Once or twice when Parker and McKenna were babies I came across people who were one of boy/girl twins. I went way past my social comfort zone and delivered my How Close Are You To Your Fraternal Twin? survey. After losing Hadley, I needed to know that McKenna would still have someone. You see, I had dreamy plans for how close my two girls would be. Giving my daughter a sister her own age felt like winning the lottery. And then our prize was taken away.
I wanted these boy/girl sets to tell me they shared a room for years on end, went to the same college and could complete each other’s sentences. I was new at having more than one child, my diaper bag packed with grandiose dreams of surviving triplets who would never hair-pull over who had a centimeter more juice. I wanted Parker and McKenna to fill for each other what we had all lost.
McKenna was in occupational or physical therapy or both for years. As she became a fully communicating little toddler it was clear how severe her anxiety already was. Obeying the no sibling rule, I had someone watch the boys while I took her to therapy and I sat with her, week after week, as she did absolutely nothing with her therapist. They brought out ball pits and bubbles and pink tricycles, hoping to win over her fear of people and places and get her to do something. I wondered if the copays were worth weekly sessions of McKenna burying her head in my lap.
One week I had no sitter for the boys. I wrapped Sawyer in his favorite sling across my chest and pulled Parker along, hoping he wouldn’t dump the contents of the sensory room in one swoop. We began our normal routine, the physical therapist asking McKenna to do something, me encouraging her.
She did nothing.
Parker wiggled from my lap and did just what the therapist asked. McKenna followed, doing something for the first time in all of our visits. They proceeded like this for the entire session. The therapist and I traded big eyes and amazed glances over and over. She couldn’t believe McKenna was actually participating, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this before that day. The hospital waved the no sibling policy for the rest of her sessions.
They have always been inseparable, even when they’re pushing each other off the same chair. He is outgoing and full of energy and the sweetest, sweetest boy. She is nervous and serious and the first to squeeze her brother and tell him she loves him every day. They know each other in ways they can’t really describe and remember their sister in ways I had always hoped.
Today they are seven.
When McKenna came downstairs this morning Parker was jumping on the couch singing “Happy Birthday To Us.”
“Oh Parker,” she said barely awake, “you are always here waiting for me.”
Happy birthday Parker, McKenna and Hadley. Thank you for the gift of each other.
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