By: Heather Somaini
Everyone loves twins. There’s something so special about babies born together. They’re different. They’re connected. They’re unique. And even though multiple births have increased because of infertility treatments, everyone’s still amazed when they see them. Twins are special. They are never alone. They have a friend, enemy, competitor, and co-conspirator with them from before they can remember. Their entire existence is shaped around having someone with them from the very beginning. They’re connected together unlike the rest of us. Many speak to each other with words we don’t understand. Their challenges are unique and constantly changing.
And everyone loves them. Did I say everyone loves them? That’s an understatement.
People love twins and become obsessive and sort of odd when they see them. Twins are celebrities. They draw attention wherever they go. Their parents become their agents to the world as they sleep peacefully in their strollers or in their parents’ arms. They’re oblivious to the fuss going on around them.
Going out was fun at first. There was a ton of attention from everyone. Strangers stop to ask questions and “ooh” and “aah” over them. After having a stressful pregnancy and three months hibernating at the hospital, it was amazing to be out in the world. We were in love with our babies and ecstatic that the rest of the world was too.
But then it happened one day and we realized our twins turned our family into celebrities. Not the kind of celebrities where people actually know your name. No, that kind of celebrity at least comes with a financial gain. This kind of celebrity produces the same inappropriate behavior from people when they see Brad Pitt at a restaurant. They approach, regardless if you are mid-sentence, mid-mouthful, or mid-meltdown. It doesn’t matter. They want to see, touch, and ask questions about the twins. They point and stare. They comment, loudly. They ask the most insane questions. They assume you must be interested in their life story because they tell you in great detail everything about themselves.
Once one or two people stop to chat, a few more will stop and then a few more. It’s addictive and they can’t help themselves. Soon a small mob can surround you. Shockingly, we were always gracious with our newfound friends. We knew what was going to happen when we went out and honestly, I was just so damn happy that my entire family was alive and healthy; I couldn’t get upset at the ridiculousness of the things happening around us. We learned not to make eye contact when we needed some space. Most people would try to hold themselves back if we refused to look at them, even if they were just standing a few feet away and commenting loudly.
We got used to our odd life out in public and friends and relatives did too. Everyone loved the fun of it all, the excitement. But then one day a friend of ours finally clued in to how challenging it could be. We were approached by an unusually passionate woman who wanted to explain to us why her childhood had disrupted her entire adult life and how she was still recovering from having a mixed heritage. No matter what we did, she wouldn’t leave. When she finally did wander away, our friends stood there, aghast, not believing how anyone would ever think it was ok to approach and then rain all over a stranger like that. We sort of just shrugged…what can you do? It WAS insane.
My favorites though were the moms of older twins. They knew and they always waited. They were delicious in their patience and would always give the best encouragement. I never saw them coming…once at the mall, once at an airport, once during a dinner. They were my favorites.
I saw a set of twins this past weekend and I suddenly realized that I’m now one of those moms. The frazzled mother of 15-month-old boys had questions. I answered them all, hopefully said all the right things, and let her know it would get easier.
I’m now one of my favorites.