In Others’ Words: Twins

Me and my twin sister, Brenda, at 3 1/2 years old

 

“There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: Twins.” ~Josh Billings (1818-1885), American humorist

I am a twin.

I tend to forget that, while I know this — hey, I’ve been a twin all of my life! — lots of people who know me don’t know that I have a twin sister.

Let me state up front that I am a fraternal twin. This means that my sister and I don’t look alike. At. All. I mean, we are both female … and that’s about it. Growing up, we had a difficult time convincing people that we were sisters, much less twins. So we never got to do any of those “let’s switch places and pretend to be each other for the day” kind of things you read about.

A few facts:

  • I am four minutes older than my twin sister, Brenda. (We didn’t give our poor mother much of a breather, did we?)
  • We were six weeks premature. And, like the quote says, my parents weren’t prepared for twins. They had an 18-month-old at home — and no idea my mother was pregnant with twins!
  • I weighed in at about 4 lbs and my sister was less than that. We wore baby doll clothes.
  • My sister  spent a month in the hospital. When the hospital said my dad had to pay the bill in full before he could take me home ( I went home after a week), the story goes that he told them, ” I can’t pay the bill in full. You can keep them.” And then walked away. Yes, the billing department worked something out.
  • We were dressed alike when we were younger — same outfits, different colors. I didn’t wear red until I was 30 because that was my sister’s color.

Another favorite twin story is the time we locked my mother out of the house and unloaded all the kitchen cabinets while she banged on the back door for us to let her in. We were toddlers at the time. I don’t recall my brother being involved … and I also don’t recall what happened once my mom got inside.

 

Me & my siblings: My twin sister is standing next to me wearing the purple dress

 

 

In Your Words: Did you guess which one I was in the black and white photo? Any twins reading this blog? I’d love to hear some of your stories! Or if you have a relative that’s a twin or a friend that’s a twin … please join the conversation.

Don’t forget: Go here to take part my Beach Bag Giveaway! Leave a comment sharing a Best, Worst and/or Funniest Romantic Moment Contest for a chance to win:

  • a beach bag with a beach towel,
  • a copy of Wish You Were Here (which USAToday.comcalled a “ fun novel (which) has “beach read” written all over it.”)
  • a $50 Visa gift card (for you to enjoy a romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant with your sweetheart.)

Contest ends June 16th!

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39 Comments

  1. June 13, 2012, 5:29 am   /  Reply

    My grandma is a twin so I have this ongoing hope that one of my siblings or I will have twins, too, someday. 🙂 I love that photo of you and your twin!

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 5:36 am   /  Reply

      I wanted to have twins too, Melissa.
      Maybe my one of my kiddos will …
      🙂

  2. June 13, 2012, 5:43 am   /  Reply

    I’m guessing you’re the one on the left–if not, then CJ looks so much like your sister! As soon as I saw the picture, I saw CJ in my head.

    I’m not a twin, nor do I play one on TV. However, I do understand the not looking anything like your sister part. My sister and I look like we came from separate families–she’s tiny with dark hair and tans beautifully…I’m not tiny with blonde hair as a child and very fair skin. Her daughter, however, could be my child from the neck down. Funny how family DNA works.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:27 am   /  Reply

      I am the blondie on the left, LJ. Do you think CJ looks like me?
      And, yes, it’s amazing how DNA works in the family.

  3. June 13, 2012, 6:03 am   /  Reply

    Beth, I had no idea you were a twin. How fun! My mom is a fraternal twin with my Uncle Jack (though he passed away 2 years ago). I think my Uncle Jack was just minutes older than Mom. She said that they loved growing up with someone who was in all the same classes and could serve as each others’ study partners. Fun!

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:29 am   /  Reply

      How interesting that your mom had a twin, Donna!
      But here’s what is also interesting: My sister and I were never in the same classes — well, not until high school, and then only for a couple of years and then I transferred to a different school. The on thing I didn’t like was how teachers compared us all the way through school. Ve-er frustrating. That’s one of the reasons I transferred: so I could be me and she could be herself. No comparisons.

