Dear Isaac and Adrian,
Tonight is the eve of second grade. You are both tucked away in your beds, asleep, ready for a fresh new school year to start tomorrow. Adrian claims to be more “ready” than Isaac - even excited. Isaac is very sad that summer is winding down. We had a great one. Tonight at dinner, with tears streaming down your face, Isaac, you claimed you don't want school to start tomorrow, because you will have to be away from home all day long, every day. I love that you think home is so awesome. I do, too. Isaac, you are also worried about the mean kids at school. You don’t want them to cheat while playing dodgeball in gym class. You don’t want them to say mean things to you at recess about your Storm Trooper hoodie. You said a prayer tonight asking for help not being distracted by other kids in your class when trying to complete your work or reading. You wear your heart on your sleeve, kiddo. I explained to you that I worried just like you before every school year for 20 years. I’m so sorry to share that burden with you. Meanwhile, Adrian, you just say you are excited. I can see the nerves all over your face. Why are you being so strong?
I feel compelled to write this letter to both of you, because this school year is going to bring about some big changes. This is the first year that you will be in separate classrooms. I have to admit that this is challenging for me. It is heartbreaking in a way. It has been at the forefront of my mind for weeks. I am sad. I am scared. I am hoping this is the right choice. What are we doing?! Why are we doing this?! This is one of those parenting moments where we could be doing something so amazing for both of you or we could really be messing the whole thing up. I wish we had a handbook. See, Isaac, where you get it . . .
Papa and I have preached your entire lives that your brother is your best friend. Lesson #1. No one on this planet is more important to you than your brother. You are the luckiest boys. Blessed. You have a constant companion your own age - a friend that always gets to hang out for play dates, that can eat every meal with you, that can build Legos with you, that can watch YouTube with you, go to school with you. . . We have preached to you the importance of standing up to outsiders that are unkind to your brother. We have preached that you always have to protect each other and look out for each other. We have preached the importance of your never-ending bond. There is nothing more special than that never-ending bond. That twin bond. It is strong in you. Your loyalty is fierce.
So . . . you see why I have reservations about you marching into the Kirksville Primary School tomorrow and walking into separate classrooms? You will be spending hours upon hours during the next nine months apart. Something that rarely happens. Apart. You have spent the majority of your 67,986 hours together. I like that. I love that. It’s special. It’s a gift. It has helped to shape you.
Months ago, when we broke the news that you were going to be in separate classrooms in second grade, you were not happy. You both shed a lot of tears and begged us to change our minds. It was hard to argue with that. That twin bond. It warmed my heart that you both felt so passionately about staying together. Adrian proclaimed, “Mom, you just don’t understand! You don’t know what it is like!” Of course, I explained that I do know what it is like to NEVER have my sister in my class when I was in school - just like all of the other millions of non-twins. Sometimes you don’t realize how lucky you are. Blessed.
What we told you then and what I am trying to tell myself now is that this will be good for you. You can spread your wings without constant comparison to your brother. Because, despite the fact that you do have a lot of similar interests, it is simple for everyone to see that you are two very different people. Adrian tends to be very self-motivated to learn anything and everything he can stuff into his brain. Isaac is way more concerned with his social life. Being a friend is priority number one. Having fun is at the top of your agenda. You both are great students, but it is becoming clear that you have different strengths and interests. We love that about you. You have a lot of similar friends and some that are your own. We love that about you.
We think this might be the right time to make you understand how important it is that you find out who you truly are and do that with perfection. What is your favorite subject? Who is your favorite new friend? How do you behave in class when your brother isn’t there? What new book did you discover today? Maybe you can’t wait to tell Isaac about it. What new song did you learn today? Maybe you can’t wait to teach it to Adrian. Maybe you will look forward to talking at recess, sharing stories about your new friends in the car on the way home from school. Who said something funny in math today? Who got in trouble today? Maybe Isaac thinks Ms. Grace is a nicer teacher than Mrs. Eagen. Maybe Adrian can argue why Mrs. Eagen is the best. Maybe you can share your secret handshake when you get to gym class. Maybe all of the other kids will look at you and secretly wish they could be a twin . . . because you do it so well. You make it look fun. It looks cool on you. You are always so excited to see each other. You don’t take your brother for granted. You seem to have so much to talk about. You always have a best friend you can trust. He will never put anyone else ahead of you. You are his person. Being separated for a few hours every day could never change that.
I love you.