Having siblings can feel like a blessing and a curse. They can simultaneously be one’s closest companions and arch nemesis. They can be a support during challenges and be a challenge in and of themselves. For twins, however, sibling dynamics take on a whole new meaning.
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, in 2014 about 33.9 of every 1000 births in the US are twins — a record high. But what is it like to have someone that looks the same as you? Or in the case of fraternal twins, what is it like to have grown up in the same environment with someone equal in age?
Three sets of Baylor twins shared what life is like with someone always by your side.
Mobile, Ala. seniors Alexandra and Nicole Dawood are identical twins, and they described having a twin as always having a best friend around.
“Growing up with a twin was nice because we always had a friend and someone to play with,” Nicole said. “We have always been very close … She understands me more than I understand myself, sometimes.”
With such similar styles and interests, the two enjoy coordinating their outfits, working out together and studying computer science.
A commonality between many sets of twins is a strong emotional connection which can feel spiritual at times, Nicole said.
“I can sometimes feel if something bad has happened to Nicole because my heart will sink,” Alexandra said. “Then when I see her next, she’ll tell me what happened. But it is also when one of us feels very happy, the other feels it too.”
As Christians, the Dawood twins feel their relationship with each other has helped them understand their relationship with God.
“Since we are believers, I sometimes feel my relationship with God in my relationship with Alexandra,” Nicole said. “Even if I can’t see God, I know He is there and thinking about me. In the same way, I always know Nicole is out there thinking about me.”
Deep understanding and emotional connection seem to be a common link between twins. Forney juniors Rachel and Sami Caldwell are fraternal twins, and they had a similar experience growing up together.
“Growing up with a twin was really nice,” Rachel said. “It was really nice to have that confidant. I always had someone to play with. We work really well together. We both had really mad imaginations so we had a lot of fun together. Kind an iconic duo in our hometown.”
The Caldwell twins share many tastes and interests and, like the Dawoods, tend to experience similar emotions at the same time.
“We have the same humor,” Sami said. “We think the same things are funny. Growing up with someone, you’re able to tell what makes them happy or angry. It’s just almost like a symbiotic thing. When she’s happy, I’m happy. We tend to have the same emotions at the same time as well.”
A shared sense of humor is one thing that ties Tyler juniors Adam and Aaron Gibson closely together. As identical twins, the Gibson twins often use their unique relationship to prank outsiders.
“We are both like to joke and mess around … ,” Adam said. “We are not too serious most of the time and we just build of each other. Whenever someone asks me if we are twins, I usually say no and then the other jumps in and says “we don’t actually know each other.”
Growing up, Adam and Aaron said they had many of the same interests and shared the same friend groups.
“It’s like having a built-in best friend,” Aaron said.
However, each pair said the life of a twin does not always involve “twinning” in every way.
“Sometimes when people see twins they think, ‘Oh, they’re the same person,’” Aaron said. “Although we do have trouble finding differences sometimes, there are distinct times where we’re like okay, we are different people. We can have differing views. We are not a carbon copy of one another even though we are physically.”
For the Dawoods, who are identical down to the details of their clothing, their differences are more found in their personalities than their interests or physical traits.
“I tend to be more shy and quiet in comparison to Nicole, but I am extroverted like her,” Alexandra said. “However, I tend to be more logical and rational. Nicole is also, but not to the same degree as I am. I am emotional, but not to the same degree that Nicole is. Funny enough, we both have the same personality according to Myer’s Briggs.”
Though they share certain interests, the Caldwell twins feel their differences are what makes them so complementary.
“Sami is an introvert, and I am an extrovert,” Rachel said. “So we can get frustrated with each other when it comes to making plans. Sami doesn’t always express her emotions, but I like to talk things out. I am very physically affectionate, and Sami isn’t. We have a lot of differences, but most of the time our differences seem to complement each other.”
They also have different tastes in music and hobbies, Sami said. Rachel loves to paint and get her hands dirty, while Sami enjoys reading books.
Adam and Aaron support different football teams and have view the world differently, Aaron said.
“Sometimes when people see twins they think, “oh, they’re the same person,”’ Aaron said. “Although we do have trouble finding differences sometimes, there are distinct times where we’re like okay, we are different people. We can have differing views. We are not a carbon copy of one another even though we are physically.”
Similarities and differences aside, the three pairs agreed that having a twin is invaluable.
“There was never a time that she felt something that I couldn’t feel as well, or at least closely understand, because we were always together,” Sami said. “I don’t think there will ever be a relationship like that again in my life. I don’t think there will ever be another person that I fully understand all the way, every action they do and everything they say. I don’t think there is ever going to be another person who knows me as well, either.”