Lately, I have been reading the story titled You’re All My Favorites by Sam McBratney (author of Guess How Much I Love You) to my twins. The tender love and the soothing watercolors wrap us round in comfort. This gentle tale portrays the story of three small bears who each begin to question their place in their parents’ hearts. Each bear is suddenly in tune with their differing attributes. One has spots. One is little. One is a boy. How can they each be a favorite? One by one they offer up their uniqueness and one by one they are answered and again placed firmly within the safe harbor of unceasing familial love. By the very end of the tale, we feel the soft sigh of relief. All is well.
My twin girls are halfway through their kindergarten year. They are five and a half. Self-awareness and comparison are the themes of many days. We homeschool, so I have much opportunity to speak encouraging words and build up their small selves. I have the chance to see their hearts’ insecurities and try to pour love into those open places.
My twins are growing up within the context of our large family. They are number seven and eight in the lineup, with one more little one, their sister, coming in at number nine. In our family, we tend to break down into groups of three. The Bigs. The Middles. The Littles. These three sweet girls, the twins, and their younger (by twenty months) sister, form the little clan known as The Littles. They follow the same routine, wear the same clothes, and share many of their toys and books.
Recently, one of my little girls retold a story to me about “us three twins.” She was referring to her twin, herself, and their little sister. They had just accomplished a feat that she was sure would make Daddy proud. All by themselves, they managed to clean their room. And those were her words, “Daddy’s going to be so proud of us! Us three twins cleaned our room- all by ourselves!” Three does not equal twins. But I love the beautiful way her mind qualified this little clan of ours. In some ways, they are the “three twins.” Because I have the privilege of mothering both singletons and twins, I am also aware of all the ways they are not “three twins” or triplets. It did my heart good, however, to hear one of my twins bring her little sister into the special twin relationship. Rather than pushing her out, she put an arm around her and called her in.
These little girls vie for attention and sometimes struggle as they see an exceptional strength their sibling has. The cold eye of comparison threatens otherwise tranquil waters. I have been handling this by making sure that they hear me calling attention to their uniqueness. I want them to feel my joy in who they are. I want them to be secure in my love. And I read to them. I read You’re All My Favorites.
“Biggly or littley,
we love you just the same.
So there. Three favorites.
You’re all my favorites!”- Sam McBratney
And they are. Every single one.
This post is part of a series of essays by the contributors to our second anthology, Multiples Illuminated: Life with Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Twin Years. Subscribe to get new posts on your favorite reader as and when they’re published.
Rebecca Borger lives in Maryland with her husband and nine children, including five-year-old fraternal twin girls. She earned her BA in English with Writing and Education from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. After living hidden in the rural mountains of Western North Carolina for six years, her family relocated to Maryland in 2013. Find Rebecca on her blog, Facebook, and Instagram.