It’s so hard to believe that our tiny Texas Twins turned 11 today. Seems as if just a few months ago these little angels were crawling out of their car seats and only able to sleep if they were touching each other in bed.
Maryssa Ann Mahaney and Makenna Marie Mahaney bear my sisters and my own middle names and are second generation twins. Cindy and I were the last living twins in my family when they were born and these tiny babies would spent months in the hospital prior to being released from the ICU at Harris Hospital. Fragile and delicate they were “spirited” right from their first breath.
Stephaney and Leigh Ann, Cindy’s daughters loved running around town with the twins and took millions of photos but my twin sister Cindy actually documented everyday of their lives on film. Photos are very important to my twin and I as we have very few from our own childhood. My sister has always taken a great deal of pride in keeping the twins “photo ready” at all times even when she and I look like train wrecks! The Little Pawners are my entire families priority.
From their hair to their shoes, Cindy isn’t happy unless everything matches perfectly and every hair is in place. She’s nearly OCD in her quest for the perfect outfit. The twins wardrobes take up nearly all of the closet space at the DanielDivaDiggs. Today while dropping off gifts to our Little Pawners and watching them carefully look through their bags and excitedly thank me for their gifts- it occurred to me that my family has suffered a number of setbacks with health issues and trauma but we’ve accomplished the extraordinary task of raising well mannered and well adjusted grandchildren. This was no small feat as my entire family banded together as a village when money was tight, medication was expensive or the twins needed something, we did this as a family just as I operate all of my businesses with my family and a few very close friends whom I consider family.
When two sets of twins travel together to weddings, events and fundraisers- everyone knows who you are. We are often called The Texas Twins and pose for photos quite frequently from Fort Worth, Texas. The Little Pawners are exceptionally good at these “souvenir photos for strangers” and often give them a hug too because like my twin and I, they love people and new adventures.
Travelling numerous times to Beverly Hills and Los Angeles last year, these Little Pawners often amused the “California Crowd” with gracious manners and gregarious personalities. They are mirror personalities of my twin and I and quite popular at Austin Elementary with excellent grades and achievement awards.
Maryssa and Makenna are both heavily involved with Texas Twins Events and the Pawning Planners as ring bearers, flower girls and ushers while working on their photography skills in order to start assisting Robert and Stephanie Hafele next year.
They love meeting the families we help by giving the gift of a Dream Event and enjoy every aspect of the wedding and events industry. When working for tips, flips and trades in a wedding party they often “bring the fun of twinning.”
A few weeks ago, Makenna Marie wanted to “model” my vestments and told me “one day maybe I will be a Minister too Mimi so you can take a day off now and then!” These Little Texas Twins are funny and have brought so much joy to our families the past 11 years that words cannot express.
From carnivals to fun parks and everything in between, the childhood my sister and I had missed had been relived through our many hilarious “walks of shame” from a slide too high to a ride too fast because at our age we often “sit out a few now and again!” There have been a few times that I’ve not taken the old “walk of shame” that I should have and wound up sick from corny dogs and spinning bucking Broncos my friend!
The girls decided they want to go to Six Flags Saturday and amusingly, Makenna Marie is a daredevil who will ride anything with Maryssa Ann passing on anything remotely fast or high at an Arlington fun park my sister and I have been regular season pass holders at for nearly 35 years. Oh sure, there were days years ago, when I was “game” for a scary roller coaster but these days, the Judge Roy Scream is about my limit for speed and hills. The roller coasters stopped being “high flying and exciting” for me in my forties.
Maryssa Ann has walked a few times with me as we departed from the end of the line past everyone waiting to enter a ride upon realizing it looked far scarier up close than it had while on the ground. I told her it’s okay and not everyone likes every ride, if you don’t want to ride it we will just walk back down- this worked out well because I really didn’t want to ride the Shock Wave either but, kept that to myself ya all. For some reason, climbing up all those stairs made this ride far less attractive after Cindy and I became “stuck” with my son and her husband Steve one year for over 30 minutes while my ability to control my panic and appear calm disentigrated waiting on the ride to begin rolling again. I was trying to keep Cindy calm by not panicking and, it wasn’t working for me!
Cindy advised me while picking up lunch to take to the twins today that they have gently told her that “now we aren’t babies anymore so you and Mimi can just drop off our lunch instead of joining us in the cafeteria.”
This saddened me a great deal for I remembered when my son was attending junior high at a private school in Fort Worth at 15 years old had told me the same thing. I cried all the way home over it and never told him how heartbreaking it was to hear that our weekly “lunch date” had been cancelled because he was too old for me to join him.
It took time for me to occupy the day I had always “set aside” to sit with him every week and catch up on his school work and activities. I had a hole left, a void of sharing that time with my son amongst his friends (several called me Miss Mom) and seeing him and for some reason, learning the twins were “too old” for a lunch date aged me again.
You reflect on all of the things you’ve shared with your children, your grandchildren, their friends and your family and remember how quickly they grow up, you remember how short their childhood is and you’re thankful for the many times they were happy to see you waiting in the hall to eat lunch with them holding your carry out meal and you hope they have good company while dining in the school cafeteria without you.
The scraped knees, the playground falls and the friends who all knew you still wave when they see you picking up or dropping off the twins and you think how far they’ve come, how mature and responsible they are since first grade with the lost jackets, backpacks, scarves and mittens. They never forget anything anymore these days and Maryssa reminds Makenna not to set her phone down by reminding her to put it in her purse so it won’t get lost.
They are independent, responsible, compassionate and articulate because you did everything humanly possible to give them the gift of a close knit family while installing the virtues of kindness and respect at the same time. Parenting isn’t taught in schools, being an active part of a child’s life is an honor it is something that will mold them into the adult who volunteers and cares about their community and the less fortunate.
Parenting is a skill of love, devotion and sacrifice. Letting your child soar with their own wings can be intimidating- did they eat their lunch? Wash their hands? Drink their milk? But sometimes, you have to realize that they are independent enough to move on beyond having lunch with their family at school.
It’s hard and it’s painful but it’s life I only wish we would have had a few more years to share the experience with them and maybe, just maybe, they might reconsider? Perhaps, and if they don’t, we will accept it and move on because our tiny Texas Twins are growing up and becoming independent young women right before our eyes. I feel certain they had discussed their “announcement” with each other prior to telling Cindy and I because, like us, they are inseparable.
They stopped swimming with floaties years ago and started jumping into the pool doing tricks instead. I remember the first time they got into my pool at our Lakeside home how small they were in that enormous pool sitting on the swim deck looking out afraid to venture into the three foot deep area and deciding to hold onto the ledge.
Perhaps this year Maryssa will join me on an adventuresome ride at Six Flags? She rarely rides many rides but enjoys the amusement park environment very much just the same.
My cousin Donna Sue recently told me that our childhood amusement park, Knotts Berry Farm was under new ownership and was planning a holiday in California. Years ago, revisiting Knott’s Berry Farm, it was sad that they had removed several of my theme park favorites although I still love the jellies and jams.
I had loved the donkey ride and don’t think they should have taken it out since no one else had such an exotic trail ride but maybe I’m the only one that was thrilled as a child to ride a donkey at an amusement park? Makenna would have loved it!
Wendy M Wortham
Comments by Wendy Wortham