looked much more professional than mine … but I did choose the pattern first.
Mutual mindsets from long distances manifested themselves quickly after we married and had babies. We didn’t get together and share ideas, but our mother visited and, with some exasperation on her part, noted, “You both fold cloth diapers into triangles.”
At some point or another, we both began watching at least one afternoon soap opera. Then, we each decided we had better ways to spend our time. I don’t know what she did afterwards, but I finished out the story lines by scanning Soap Opera Digest until I no longer recognized the characters.
Our lives paralleled those of many other young mothers. Three boys each in the first few years of marriage were followed several years later with one more child. With a little one still at home, we each returned to college to be teachers. She made a career of it. I decided one year sufficed for me.
After the birth of her first grandchild, like me, she did not care how about the price of gas, she found some way to be with the little one at least once a month. As our husbands drive, we do needle work. I cross stitch. She knits or crochets.
The miles and years separate us, but the calendar brings us together in age again this week as she celebrates her birthday making us ‘twins once again.’
Happy birthday, Sis.