When people learn that I'm an identical twin, they typically say one of two things. Either, "I wish I had a twin," even though they don't know what it's like, or, "Your poor mother," which a sentiment with which I totally agree. I honestly have no clue how our mom stayed sane with three kids under 3, especially now that I have have five kids myself. That said, I always felt kind of bad for people I knew who don't have siblings close to their age, because having a sibling close in age is the best.
I have so many memories of growing up with my twin sister and our brother, who is just two years older. They were my first friends and built-in playmates, which made going to grandma's house and on long trips in the car so much more bearable. Because we were close in age we shared books, toys, and experiences. We can still recite lines from the movies we watched together, while eating frozen pizza on T.V. trays or fighting boredom over summer vacation. And even though we pretty much hated each other in high school and are as different as can be, having a twin sister meant we could share clothes and help each other with homework, even trading classes a time or two.
It wasn't always fun. I still remember how bad I felt when my sister got into show choir and I didn't, and the times when my mom made me go to school dances because my sister wanted to go. That so wasn't my scene. I also remember how frustrating it was to have to share a room with her and have little to no privacy as I grew from a child into a woman. It honestly sucked. Now as adults, though, I can honestly say that I'm glad I have siblings close in age, and even more so now that we are all parents. Here are just a few reasons why:
I can't remember a time without my sister and brother. They were my first friends, and we did almost everything together. My sister and I were stereotypical twins, playing special games (mostly creating elaborate soap opera-esque scenarios for our stuffed animals) and speaking in code. We shared a crib, then a bed until we were 5, and a room until we were 16. We even attended the same college and lived in the same apartment complex.
Because my sister and I had a brother 2 years older, we knew who all of the teachers were at school before we got there. And because my sister and I were in the same grade and took many of the same classes, we often were able to help each other with homework and team up on hard assignments.
While we were pretty poor growing up, having siblings close in age meant having three times the toys, books, and art supplies. Back then, it was awesome. Now that I'm a mom, though, I feel the opposite about having tons of toys. Ugh.
Having a sister the same age meant that we could often share clothes. Although, that also meant that sometimes things were borrowed without permission.
My sister and I have always been partners in crime. We looked so much alike that we were able to switch classes. Fortunately, we only got caught once. Later on we covered for each other when we were late or out with boyfriends when we were supposed to be at a school activity. Shhh, don't tell our mom.
Having siblings close in age took some of the sting out of moving to a new city and attending a new school. Later on, it made the transition to middle school and high school less scary. We also had a buddy for summer camp and other events without our parents. It made these typically hard transitions way less lonely.
Having "close in age" siblings meant always having someone to play with. We fought like cats and dogs sometimes, sure, but we were rarely bored and often managed to create an adventure together.
I have to admit that one of the best parts of having siblings was being able to have someone to blame when one of us got caught. Of course, sometimes they were to blame, like when my brother told me Santa wasn't real or when he tricked me into giving my mom the middle finger. It wasn't my fault, honest.
Family vacations can be so boring when you are a kid, especially when they involve long car rides or places with no other kids. We were able to entertain each other.
The best part about having siblings close in age is the history we share. Growing up in the same family, at similar ages and at the same time, meant a whole childhood full of shared experiences, which shaped us into the adults we are today. In a way, and although we are so different, no one gets me like my sister.
Because my sister and I have kids close in age, we have really been able to lean on each other and support each other through everything from breastfeeding struggles and toddler tantrums to day care drama and co-parenting chaos. As close as we were as children growing up in the same house, we are in some ways even closer now, as moms, even though we are separated by thousands of miles.