Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney share our unique compensating personalities. While Maryssa prefers fun time and playing- Makenna is OCD regarding her homework and her room along with being very particular about what she will eat.My twin sister Cindy has been raising our “Little Pawners” since they were born and takes great pride in their appearance. Everything has to be perfect when it comes to the twins and even I can’t meet her high standards of fixing their hair or even perfectly matching their outfits when they have a sleepover at my house. From head to toe- Cindy has always put the twins needs before her own. When the twins were born 12 years ago, Cindy and I were 40 years old with grown children and we both realized that raising twins at our age would be a challenge but, we are a TwinTeam who shared raising my son and both her daughter’s by taking turns babysitting whenever one of us was working and vice versa. All three of our children are very close and growing up together helped my son (an only child) by spending so much time with his cousins. Leigh Ann and Stephaney (Cindys daughters) are older than my son and being the “baby” and only boy, he was often surrounded by girls. Apparently, boys in my family are quite rare since my niece Leigh Ann also had a baby girl last year, Madyson Blais our “Latest Little Pawner.”
Although my son and his cousins loved to compete with board games, swimming, skating and skateboarding- they weren’t nearly as competitive as Maryssa and Makenna who view anything and everything as a “competition.” From grades at school to art projects and everything in between- Maryssa and Makenna try to “trump” each other. Cindy and I constantly remind them how lucky they are to have a built in best friend and buddy for life. Do they listen? Well, not all the time but they are very close and whether they realize it or not- rely on one another quite a bit.
My twin sister loves tutus so much that she amassed quite a collection for the twins who now think they are too old for such things. However, she still gets them to wear them on special occasions and holidays by explaining that Madonna wore tutus all the time and never thought she was “too old” for them.
As the twins get older- they occasionally throw their two cents in regarding shoes and clothing but love leggings and shorts along with cool sneakers and sandals. This year the dress code at school has outlawed tank tops while allowing nose piercings? In sixth grade? We decided to go school shopping with the girls who picked out several new styles (with sleeves) that the twins could agree on while running to Michaels to get craft supplies for a birthday party they are attending on Tuesday. They wanted to hand make their gifts which is where the “competition” in my kitchen got started.
Presentation (for Makenna) wasn’t nearly as important as it was to Maryssa who was so upset about her second painting (they have two birthday parties next week one for Mia and one for Avery) that she insisted I spray paint it and she would do it all over again. However, Makenna who we all asked to spend a “little” more time on her paintings said “I think I did a good job and don’t need to do anything else.” Now, if this had been a school project- Makenna would have spent far longer because she “has” to make the best grades. But, as a gift she believed her art was perfectly fine and thought my sister and I were nagging.
School is incredibly important to Makenna but for Maryssa school is a challenge of applying herself rather than having fun. Art and drawing are fun for her so it’s not considered “work.”
Since the twins were 2 years old, they’ve been flower girls, ring bearers and ushers for Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners. It works far better when they are both flower girls than when one is a ring bearer and the other a flower girl because Makenna always wants to be the flower girl! While Maryssa also wants to be the flower girl. To overcome this (and other disagreements) I always insist on a coin toss.
Although I wish our children and grandchildren would never disagree or worse, argue with one another, raising children can be challenging when one is competitive and the other not really concerned or accustomed to “giving in” to appease the other. Cindy and I don’t recall disagreeing about anything other than clothes because we literally were all we had. We didn’t have a mother and our baby brother Jerry was always the favorite because he was a boy. Being girls and twins- we often had only each other to entertain ourselves and, later in life, to lean on. We are incredibly close because we’ve made it through life relying on one another when things got tough or when things went well because we shared everything we had with each other to ensure if one of us was doing very well and the other wasn’t- we were even. We would have never let the other struggle and not help it simply wasn’t the way we lived our lives.
Cindy and I have always had the same friends as have our Little Pawners. Maryssa and Makenna learned in third grade how cruel children can be when one of their “friends” pitted them against one another by saying “I don’t want to play with Makenna today only with you Maryssa.” This left Makenna who had always played with Maryssa at recess on the outside and the next day, the girl would “switch” and alienate Maryssa. When both girls were crying after school, Cindy and I quickly found out what the problem was and advised the twins that if their “friend” couldn’t play with both of them and get along- that perhaps they should find a new friend.
They have and thankfully, the friend that only wanted to play with one of them at a time, adjusted and realized that twins are not like other children. The bond between twins is very special and while they may get onto each other here and there, it’s a short lived argument.Hopefully, the competition and chaos when one twin can’t find her phone or her shoes and decides to take the others won’t always cause an argument and eventually the twins will realize that working together can help the other twin. That’s what twinning actually is- workng together as a TwinTeam because two is better than one when you have a mirror image and best friend.
My twin is my best buddy- someone I can tell anything to who would listen and try to find a solution to any problem and I’m her best buddy that would do the same. Having a twin is a special gift that I hope all twins and multiples cherish as a team.
Wendy M Wortham
Comments by Wendy Wortham