  4. June 13, 2012, 6:32 am   /  Reply

    My father had fraternal twin aunts which was fun, but my mom’s mother and aunt were identical twins. We enjoyed that and it was twice the fun. True story is that when mom’s dad came west from MN, he found work in an Oregon cannery checking in processed fruit. He noticed one attractive young woman came up twice as often as all the rest and was so impressed, he asked to walk her home. “You may,” she said, “if we can walk with my sister and her young man, too.” When they appeared at the end of the day Grandpa was shocked to see that instead of one young woman doing twice the work, he’d really been dealing with identical twins. He was already hooked, though, and history was made.
    It was all mostly good until my grandmother suddenly passed away. Having her identical twin present then and for awhile after was a painful reminder, but eventually a comfort.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:30 am   /  Reply

      Dee: Now that story is too good not to weave into a novel at some point!
      🙂

  5. June 13, 2012, 6:54 am   /  Reply

    This post unleashes so many questions inside me. I’m trying to feel what that must have been like, growing up with a twin. And baby doll clothes…such a fragile way to begin this life. SO many questions. I might just have to shoot an email.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:32 am   /  Reply

      Go right ahead, Wendy, send a question-laden email.
      While we were both preemies, my sister was the more fragile of the two. Another family story is how our pediatrician, Dr. Sartwell (yes, I remember her name), called and told my mother, “Your daughter may be the sickest child in the NICU, but she has the strongest cry of any of the babies. She’s a fighter.”
      That trait has been true of my sister her entire life.

  6. June 13, 2012, 7:12 am   /  Reply

    No twins in the family that I know of, so there’s not much hope of us having twins. I always thought it would be fun, but I can’t imagine how hard it would be when they are younger!

    Here’s a story: my friend got married when she was 19. They were babies themselves and got pregnant (a surprise). They didn’t make much money and I think lived in an apartment. So when they found out they were having twins, it was like double the stress! But it was such a blessing in disguise, because those two children are a delight (a boy and a girl). And my friend has had a lot of trouble having more children. So if she hadn’t had twins, she likely would only have one very lonely child. I love that they are such good company for each other and get along so well (they’re 6 now).

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:33 am   /  Reply

      I’ve learned you embrace what God gives you as the blessing it is.
      Thanks for sharing that story, Lindsay.

  7. Carol Moncado
    June 13, 2012, 7:36 am   /  Reply

    Not a twin. My best friend from 1st-3rd grade was a twin. Her twin and I didn’t get along – unless she wasn’t there. Then we were besties. 😀

    My friend’s name is Brenda too btw. [Her twin is Becky.]

    But one of my series’ is about two sets of twins. Boy twins and girl twins who end up together.

    Well, Pepper is my long lost twin. But that’s an entirely different thing ;).

    Love you my, twin-friend!

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:34 am   /  Reply

      Love you back, twin-friend.
      And I’m laughing that you have a series about twins who get together — double-twins, no less.
      😉

  8. Jeanne
    June 13, 2012, 8:07 am   /  Reply

    Love your story, my friend. I know which one you are, and I agree with Lisa–CJ looks so much like you in this pic. Those eyes!

    I knew a couple of sets of twins growing up, but we’re not in touch now. A high school friend got married and he and his wife had two set of twins within eighteen months of each other. Talk about B-U-S-Y!

    When I was a girl, I wanted to be a twin, but alas, God saw fit to make me an Irish twin, with my sister being 360 days younger than me. Not quite the same thing. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:35 am   /  Reply

      “Irish twin” — hadn’t heard that phrase before! And I cannot imagine two sets of twins in 18 months. “Busy” doesn’t begin to cover it!

  9. June 13, 2012, 8:17 am   /  Reply

    Ahhh…twins. You can either assume the ahhh is a gentle sigh or a frantic scream – take your pick. 🙂 Yes, I am a mother of twins (as you know) and they are two years old. Fraternal boys who look nothing alike, either. They were three weeks early and weighed in at 6 lbs. 13 oz. and 6 lbs. 14.5 oz. I know! What would have happened had I gone full term?? My boys have already locked me out when I was talking on the phone with a nurse (I had to step outside because they were being too loud) – but I couldn’t get back in and I rang the doorbell hoping my 5 year old would come to the rescue. The dog was barking, the twins were crying and the nurse on the phone was a little baffled. Finally, one of them unlocked the door and I went to my 5 year old to ask her why she haden’t come when she heard the doorbell, she shrugged her shoulders and said: “I didn’t know who it was!” 🙂

    I wouldn’t change having twins for anything in the world – it’s been one of my greatest blessings, so if you hear me complain, just ignore it and chalk it up to a bad night’s sleep – or an unfortunate incident with the front door.

