My twin sister Lucy and I are celebrating our birthday today. Just for fun, I thought I’d chat with her about what it’s been like to be twins. (And we’d love to hear from other twins and twin parents!) Here’s what we talked about…
Joanna: The first question everyone asks when they discover that I have a twin is, do you have a twin connection? Like, if she hurts her ankle can you feel it?
Lucy: People always ask that. Obviously, the ankle thing does not happen. But I do get very stressed if I’m worried something’s going to happen to you. When Toby recently had Covid, and I thought maybe you would get Covid, I was soooo preoccupied by that. I was freaking out more than made sense.
That’s so sweet.
I feel really safe that you’re in the world. If anything in my life goes sideways, I’m like, at least Joanna is there. You sent me that book — Heating and Cooling — and the author’s sister died and I was like AHHHHHH. I would lose my mind. I would be like, nothing makes sense!!!
What do you think mom and dad thought about having twins?
Mom said that having twins was way harder in the first few years and way easier after that because we’d play together. It was great having a built-in playmate.
And whenever we moved, we had each other on the first day of school and could sit together at lunch.
They also didn’t dress us alike because they wanted us to have separate identities.
Except when we were toddlers because how can you resist?
Here’s another thing: Even though we’re twins, I’m two minutes older. And it’s part of my identity that I’m the oldest child in the family.
Yes, 100%, you are my older sister. I don’t even know what to say, it’s just a fact that I’m a middle child. [Laughs] You know how the middle child is the peacemaker? I’m kind of like, well, I’m the middle child and I go with the flow!
Yes, and as the oldest, I make sure everyone knows what time to be at dinner or whatever.
And that was true even when we were seven.
Remember when we hated having the same birthday in elementary school, and one of us was going to change to February 12th?
At least we had different cakes. I always had carrot cake.
And I had pumpkin pie.
Funny that it’s the same flavor profile! Cinnamon! And, like, vegetables. [Laughs]
What was your favorite birthday?
I loved when we had a roller skating party. We skated to Madonna’s Like a Prayer and then had pizza and cheesecake.
Ew, that’s so much cheese.
We were into it.
People also ask, did you ever like the same dude? But no, definitely not. We had different tastes. Even as adults, we’ve carved out very different niches. You live in NYC, I’m in California. I’m a doctor, you’re a writer.
We always had very different interests growing up, which helped us not feel competitive. You were so sporty — like running and swimming. And I did ballet.
But we’re both extroverted.
And we have a similar sense of humor. But I’m not at all outdoorsy. You’re way braver.
I think you’re so brave! Who cares if you’re, like, scared of the dark?
But if we go for a hike by your house, I’m scared of mountain lions.
But then I’ll ask you, how do I negotiate for a job? And you’re like, YOU DO THIS. In terms of the real world, you make me feel way more empowered.
We also always joke about the Parent Trap movie because our parents are divorced. If they’re going to be at the same wedding or graduation, we’ll be like, let’s parent trap them!
Which of the girls in the original movie do you think you would be?
I’d definitely be the New England one.
Yeah, obviously, and I’m definitely Susan. We just watched it the other night and I was, like, oh, there’s Joanna and me.
Do you think we look alike?
Yes, more as we get older.
That’s because now I have long hair. Whenever I have long hair, people are like, you look like Joanna.
I’ve had the same haircut my whole life, and sometimes you dip in and out.
You’re more freckle-y.
You can pull off bangs!
I like how you’ll go shopping and text me to say, these jeans look good on us.
Haha, yes. The same styles either suit or don’t suit both of us. Flannel shirts and half zips are good; but not scoop necks. Never scoop necks!
This whole conversation might be different if we were identical.
Oh, I think it would be hugely different. Want to hear something fascinating?
I was at a conference years ago, and while waiting for the presentation to begin, I started chatting with the guy next to me. We realized we were both twins, although he thought he was an identical twin. His parents never knew 100%, but he and his brother looked almost exactly the same. But, he told me, there was a new DNA test they could take to find out for sure, and he absolutely did not want to take it.
He said he was terrified that they would find out that they weren’t identical. And he would feel like he was alone in the world.
Oh my god! I can see that.
Do you like being a twin? Be honest!
Because I like… you.
Oh my gosh, that’s so sweet! I love you so much.
Lucy and me crying when we met each other’s babies!