By Stephanie Hodgson
12 Dec

The Last One In

Monday, December 12, 2011

There is a game we played when we were kids back when we lived in the projects in my hometown. We all lined up in the same spot, ran around one of the apartment buildings, then raced back to the same exact spot where we had started, shouting out, “Last one in is a rotten egg!” I hated playing this game because, usually, I was the last one in.

However, sometimes my twin sister would go slowly, intentionally, so I wouldn’t be the last one in.

This has been a quality of my twin sister from as early as I can remember.

One winter morning, when we lived in Lawton, OK, in third and fourth grades, it had snowed and the roads had frozen. As my twin sister and I walked to school that morning, I stopped and started crying. I had forgotten my notebook with my homework in it at home. My twin sister, without hesitating, ran all the way back home to get my homework and then ran all the way back to school. She knew on instinct— without any of us knowing back then that I had a serious heart problem—how I’d be short of breath and couldn’t run back home and run back to school. She knew I’d pass out, if I ran, plus she knew I’d be late for school, if I walked.

My twin sister, when we were going to art school in college, carried my portfolio for me at times because it was too heavy. I don’t know how she carried hers and mine, because they were loaded down with art materials, art boards, etc.

I think often upon the little and big sacrifices my twin sister has made throughout her life, just for me, so that I am not always the last one in.

Today, it’s carried over, but the stress and worry that I see in her is too much. I feel she had a heavy load in our young childhood and young adulthood, so much so that our relationship today is suffering, and it has cost us healthy relationships apart from each other.

The other night, my twin sister and I went shopping for a few groceries, and both the cashier and person bagging the groceries commented on how much we look alike and wondered if we were twins. They thought we were fraternal twins, but we told them that we’ve never really been DNA tested to know for sure, and that because of my being born with CHD, it made a difference in my growth. The cashier, who was probably in her early 60s, to our surprise said she is an identical twin, and the other person said she has fraternal twin daughters in their 20s. My twin sister and I asked if they were physically healthy, and we asked about their relationships with their twin. The cashier said she and her twin see each other once or twice a month and they each have two kids. The other person said her twins are so close that they live together.

Somehow, I’d like to find a happy medium for me and my twin sister. And, believe me—we’ve tried so hard to work on our separation issues. Ever since we found out about my CHD, though, my twin sister has had constant grief-stricken feelings over possibly losing me, and yet, she could be hit by a bus tomorrow. So, knowing this puts things in a relative perspective about trying to live more independently and having separate lives.

Reading some of the other blogs here sometimes makes me wish things were different in my family life. But, reflecting on the positive aspects of what I have and whom I’ve been blessed with having in my life makes me more appreciative.

I look back now as a grown adult and think upon this metaphor of life: being the last one in. When we are working in harmony with life’s circumstances, the Taoist understanding changes what others perceive as a negative into something positive.

I am truly thankful for my sister who has been there with me through my struggles as well as my successes. Everyone in her lifetime should have such a best friend who would come in last on purpose so she'd save her best friend from some of the hassles of life.

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