Morning on the west coast

Morning on the west coast

New morning, new year!

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Thunderstorm

I wonder if i would like thunderstorms if I were not a twin. That is a funny thing…I do not know what it would be like to grow up as an individual. I do not have any memory of laying in bed at night, alone, and hearing a thunderstorm. Would I have been frightened? Would I have run to my parents room? I just do not know. I didn’t have that situation.

When the thunder would roll, I had Kaye beside me. We would listen together. We often got out of bed and went to the window to see the lightening. As we got older and the family moved into a two story, Kaye and I had a room with dormers. We continued to do the same thing. Each one of our twin beds was under the dormer window. We would open the window, see the rain, hear the thunder, and marvel at the lightening. We had each other to comment to…ohh…ahh…that was a big one!…it was like watching the fire works.

If it was during the day, we would go outside and sit on the patio under the eave of the garage. Our wonder was the same.

Recently we went to West Baden Resort and Spa for our birthday trip. It is a beautiful hotel with a huge dome over the bigger than life atrium. It was one of the 8th wonders of the world at the time to have such a suspended dome. We go to relax and write. This trip a marvelous thunderstorm come through. We were just finishing a nice lunch when we heard the rain on the dome. That was a sound to hear! We had to rush out to claim the big wooden rocking chairs on their surround porch. We were certain everyone in the hotel would be running outside to sit and watch the storm. When we got to the porch, we had our choice of chairs. One family with little children were there. I was delighted to see them. Those children might also grow up to love the storms and not be frightened.

We rocked in our chairs, sipped our wine, commented on the beauty of the leaves as they roll over with the wind, and thought how like life storms can be. All is going along fine, when a storm whips up. Storms don’t wait until you are ready for them. You might sense one coming and try to prepare, but when they hit, they seem to be in control. And like life, it is easier to weather a storm with a friend. Perhaps our storm watching days were preparation for the storms we would face in our lives. Thankfully, we learned to embrace them. Just like the leaves, we may have to give to the current storm a little, but like the roots we can stay grounded.

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.

First Trip

The television personality, Monk, would say, “it is a blessing, and it is a curse” when he is asked about one of his natural talents. I find that expression true. My mother said it, ‘there is good and bad in everything’. One of the most beautiful things about being a twin is that I have always been with someone else. Other than the 6 minutes that I was born before my twin was born, I have experienced life with someone else.

Recently I was asked to remember my first trip away from home by myself. Others in the group shared their memory of their first day at school…their first field trip….their first day at college… It was hard for me to remember the first time I went somewhere alone. I entered my first day of kindergarten with my twin. I remember being very happy about that. Hand in hand we walked into that big new room. Each new school year, we went together. Eventually, the school administration put us into our own classes, but by then we had established friends and walked into class with them.

One of my early careers was a consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics. They met in Texas for their annual meetings. My twin was also a consultant. We flew together to the meeting. It was my first time to fly and I remember being very excited about the opportunity to fly. Again, I was experiencing something new, not alone, but with my twin.

I did move away from home after marriage. But I was not alone then, I was with my husband. But I remember going to the family house the night before leaving town and as we pulled the car out of the driveway, I cried and looked at my family whom I would miss dearly. I was excited about the new opportunity, but so sad to be leaving my twin and my family. But I wasn’t alone…

So, I didn’t really get to chime in with the conversation of the recollections of my first trip alone. I had to give it some thought. Over the years there has been time when I traveled by myself, or stayed at a conference by myself, but I always felt connected to someone. From the womb, I was connected to another. I went from sharing a bedroom with my twin, to sharing one with my husband.

I really wasn’t alone, until my 50th year of life. My husband and I divorced and for the first time in my life I found I was alone. I slept alone, and I was in the house alone. It was a unsettleing feeling. I went from angst to anticipation hourly.

I discovered that I was my own person. You see, as a twin, it is sometimes difficult to see yourself as an individual. You are so often linked together. You are so connected to another person, you can lose sight of  yourself.

I found peace with myself. I found I had strength to face what I needed to face. I realized that while I had companions to cheer me on as I went through my journey of life, I myself had to walk the journey. My companions – family and friends were still there cheering.  I just learned to let go of someones hand and walk by myself.

I still feel some uneasiness if I have to enter a room by myself. It is so much more fun to enter it with my twin, or someone I love. But I have learned that I can do it. I have also learned, that while it may seem like I am alone, I am never really alone. I have people who love me. People living now and those loved ones who have gone on. I am surrounded by their energy and their love for me. That creates a presense that comforts me and guides me.

Reflections

One might think that being an identical twin would mean having identical memories. Yet…we often remember things somewhat differently. That begs the question….what creates memories? The facts? Or our feelings about the facts? Maybe some of both. This will be a memoir blog. Stories…as I remember them..of growing up a twin.

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.

Language

Kaye and I had our own language until we were about 4-5. Our sister, who was just one year older, was our interpreter. I wonder how many times she might have said “oh, they say they want to go to bed” when perhaps we said we want a snack! Actually, we are very close. We are a family of 4 girls whom love each other very much.
Kaye and I still make up words…we just don’t realize they are made up. They are often combinations of words, or completely created. Of interest, we lived many miles apart from each other (California and Ohio) yet when we moved back to Ohio, we discovered we had the same vocabulary!

John Lennon

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”

Life events

Sometimes life events are acute (occur suddenly) and sometimes they are chronic and the struggle lingers….either way they change you.

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