Worlds Divided but Not Completely Separate

There are two types of identical twins: twins who embrace the idea of being a twin and twins who are repelled by it. I am an embracer. My sister Sherry is not.

I am not sure at what age one decides which one you are but it truly defines the nature of the relationship between identical twins. Having one of each creates a conflict that manifests itself in both healthy and unhealthy ways (but more about that some other time).

We were often referred to as the girls, the Hansons, the twins, TerriandSherry, SherryandTerri. We were seen as an entity and not as individuals.

We were given the same gifts and outfits, often in different colors. One year for our birthday, we received a set of miniature household items for a single dollhouse. We each had our own dollhouses and had to split the set. Sherry got the towel. I got the toilet paper roll. Sherry got the vanity. I got the bathtub. I still remember how disappointed I felt at the age of 8 that since we were twins, people assumed we shared everything.

It might have been at that point that we divided the world.

· Sherry hated being a twin. I loved it.

· I went into business. Sherry went into science.

· Sherry ran track. I played tennis.

· I dated a lot of boys in high school. Sherry had three boyfriends.

· Sherry is a specialist (loves diving into the details). I am a generalist.

· I love France. Sherry loves Italy.

· Sherry has furry kids (dogs and cats). I have human children.

· I like vanilla and fruit. Sherry LOVES chocolate.

· Sherry told people we were fraternal twins. I told them we were identical.

· I married someone we have known since we were 10. Sherry married someone from Ireland.

· I told everyone I was a twin. Sherry told no one.

Over the years, the lines we drew in our youth have blurred and we have crossed over into the other’s realm. The simple division of the world has become more complicated and it’s no longer as divided.

· I started doing yoga this year. Sherry started playing tennis.

· Sherry opened a wine shop about 10 years ago. I ended up in biotech.

And then there are the things that the universe has decided that we should share. Last year Sherry was diagnosed with a macular hole in her right eye. She ended up having surgery to correct it, or at least keep it from progressing to a detached retina. She said the surgery was easy but the recovery was hard. She spent four days lying on her stomach with her head down. She said yoga helped her through the ordeal.

This week I was diagnosed with the same thing in my left eye. I am meeting with specialists next week to confirm the diagnosis and discuss treatment options. I am assuming that I will follow the same path as Sherry. Knowing Sherry went through it and, for the most part, recovered fully (with some minor visual impairment) is comforting. She provided me with the list of questions to ask the specialist (thanks to her analytical nature) and has the plan laid out for me because she did it first. I can spend my time and effort on tweaking it to fit my needs and not have to start from scratch.

While I am the first born (9 minutes older, thank you very much) it is quite nice to have someone else blaze the trail, especially with the bad stuff. It takes the guesswork, and some of the worry, out of the equation.

Maybe one day Sherry will see it that way, too, and begin to embrace being a twin. After all, if she needs a kidney or blood, I am her gal. A perfect match.

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