I am one minute older than my brother. And I cannot imagine life without him for more than that one minute.
Now, this has not always been our story. From the beginning, we were fierce rivals, always competing for our parents’ attention. We would always get it — but not in a positive way. It’s tough to find our own footing when you are a sibling, and especially when you are a twin. We were forced to do everything together. Karate, baseball/softball, school activities- you name it, the other one had to do it. When you make kids do things together, sometimes it will drive them apart. Then throw in terrible parenting, and you have a recipe for an awful sibling relationship.
By the time high school rolled around, we were full-blown enemies. Sure, we had mostly mutual friends, but our friends knew to keep their distance from the other. How can twins become enemies? It’s simple. We were taught that our loyalty was to our parents, not each other. If one us got in trouble, we would be in less trouble if we gave up some juicy information on the other. Terrible, right? We didn’t know that at the time. We just knew that we didn’t like each other. I remember when we graduated high school, from the same school on the same day–both not living at home but at separate friends’ houses–and our parents made us take a picture together. I was so mad at the time and could have cared less if he was there or if he graduated. (I know this is awful, but I promise it gets better.)
I look back now and can remember times that I felt so lucky to have him as my brother, but of course, I would have never dared tell him. He always had the cutest friends and was extremely sincere. I was a hot mess — loud and defiant and selfish. He cared about other people so much more than I did back then. Siblings definitely have a way of making one realize their own shortcomings, even if they don’t know it.
Fast forward to 10 years. I stopped being such a pain, got married and had kids. My brother and I found our way back together. We left everything in the past because we weren’t headed that way. Despite the trauma of our youth, not only have we turned into pretty awesome grown-ups, but we are each other’s best friends. He is the best FUNcle to my kids and is always there for me when I need to scream (or cry). He says I am the Danny Devito to his Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he is right. We live opposite lives, yet we are so perfectly suited as twins together. As adults, we have an impenetrable bond that cannot be broken.
I am blessed with both a son and a daughter. I look at them and their relationship and can’t help but compare it to mine and my brothers’. Naturally, they have grown together and are each other’s best friends through no forcing from me. I always said the best thing I ever did for each of them was give them to each other. I truly feel that way now about my brother — he is the best thing my parents ever gave me (even if it was just a minute later).