Wednesday, October 15, 2008

look a little closer

One of the things I used to worry about when I was pregnant with the girls is that I would not be able to tell them apart. I pictured Jesse, from Full House, mixing up his sons' socks and fearing that he would never again know which one was Nicky and which was Alex. I was pretty sure this would happen to me. At some point within the first 72 hours of their lives, I would lay them down, side by side, only to come back moments later and forget who was on the right and who was on the left. Once they were born, I realized that I had worried over nothing. Parents of twins (even identical) will always be able to tell their children apart. What I didn't count on, though, was that few others would be able to do the same. Sure, there are other relatives that we see on a weekly basis who can. I also have a handful of friends that can tell them apart almost instantly. Other than that, most people have to really think about it. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they're wrong. But they try. Other people will just take a wild guess. It doesn't bother me that people get stumped. They are identical. I get that. What bothers me is that some people don't even try. To some people, they are a set. Catherine and Grace. The twins. I try to do something to their appearance that sets them apart and makes it easier for others. I fix their hair differently, put in different colored clips, or dress them in different colored clothes. It hasn't helped. I think it's only made things worse. Instead of finding something unique about each one, people just look for the clips. They take one glance at the girls(if that!), look at me, and ask, "Who is in pink today?" I didn't even realized how much this bothered me until today. We walked into BSF this morning, and the girls' teacher was waiting for us in the hall. She greeted the girls with a huge smile, and told them how glad she was to see them. She said that she had waited all week just to see them again. Then she looked straight at Grace and said, "Hi, Grace!" At first I didn't think much about it. The girls' names were embroidered on their shirts. Of course she could tell which one was Grace! But then the teacher said something that really touched me. It probably won't mean much to you, but it did to me. She said that she knew it was Grace because of the part in her hair. She remembers Grace by saying to herself "Grace's heart," because Grace's hairline gives her face a heart shape. She has only been in this class for five weeks. And the teacher knows her. She doesn't know Catherine and Grace, or the twins. She knows Grace. And she knows Catherine. She made it a priority to learn about each of them as unique individuals, not just a set. Many people don't do this. Some people take a guess and then with a laugh say, "Well, I had a 50/50 chance!" Like I said, I know they look alike. I know it is hard to tell them apart. And yes, I know that people are not meaning to be rude or hurtful. But they aren't interchangeable. They aren't carbon copies. They are not the same. They deserve to have people know their names. Or at least act like they care. No, I'm not terribly offended when people can't tell Catherine from Grace. Yes, I am mildly annoyed when they don't even make the effort. Or when they make it half-heartedly. I know people's intentions are not bad. I know some people are just trying to be funny with the comments they make. I don't expect everyone to be able to tell them apart all the time. I just want people to be considerate. I want them to know my children. Not just my twins.


thenorvells said...

I love this post. I think you bring up such a great point. And not just to you, but to the girls too. You want them to have individual identities, and kids hear everything! The more they hear adults lump them together, the more they will feel like they are just a pair and not two, distinct children of God.
I am embarassed to say that, since I have spent such little time around them, I have NEVER known whos who. So, when I do see them, I will look for a heart shaped hair line and know that one is Grace :>). What a great teacher they have.

The Allens said...

That was a wonderful post! I think that is very important.