During my years in California, while in a private practice of cardiovascular surgery, I was elected the president of the local chapter of the American Heart Association. During one of the meetings, a late middle-aged woman came to me and said, “I know you!” I said, “You do!” thinking of her telling me how good a doctor I am, how my patients love me and how many of them I’ve saved by heroic, complicated operative procedures. I showed a humble face and waited for the details. “I know you,” she continued, “you are the father of the twins!”
Life has its ways to teach you humility.
Having twins certainly was a life-changing experience in our interesting and busy already schedules of a family with two active boys. I took two weeks off my work to help my wife after delivery. Then went back to work in the operating room. To rest. The best gift we received was two weeks worth of dinners delivered to our home by the best of our friends. I don’t remember much from that time – days and nights were blurred.
But now, when the girls are turning 28, Bonnie and I see this event as a blessing and as a gift. It came however with the price, which of course we would pay any time. Someone would think it would be twice as much work. Actually, it was four times more. Cami, our babysitter, was also instrumental in raising our kids.
The Twins grew up with the boys. We knew they were physically gifted. When we asked a babysitter to play ball with them, a neighborhood girl asked for a tee to put the ball on. We said to her, “Just throw it to them, they will hit it”. And hit they did. They were 4 years old.
In school, girls were very competitive. When one got an “A” and another one an “A-“, we had a problem on our hands. It was time for a damage control.
Bonnie was happy expecting two girls, having already two boys at home. There were those dreams of dresses, dolls, pretty hats and ribbons. It was nothing like it. Instead, we two lovely creatures dressed up in jeans, t shirts and baseball hats. Put on backwards. No ballet lessons. Just ice hockey practices 90 miles away. Three times a week. But that’s for another post.
The subject of twins is very interesting from a social and scientific standpoint. But there is a big difference between stories of twins and studies of twins. We all heard of this special bond, language and a mysterious communication between them. These are the anecdotes. Science is more complicated.
Twins seem to be an ideal material for investigating of heredity (genome, hardware) and education (environment, software) in a process of personal development. With genome being identical (or almost identical) changes in final results can be easier attributed to differences in environment (education, software). It’s not really that easy because there are so many other modifying factors, and seemingly simple twin studies are being heavily criticized by experts. Ideal material for research are identical twins adopted and raised in different households. These are very much sought for by researchers in events.
But we know a few things.
First, twins do not run in families. It’s a popular opinion, but not proven.
They do not have identical fingerprints. That is an environmental trait.
Sometimes they exhibit delayed language development. This fact is usually attributed to early development of their own language in communication between each other, which in turn delays exposure to communication with the outside world.
There are “mirror image” twins (left-handed – right-handed, left brain – right brain dominance). It happens after a particular split of an already fertilized egg.
These are all nice things to know.
But for me, only one thing is important. My twins were born on Father’s Day.
And this year, as twenty-eight years ago, their birthday falls on that day.
So happy Birthday to them and a happy Father’s Day for me. Just like before.