She actually didn't find out they were twins until about a month before giving birth prematurely. Routine ultrasounds weren't commonplace back in the late 70s, but when she had one done (the doctor was concerned about how big she was getting), there were two fetal heartbeats. Needless to say, both she and my dad nearly had a stroke.
Fast forward 8 months and my brothers were born. Gregory was first, followed by Mathew, 17 minutes later. And they joined 11 month old me. It would be an understatement to say that my parents' hands were full. Overflowing, in fact. In diapers, in shit, in formula, in babies.
I think about my mother, who was 29 years old at the time, and my heart breaks for her. No, it bleeds. How on earth did she do it? I'm not kidding when I say that when I'm having a crap day, I often find strength in thinking of her. Because, for the love of God, if she could do it with 3 babies under 1 year old, I can do it with 2 kids who are 3 years apart.
These are the boys who let me plaster my mother's make-up on their faces and outfit them in my best dresses, complete with handbags, when we were little.
These are the boys who stood next to me in the bathroom and watched, with careful precision, as I taught them how to brush their teeth. I remember being taller than them, and, as the years passed, I stopped growing and they kept going.
These are the boys I huddled together with in my bedroom when my parents were frustrated and angry with us. We would come up with tactics on how to make things good again with our poor, exhausted parents. This usually involved us writing an apology note to them and throwing it down the stairs in hopes that our parents would come across it, fall in love with us all over again, and allow us to come back downstairs.
These are the boys who were fiercely protective of me whenever we hit the clubs or unwanted attention was drawn my way. Sometimes that worked against me if there was someone I had my eye on, because before I even had a chance to make a move, there they were, the two of them, standing over me like two bodyguards.
These are the boys who showed raw emotion when our friend died far too young. I remember sitting with them, trying to process our friend's death, when Greg burst into tears. Here was my 18 year old, "tough guy" brother, with tears streaming down his face for the loss of his friend. All I could do was hold his hand from across the table. To this day, my eyes tear up at the very thought of this moment and the hurt he felt that I couldn't possibly take away.
These are the boys who introduced me to the comedic (and sometimes vulgar) CDs of Adam Sandler, Denis Leary, Andrew Dice Clay, and the Jerky Boys. Even as adults in our 30s, we still quote jokes from these CDs.
These are the boys who kept my secrets, and I, theirs. They covered my ass countless times when I would sneak out with my boyfriend. We made sure to protect each other if one of us had had too much to drink and was barfing relentlessly (oh, Mat!). We would sneak cigarettes together and then do breath-checks before heading home (although my mother couldn't be fooled). They confided in me, and I in them, when we were having relationship issues. We were each other's greatest allies and confidantes.
These are the boys with whom I made the move to the other side of the world. It was a rough start, but all that mattered was that we braved the storm together. We knew no one and we had no one, but we had each other and that's all we needed.
These are the boys who always had a place in my group of friends and vice versa. It wasn't uncommon to see us going out for coffee, going to bars together, spending ski weekends away, and vacationing together in tropical destinations with all our friends. I would have had it no other way. We were pretty much a package deal.
I am so proud of the men that they have become, the ambition and passion they both have in their personal and professional lives, the compassion and empathy they have for others, and, simply, the incredible human beings they both are.
I am so proud to be their big sister.
**Thank you to my parents who spent the time to scan and email me photos from Australia! Love you xo