Travel with Smiles

I am reminded today of my first time to take a trip on an airplane. I was 21 years old. I had become a skin care consultant-as I liked to call myself- for Mary Kay cosmetics. So had my twin sister. Their annual convention was in Dallas Texas, and we had decided to invest in our career and attend.

That’s the sequence of success you know. Decide to do something. Recruit your sister. Buy the right clothes. Get a cute briefcase. Get matching office supplies.

All the better, this job included travel! What a treat!

We get dropped off at the airport, and I am actually feeling pretty nervous. My husband wasn’t real crazy about me being away, but was willing. My sister told everyone that this was my first flight. We boarded the plane and got settled in our seats.

Once we were settled, my smile grew and grew. We giggled. We laughed. We were going to have a great time. And we did.

Life moved us to a distant state after that trip and our twin travel ceased. We traveled to see each other. We raised kids, we migrated in and out of Mary Kay, we went to college, we prayed while her son was in Iraq, and we cared for our parents as they each faced different illness and death. We walked with me through a divorce. We cried together and laughed together, but we didn’t travel together.

Then after 33 years, we took a twin trip together. We have taken a trip every year for 4 years. It is a treasure I cherish.

Today we are both traveling-She to another country, me across country. We will miss each other. But we have our next trip in February. What a way to warm the Ohio winter and the heart.

Travel safe my sis! See you soon!

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Sister Spirit

My sister woke me up early today. She wasn’t here. She was 25 miles away at her own house. But I knew she was awake. I could feel the sister spirit  prompting us to get ready for the day. Today Kaye takes her mother-in-law to the Trinity Nursing Home. She is nearly 96 years old and sadly lost her husband about 2 years ago. She is a remarkable woman. She isn’t on any medication and as Kaye has said, walks around like the energizer bunny.

She just doesn’t remember. She remembers some of the old times. She remembers how to smile. She has a delightful sweet spirit and an infectious laugh. She doesn’t remember to turn off the stove. She doesn’t remember how to get home. She will forget to eat if someone doesn’t assist in setting out the meal.

We had to place our mother in a Nursing Home. I prefer the name “assisted living facility”. Nursing homes can carry negative memories for many people. Assisted living sounds more pleasant. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you call it, it is a place to go where you can be loved and safe-but it is away from your home where you nested for decades.

Maybe if this was the first time Kaye had to do this, the sister spirit wouldn’t have gotten me up so early. They don’t go until around 10. But Kaye will not just be taking Marion to Trinity. She will be taking mom. Every memory of the broken, confused expression when you take them to their new room will come flooding back. The words ” I want to go home” will thunder around her heart.

The sister spirit knows, she just knows. I wish I could explain it. I wish I could package it and give it to everyone. But I don’t know exactly what it is. I just know it surrounds us and comforts us and encourages us. It tells us how the other is doing. If one of us is struggling, the other feels anxious. So, she woke me up early. Today is a day that will take extra-ordinary grace and strength. I had to be awake to comfort Kaye.

I will go to work. Kaye will go to Trinity. Twins-who else can be in two different places and yet be together at the same time?

My other half

Being a twin is hard for another person, single born, to really embrace.  You feel complete when you are with your twin, and you are somehow not whole when you are apart.  Without my twin, I couldn’t get through my storms in life because when we are together, I am stronger.  I can face it.  What is around the corner isn’t so scary….

I have identical triplet grandboys and I feel a certain connection with them.  I know how they are connected and will be connected throughout their lives.  Sure, they argue and fight – they are 3 years old now – but when they stand – they stand touching each other.  When they “sit around” they flop over one another’s limbs and torsos – without feeling weird about it.  It’s just what it is.  There’s no physical boundary between them because they touched the entire time they were developing.  They know no different reality.  I know that no matter what is in front of them – or how much they “fight” over day to day things, I know that they will help each other through their lives….I believe they came into this life together just for that purpose – to help each other out with the lives that are in front of them.

That’s how I feel about my twin….we came here to earth together to help each other live the lives that we had in front of us.  We came to accomplish a purpose that we would need each other in order to complete.

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Ski Lift

Life was different in the pre-cell phone days. One had to place a call from their home and pay for any minutes used. Twins had the advantage. They didn’t need a phone at all. They have their own means of communication.

My daughter was born with Spina Bifida and required many surgeries while an infant. My family is a very close and supportive family so even though we lived 1,000 miles away from home, I always felt as though they could be with me if needed. They were certainly with me in spirit. As one might expect, my twin and I were always tight with such things.

Most of my daughter’s surgeries were of an emergency nature. I might get up in the morning and by the afternoon we would be traveling to the neurosurgeon office and hospital for surgery. While my twin sister was away on a ski trip, one of these emergent surgeries was required.

I called my family to let them know but I could not reach my twin. She was out-of-town on a snow skiing trip. So, for the first time I went through this surgery without any contact or communication with my twin. Somehow that felt bad. We shared our joys and we shared our struggles. Here was a struggle and I could not reach her.

My daughter had her surgery and recovered very well. She was able to go home in just a couple of days. On Friday night of that week my twin called. There was no ‘chatty greeting’…just a very concerned, “How is Kristen?”. I said, did you talk with dad? “No” she said. ” I was going up the ski lift on Tuesday morning at 10:00 and I just knew that something was wrong with Kristen. Something was going on. I started to pray and send healing wishes and energy to her.” Kristen’s surgery was at 10:00 Tuesday morning.

It is an amazing thing to think so much like another person. I imagine that there are times when we might  frustrate other people in a group conversation because we frequently don’t have to finish a thought or a sentence for the other one to know exactly what we mean. We can barely get a joke out before we both bust out laughing!

Twin telepathy….and it is free.

Witness to life

A remarkable thing about being a twin, is to have the experience of someone who has always been a part of your life. For my first seven minutes, before Kaye was born, I was alone. That is all I have ever experienced of being alone. That is not to say, that there have not been times when I felt alone…that I was aware that I was on a leg Of my journey that I had to travel myself… But Kaye was never far. She was aware of my joys and my struggles and my sorrows. She was there to listen and to encourage.
You think when you marry, you will have a partner for life..that may not be true. My husband of 30 years is gone. The memories and experiences we shared have fallen silent. I do not share the evenings with him to reflect on those times. I am making new memories with my new husband. New times, new memories. Who do you share the old times with?? Your twin, who remembers. I have other very precious sisters. We share memories too. But my oldest sister lived some life before us. My younger sister has lived a different life as we were grown when she was small. I have children that I love, but they hold their own memories, and have grown and moved on with building their memories. My twin is my one life long witness. We understand each other, support each other, laugh together and cry together. She is one person that I do not have to finish a thought with, or struggle to explain how I feel…she just knows.

6th sense

Being an identical twin is as close to being another person as you can get. We share happiness and we share sorrow…we feel it before we know about it. My daughter was born with spina bifida and required 11 surgeries by the time she was two. We lived out of state away from Ohio during those years.
Most of those surgeries were emergency shunt revisions; we could wake up one morning, and then be in surgery by noon. On one of those events-pre cell phone days-Kaye was on her family vacation skiing.I couldn’t get ahold of her to let her know. When she got home she immediately called me to ask how Kristen was. She said she was going up the ski lift at 10:00 Tuesday and just knew something was up with us, with Kristen and felt she’d been taken to surgery. That is the exact time and day of Kristen’s surgery.