Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

3.11.2011

There Never Were Such Devoted Sisters

My violin teacher once asked me, “Do you girls ever fight?” Mikaela and I looked at each other sideways and considered. “Well… no, not really. Every once in a while, I guess.” He squinted his eyes in disbelief, and a few weeks later he asked the same question again, as if he had been cogitating on it the entire time: “So you really don’t fight?”

A lot of people ask that, so Ruthie’s question that she submitted here a few weeks ago is a good one: “How have you two maintained such a great relationship, i.e. what advice you would you give to other pairs or sets of sisters?” Besides instantly thinking of the “Sisters” song from White Christmas (hence the title of this post!), several other things came to mind. Mikaela and I have always been the best of friends. No peculiar twin languages here, but we definitely have a special connection many people probably don’t. Besides that, we have two other sisters—the Little Women foursome if there ever was one—and although we have our struggles, I count my sisters as my dearest friends. Here are a few candid truths that have helped me to be able to say that. 

You’re Different—Understand and Embrace It!

No sisters are going to be exactly alike, not even identical twins! Mikaela and I do have different approaches and personalities, and we have had to learn to work together in a way that capitalizes on each of our strengths, rather than getting annoyed by what the other person is or is not. This really came to the forefront several years ago when Mikaela and I did a piano recital to support our Caring Pregnancy Center. There were churches and pianos to research, posters to be made and distributed, e-mails to be sent, a reception to be worried about, advertisements to be made, and the list went on and on.

Mikaela was feeling the stress, wanted to get everything done right away, and ended up taking over many of the jobs herself. I, on the other hand, was more relaxed about the to-do list, procrastinating, and letting Mikaela take charge of everything. This clash of approaches to doing a task led to Mikaela doing a lot herself. There were definitely moments where we were quite frustrated with each other—me because Mikaela was taking over all of the jobs or wanting me to do things on her timetable, and Mikaela because she was doing all the work and felt like she had to nag me in order for me to accomplish anything.

Finally, the lightbulb came on: we both compromised a bit in how we approached our projects, I tried to take more initiative and leadership, and Mikaela tried to delegate more and be patient with my approach! You and your sister may have no common interests or be ten years apart in age, but if you can learn to look at situations from her perspective, this will help immensely!

You’ll Have Problems—Don’t Let Them Become Arguments!

Just because I say that we rarely fight does not mean that we do not disagree—a few months ago we actually disagreed on a political point for the first time. But a minor problem (Um…you stained that shirt and didn’t even bother to wash it? Do you realize you are making me late for my appointment?) does not have to escalate into a full-blown argument.
Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
The key here is yielding your rights: Mikaela and I share absolutely everything, we trust each other implicitly, and we strive to live in humility. You might argue, however, that Mikaela and I have an unfair advantage over most people in this department, because we had to learn to survive sharing a very cramped space for the first nine months of our lives. If we could avoid fighting when her foot was in my face and my fist was in her stomach, we can make it through anything, right?


Time and Talk Are Your Secret Weapons!


I can’t tell you the number of times Mikaela and I got in trouble for talking when we should have been sleeping. While we should have chosen more appropriate times for our chats, our tongues have definitely never had trouble wagging at each other! And therein lies an important truth: you are never going to have a good relationship with your sisters if you do not invest in their lives. So plan fun girly things like nail-painting parties and sleepovers and tea parties. But also pour out your hearts when you’re doing the dishes, and ask your sister to pray for you when you’re struggling with a weakness, and have Bible studies together.

Every once in awhile, my sisters and I will be talking and someone will bring up the fact that this cannot last forever. The talking turns to “Someday”, and we all know that “someday” we will be in our own homes, taking care of our families, and not able to have the blessing of seeing each other every day. Sadness inevitably descends on our lighthearted chatting—with a good helping of mushiness to boot! But then we laugh when we imagine our future 3 hour long phone calls and our children sighing, “Mama—it’s Aunt Mikaela—again. Are you going to be on the phone all day long this time?”



Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Picture Credit
1st picture: MixedUpMedia/Mari W
2nd picture: LAC/BAC
3rd picture: LAC/BAC

12 comments:

  1. WOW- that was a great blog post! Seeing that me and my sister are identical twins (not sure if you remember commenting back to us before). I was curious to see what you would say about your relationship together and as I read, everything you wrote I found myself saying "yep, we are the exact same way!" When you talked about doing a project together and Mikaela taking it on more and you being more relaxed about it..lets just say...Veronica and I work together every day in our business- when it comes to a more complicated job or one with more details and time involved, I would be exactly like you, Lauren, and Veronica like Mikaela...But as you said we have learned and are still learning how to work things out and see it from eachothers points of view...

