Sunday, July 17, 2011


Strange how coincidences unfold and multiple sometimes. For four weeks the lectionary serves up the story of twins Esau and Jacob in the book of Genesis, so I decided that on my first Sunday back from vacation I would speak about the twin in all of us, the alter aspect of our personality which is both central to who we are, yet distinct. You may recall that Jacob was a rather devious and conniving brother, yet God works through him. Even though this story dates from roughly 2600 years ago, there is an archetypal quality to it.

So, this week twins have been everywhere! There was an article on twins in the Globe and Mail newspaper, I read a review of a novel featuring twins, and the mother of twin musicians Tegan and Sara was interviewed on CBC radio. Oh yes, I was asked to announce the birthday of 13-year-old twins in our congregation today.

I know that parents of two different sets of twins read this blog, along with two individuals who have a twin. Comments about the nature of twinship? What about the notion that we are all two people in a way, living alongside each other?


IanD said...

Lemme tell y'about twins ... !

(Grandmother was one, Am one myself, have a set sleeping upstairs right now, so I think I'm qualified.)

Being one, it's no different growing up than other people who have brothers and sisters; you just happen to share the same birthday. You really only become aware of the oddity of it all as so many other people make such a big deal of it. At the time? Whatever.

Then there are all of those questions in high school and university: "Can you two tell if the other is in trouble?", "Do you share a psychic bond?", "If one of you hurts their right hand, does the other one feel it?", etc. If anything, being a twin showed me how whacked some people are.

As you get older, however, you do realize how neat it is to have a sibling who has been able to move lockstep through life with you from day one. When you meet twins later in life, as well, it becomes a point of conversation (I have twin sisters in my class next year, and the three of us hit it off instantly on the basis of our mutual experience.)

My sister and I grew up like the Hatfields and McCoys (we have the scars to prove it) and now, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, we're like "peas and carrots." With age comes perspective, I guess.

As for being a 'twin dad' ... in the winter of 2003, when I found out I was going to be a father of twins, I was even more excited than the average dad, chiefly because I had a frame of reference going in! And, moreover, I was most excited to let my own twin know that she was going to be the aunt of twins. That was a moment that I will never forget.

Still, old habits die hard. I'll never forget after filling out birth certificate forms at the hospital, turning the corner and finding my twin sister bent over the girls' hospital crib.

She was whispering, in the softest of voices:

"Don't forget what Auntie K. said: Daddy's an idiot ..."

IanD said...

Not to belabour the point, but I should add this too:

The hardest part about raising twins (aside from double diapers and teething!) is getting people to see them as two individuals and not just "the twins."

My two are SO alike, but are obviously markedly different in so many ways. With my own sister, I suspect it was easier for my parents to separate us for the world simply because of our gender. With my two, it's a little more challenging.

Still, it's been an interesting adventure. They've had built in best friends since day one, and I've never seen siblings care about each other so intuitively. The other night I had them racing each other at the school yard, and one slowed toward the end so they could finish together hand-in-hand.

Cool stuff, for sure.

lionlamb said...

That's fun to read your responses Ian! I just wish other twin insiders would offer their insights.

How fitting that you offered twin responses.