Wednesday, December 7, 2011

twin day

Today is "twin day" at my daughter's elementary school. It is what you think it would be - each child is encouraged to hook up with a friend, and dress alike for the day.

But let's call it what it really is. A day for kids to feel left out.

Okay, I'm the first to admit - my take on this is probably tainted by my own experience as a little girl. I was always a friend, one of the group. But I was rarely "the" friend. I was the one who was often left out when people had to hook up with their one go-to friend. So when I hear about these types of activities, my empathy gene starts to flare up a little.

There are any number of reasons Olivia didn't have a twin dress-up friend today, not the least of which is she probably forgot to ask someone in time. But the reasons don't matter one bit when it's 8:00 p.m. the night before and it occurs to you that you don't have a twin to dress up with, and all your friends are already committed.

Cue big tears, fought back by a strong-willed little girl who is still hanging on to a shred of hope that Mom can text someone that late and find a last-minute partner. But after checking in with a couple of other moms, I realized, okay, this is going to turn into one of those character-building opportunities. Best sit down and break the news to her.

I explained that things don't always work out the way we hope they will. And that sometimes we are disappointed - and we just have to learn to live with it. With each little tear that fell, a tiny piece of my heart broke for her. You all know what I mean. We know they'll be fine, but it still hurts so much to see them sad.

What happened next warms my heart, and is also a testament to the tenacity of my daughter. A little lightbulb went off in my head...I remembered that Connor had a twin day last week at his junior high school, and he didn't do his, either (not quite as big a deal to a 7th grade boy - frankly, I was surprised they had one). So I suggested that she see if her brother wanted to be her twin today.

Of course, my tender-hearted boy said he would, and they proceeded to pick out jeans, a black ASU t-shirt, and black tennis shoes. And in classic Olivia fashion, she turned that negative into a positive, deciding that being twins with her brother would be cooler than anything. I heard her as they left the house today to walk to school together, "Connor, unzip your jacket so everyone can see our shirts..." And you know that she's at school telling everyone her big brother dressed just like her, and asking her teacher if she can get the same participation award as everyone else.

That's my girl. And god bless my sweet boy.

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