    Then again when you wrote about talking to eachother and talking at night in bed...well there is a rare night when my older sister doesn't have to say "Girls, do you always have to talk when you come up to bed? Your mouth can't stop going!" Well, we finally give in...and go to bed...

    I just loved this post, probably because I saw myself in it all the way!

    Thanks,
    Victoria

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  2. ohh i love this post! I miss my sister soooo much!
    When we moved here to The States and she stayed behind in Holland it was a hard pill to swallow. The good thing is now when she comes (about 2 times a year) every moment is that much more special!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Leontien

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  3. Lauren,

    Thanks so much for the insights and advice! This post resonated deeply with me. My sister [two years older than me] is my absolute best friend. I’m SO thankful for that. We too stay up way past our bedtimes chatting... though we don’t get in trouble for it anymore. ;)

    “someone will bring up the fact that this cannot last forever.” We do that all the time, too! I definitely plan to spend 3 hours on the phone with my sister when we’re each in our own separate homes someday.

    Delightful and mature post. Thanks so much.


    -Penn

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  4. DebbieLynne--I couldn't help but smile when I read your comment, because Mikaela and I feel the exact same way! Some people might think that's really weird, but I just think God knew what He was doing when He gave us sisters! God bless!
    Victoria--Of course I remember you! I always look forward to the comments from our blogosphere twin friends!(-: It's funny how people try to box twins in--they either want us to be two peas in a pod or opposites, but in fact we are our own individuals who happen to be quite similar in a lot of areas, but also have our differences. Does one of you enter a room and repeat what the other person just said all the time? Our friends and family have to be quite longsuffering with us!
    Leontien--That would be so hard! I can't even imagine, but I definitely empathize with you! Do you use Skype to keep in touch? I'm not sure if that would help or just make me miss my sister more! Thanks so much for commenting!
    Penn--It's great to hear from you, and I love knowing that there are other sister pairs out there who are the best of friends! Don't you think the people who spend their childhoods fighting with their sisters just don't know what they're missing out on?

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  5. Lauren,

    Yes, it is funny how people try to box us in as one person...I used to get so frustrated when people said "the twins did this and the twins did that..." But I must say we have had our arguments and fights, but by the Grace of God, we are now very best friends and love working together, not that we don't have our disagreements, but we have a much better relationship now.

    And yes, walking into a room and saying the exact same thing Veronica said a minute before has happened so much, I can't even count...Now I tell people that if I start telling the same story Veronica did please tell me so they don't have to hear it again!

    I am glad for the many friends who are longsuffering with me!

    Victoria

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  6. lol I love the future children illustration. "it's Aunt Mikaela again..." So cute.

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  7. A very sweet and o-so-true post, Lauren. I really enjoyed reading it!

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  8. Lauren, thank you for answering my question in such a delightful and thoughtful post. Except, you brought tears to my eyes! I miss my sister so, so much - probably more than anyone else on that side of the world (but don't tell anyone else that ;).
    Numerous times as I read, I smiled knowingly and chuckled as I was reminded of different aspects of my relationship with Leah. If you don't mind, I would like to comment more in depth in an e-mail, 'cause I am afraid it would be too long here.
    Thank you so much!

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  9. Victoria--I say the same thing to my friends, and my really good friends know to just interject, "Oh, yes--Mikaela already told me."(-:
    Samantha--Thanks!(-: And thank the Lord for telephone and e-mail and modern communication--I can't imagine living centuries ago when you could only write letters, and they would take forever to arrive at their destination!
    Sarah--Thank you, Sarah! It's so much fun to contemplate God's blessings of our sisters and how we can further that relationship!
    Ruthie--I can't even imagine being that far away from my sister, and I'm so excited that you get to see her in a few months! And, do I mind getting an e-mail from you? ...Nope! (-:

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  10. So true...I loved it! I'll have to link to here on our Friday post :)

    ~Susannah

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  11. One factor, I guess is that you are raised with fear in God, for fear in God is the beginning of wisdom, thus you act so wisely with each other. This post is an inspiration to me, eh.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Cathy@manometer

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