  10. June 13, 2012, 8:41 am   /  Reply

    Adorable picture!!

    Two of my great childhood friends/neighbor boys were twins. Rory and Ryan. Rory was my first boyfriend. I had my first kiss in a movie theater. Not awkward at all. I grew up with those boys and I ALWAYS wanted to be a twin.

    My cousin had twins a year ago and can you believe that one weighed 7 lbs 11 oz and the other weighed 9 lbs!?! Biggest twin babies EVER!

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:36 am   /  Reply

      So … your first kiss was with a twin.
      Rory and Ryan.
      Cute.
      There were identical twins in my elementary school: Timmy and Tommy. I liked Timmy … and one day I passed an “I like you” note to him … and the teacher found it and read it out loud …

      ugh.

      It happened during math class. I am convinced this is the root of my math anxiety.
      😉

  11. Loree Huebner
    June 13, 2012, 9:13 am   /  Reply

    You guys were adorable!

    I am not a twin, but the main character in my recent WIP is a twin. I don’t even know how that came about.

    I remember in grade school, we had like 5 sets of twins in my grade. I think all were identical except one pair. There must have been something in the local water that year…haha.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:37 am   /  Reply

      Whoa.
      That’s a lot of twins!
      🙂

    • June 13, 2012, 4:13 pm   /  Reply

      I’ve been blessed to find three other moms who had twin boys within 4 months of me – all four sets will start school the same year! It’s an amazing blessing to have these ladies in my life. 🙂 I’m a little nervous for the school that will have four sets of twin boys in one grade!

  12. Kathaleen Klotz
    June 13, 2012, 9:32 am   /  Reply

    I, being the mother of the beautiful twins, have some different memories of the birth of Beth and Brenda. Beth weighed 5lb. 1oz at birth and Brenda weighed 4lb. 12oz. at birth. Of course they both lost quite a bit after that. Beth came home at two weeks and Brenda came home when she was physically strong enough at about one month. At first, we thought they were identical but they soon began to have their different features; both beautiful and both a gift. I remember the kitchen cabinets event and I remember opening the bottom freezer of the fridge and finding several boxes of cereal. I could have put them there in the business of raising five kids but I have always wondered. Another point: Bobby, the first born, was 17 months old when you were born. I don’t know why that matters but in the scheme of birthing and mothering every day/month counted. I love you Beth and Brenda. You both are magnificent. Love, Mom

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:38 am   /  Reply

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Mom — and clarifying both the weeks, the pounds and the months.
      🙂

  13. Kathaleen Klotz
    June 13, 2012, 9:51 am   /  Reply

    Just another comment! Take a look at the picture Beth posted of the five beautiful children, all grown up now. Beth, your Dr. Sartwell story is absolutely correct. Her comments about Brenda, who could not eat or drink for a while, were 100% correct.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 9:53 am   /  Reply

      Spoken like a mom.
      Now my twin needs to chime in.
      🙂

  14. June 13, 2012, 11:33 am   /  Reply

    Beth,

    I’m not officially a twin, but I grew up in a “twin-like” setting. My parents weren’t supposed to be able to have children…have you heard this story? They adopted my older brother (no blood relation), then a year and a half later they adopted me. 8 months later, my sister was born. I was a tiny little thing, she was not, so everyone who didn’t know our story assumed we were twins. We shared the same baby clothes – but I wore pink and purple, she wore blue and red. I always wanted blue and red and she always wanted pink and purple – why is that? We slept in the same crib, then in the same bed, then in bunkbeds until 7th grade. I’ll never forget the weirdness of sleeping across the room from Sharon when Dad cut the beds in two (at our request because we were now grown up and needed our own personal space – her side, my side of the room.). We shared a room until the day I got married – and one of my sweetest memories of that last week in OUR room was sharing my sister’s bed – she’d moved out the twin beds and bought herself a double. We had some very precious conversations about life and milestones and hopes and dreams. We still have some of the best talks sitting on one or the other’s bed with a cup of coffee and a plethora of pillows.

    So I suppose we’re “Irish twins” aren’t we? I’ll take it!

