Category Archives: Happiness

The other siblings

Of course, a book with the title Twin appeals to me as a mother of twins. This book is especially pertinent to me. It’s authored by the twin of a disabled (I do not like that term) twin. Um. What does he have to say? The author is Alan Shawn who happens to be the son of the former editor of The New Yorker. Okay, that probably means that the book is well-written.

The book starts by Shawn revealing that his phobias (which are many) are due mostly to the fact that his sister was shipped off to a residential living facility following a summer at camp. He as also inherited a few phobias from his father. (Aren’t all very bright people a bit off?) And he tells us several times that his father had a protracted love affair while he was raising his family. (This fact is not particularly germaine to the what happens to the other sibling theme, though it does make for interesting reading.)

The most poignant part of the book is when the writer’s literary father observes that Mary (the institutionalized twin) is a happier than they are. This is something to think about. It’s the parents who mostly suffer…and the closest in age sibling (according to the book). Parents bemoan the life that they believe that the disabled child ought  to be living. This is very far from the life that the child lives in real life, of course. Hence, the term “bemoan.” The parents are unhappy because they believe that the child is missing out.

The child, however, does not think that she is missing out. She lives in the same lovely home as her siblings. She eats the same nutritious food (and then some) as her siblings. She has relationships with the same relatives. She goes to school and has friends at the school. The school isn’t the same as her twin and only was for a short time in her educational career, but she’s okay with that. In fact, she’s okay with everything.

Once, I asked Victoria if she’s missed having a normal sister relationship with Isabella. Victoria coolly responded how can she miss something that she never had. I quickly pointed out the other sister relationships in her life, such as mine with her aunt. She just looked at me. WTF. I’ve come to believe (or pretend to believe) it is what it is.

For me, the major theme of the book was not be sure to keep your other children in the loop least they end up with the problems. It was each person in the family impacts the other. Zachary, Isabella’s twin, would not who he is  today without living with Isabella. Of course, the twin thing makes her influence on him more intense. Maybe it has something to do with being bathed in the same amniotic fluid or experiencing the exact same moments together in the womb.

You really never know how your kids will end up. In the end, you simply want them to be happy and to be loved.

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Life as a Teenager

Three teens in the house. Living the dream! (FYI: for those of you who were never teenagers —  this is sarcasm.)  The angst! The communication breakdown. The fashion sense (or lack thereof)! Isabella experiences many of the same stuff as typical teens. Of course, there are differences. The most glaring to me, as her parent and as a former teen (yes, teens, I was once a teenager), is her lack of a social life.

Most Friday and Saturday nights, Vitoria and Zachary have plans. Victoria’s are, of course, made on Mondays and discussed throughout the entire week; while Zachary’s are made about 2 minutes before departing the house. Isabella has no plans — either planned or last minute. It saddens me as a former social butterfly. Here’s yet another piece of life that Isabella is missing out on.

While we were dining with my college roommate (with whom I spent many Friday & Saturday nights) and her husband , I commented that it was sad that Isabella was home and the other two were out. Kathleen replied, there are sadder things. Um. She was right. Was it really sad that my “different daughter” (that’s a good book title!) did not have a rocking social life? Isabella doesn’t care. Only I care. She never says why can’t I go out and hang out at Cadman Plaza and eat at a diner (Victoria’s activities) or watch my friends play on an X-box (what Zachary does). She doesn’t even ask why she doesn’t go to school with her twin brother. She is happy. Isn’t that what counts?