Yes, I do live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. And I do have a twin sister, but no, neither of us play professional baseball. In fact, as my sister likes to tell inquirers, “We are the original Minnesota Twins.” I always cringe inside when she makes that claim. It is true that we predate the arrival of the Minnesota Twin baseball team (formerly the Washington Senators) to our state by about six years, but to my mind we are not The Original Minnesota Twins. If that were true, we would be 164 years old!
Here are some fun twin facts. According to the National Institute of Health .2% of the world’s population are twins. 8% of all twins are identical which means one egg, one sperm and one placenta. Because we grew as one for about a week before we split into two, we are also mirror-image twins. She is right-handed and I am left-handed. Mirror-image twins are rare being only 25% of all identical twins. I gave up trying to do the math but 25% of 8% of .2% is a very small percentage of the world’s population that are identical mirror-image twins.
In the days before ultrasound, no one, not even the doctor suspected our mother was carrying twins because he only heard one heartbeat. The doctor delivered my sister and then got cleaned up to leave. Four minutes later, the nurse shouted, “Here comes another one,” and I was born. Surprise!
Before we were born, our parents decided that If the baby was a girl, her name would be Margaret Mary. Or was it Mary Margaret? Because there were two baby girls, they split the name and picked numbers out of a hat to decide who got which name. Growing up with your best friend at your side, and sharing life’s milestones at the same time, is a blessing. I never felt alone. Even today, a comforting sense of completeness washes over me when we are together.
Our parents could always tell us apart except on the telephone. Even Mary and I have trouble deciding who is who on some elementary school pictures. The fact that we looked so much alike, led our aunts and uncles to create their own names for us such as “Twin”,“Twinie”, or “Ink and Dink”. As a result, we grew up with a corporate identity of, “The Twins” rather than a personal identity. I didn't mind but it bothered my sister. Because our high school classmates could not tell us apart, our senior class photographs are switched in our high school yearbook. Dang! One of us should have joined the yearbook committee!
Because we seem to be “hard-wired” the same, we will have identical responses to situations. It always freaks people out when we respond at the same time, with the exact words using the same inflection in our voices. What also happens is that I have a thought and a nano second later she speaks my thought out loud. It seems our brains are on the same wavelength.
Our favorite twin thing to do is go on vacation with just the two of us. We enjoy visiting historical sights and areas of natural beauty and shopping. Fortunately, my sister has a very understanding husband who lets us have our "twin time".
Since 1985 we have been a part of the University of Minnesota’s Twin Registry. We have been called upon several times to be part of several research projects conducted by universities all across the country. That has been fun, although we rarely find out the results. Instead, we are part of that tiny footnote at the bottom of the page in those Introduction to Psychology textbooks which reads, “In a study done on identical twins, …”. Currently, my sister and I are part of a long range study on, “Twins and Aging” here at the University of Minnesota.
Being a twin is pure grace. Pardon me while I rewrite Psalm 139:13-14a.
"You created our inmost beings
And stitched us together in our mother’s womb.
For all these mysteries we thank you — "(The Inclusive Bible)