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 12:03 pm   /  Reply

      What a precious story, Becky. Absolutely one of the most beautiful stories of family I’ve ever heard. Thank you for sharing it.

  15. June 13, 2012, 12:13 pm   /  Reply

    Very convenient, Beth, not remembering what happened when your mom finally got into the house. ;~)
    Loved this post…I do remember you saying something about being a twin at Deep Thinkers. My sister and I were almost 5 years apart, so I mostly thought she was a brat and she thought I was mean. lol But we have a great relationship now.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 12:18 pm   /  Reply

      It’s nice how relationships change, Pat.

      And, yeah, well… we forget the things we need to, Pat.
      😉

  16. June 13, 2012, 1:35 pm   /  Reply

    I adopted twins from Bolivia, and they are the delight and joy of my heart. They weighed only 2 pounds, 2 ounces and were the tiniest babies I had ever seen. I had to feed them an ounce of milk every two to three hours so I felt like a zombie until they got a little bigger. They are now 28 years old and continue to delight me. Folks used to say how fortunate they were to have Americans adopt them, but I say my husband and I were the ones who were blessed.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 13, 2012, 2:02 pm   /  Reply

      Love this story, Teri.
      So, so precious to hear the give and take of this love — both sides of the story.

  17. Amy Leigh Simpson
    June 13, 2012, 2:20 pm   /  Reply

    Wow, look at those cute little girls. My best friend is a twin, your story was a lot like hers. People often mistake my boys for twins since they are so close in age and very nearly identical at a glance aside from their slighty varying sizes. As a mother… thinking about carrying and caring for twins makes my head spin 🙂

  18. Brenda McGregor
    June 14, 2012, 9:51 am   /  Reply

    Hello to my beautiful, brilliant and older twin sister! I have been in Oklahoma and travelled for work and took the long way home last evening through Denver and only wish I could have made a pitstop in Colorado Springs to see my twin and share in all the excitiement of Amy and David’s upcoming wedding. I am sorry I am just catching up with your blog.

    My experience being a twin has been bittersweet. The physical distance between us for the majority of our lives has been a challenge and for me, not ideal. We were raised to be independent of each other and while that is a blessing in some ways, I wish we could have shared in each others lives more intimately.

    I do know, that through every event in my life where I was down, I would receive a loving message from my twin; be it a card, a special “bunny” that she found in a shop chosen especially for me or even plane tickets for me and my young son Bill to visit Beth and her family in Florida. Beth has alwasy been sensitive to me and the ups and downs of my life. I am grateful to have a twin and am always proud to say , “Yes, I am Beth’s twin.”

    Much love to you , Beth. I can’t wait to be with you and your family in July to celebrate another wedding!

    • Beth Vogt
      June 14, 2012, 10:23 am   /  Reply

      How fun to have my twin sister join the conversation.
      She was my protector growing up — the brave one of the duo, that’s for certain.
      And I always admired –and still do — her courage in adversity. She’s never backed down from any challenge. Besides being the wonderful mom to her son, Bill, became the mom to players on the DeMatha football team for many, many years, which was coached by her husband, Bill MacGregor.

  19. June 14, 2012, 10:15 am   /  Reply

    That photo of you and your sister is too cute! I love the story of you not wearing red until you were 30. My mom did that with me and one of my sisters when we were younger for all of our special occasion outfits. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      June 14, 2012, 10:24 am   /  Reply

      🙂
      Now red is one of my favorite colors.

  20. June 15, 2012, 7:31 am   /  Reply

    My brother has fraternal twin girls. I chuckled when you said you didn’t wear red for so many years because that was your sister’s color. One of my brother’s twins always gets the purple and the other always seems to get the blue.

    They, too, are EXTREMELY different. One has a fantastic voice while the other loves the piano. One likes to boogie down and the other loves jazz and swing. It hasn’t been pushed on them to be different…they just are. They are nine years old and this will be the first summer they stay with me and my husband, Jack, for a couple weeks by themselves. I’m looking forward to it. (Luckily, our neighborhood has a pool and we live near the beach, which should keep them occupied and happy.)

    • Beth Vogt
      June 15, 2012, 11:19 am   /  Reply

      Oh, I am certain those twins will keep you occupied, Marney!
      Have fun — mix up the colors!

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