First Comes Love

So. Rainey has a boyfriend. Well, he’s not her boyfriend boyfriend. He’s just a boy who happens to be her friend. He’s also the son of a girlfriend of mine. She and I like to pretend that one day they’re going to grow up and get married and have beautiful babies together.

His name is Camron, and I think Rainey is smitten with him because he has a twin sister, Emma, who is just as adorable as her brother. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a twin sister, too. That has nothing to do with it. Nothing at all.

Whenever the three of them are together, Rainey always gravitates toward Camron. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because they share common interests like cars, trucks, and cookies. Or because they have similar personalities: both can scribble on an easel and mash Play-Doh for hours, and both are extremely ambitious when it comes to climbing stationary objects. Or maybe she’s drawn to him because he has a mutual disdain for potty training.

Whatever the reason, after noticing how Rainey prefers to play with Camron rather than Emma, I decided to intervene. On the way home from playgroup recently, I told Rainey that she needed to put forth a little more effort with Emma. After all, she is the gatekeeper to Camron’s heart. If Rainey wants to get anywhere near Camron in the future, I explained, then she’d better get in good with Emma now.

This is something all twin sisters know. And it’s probably why I militantly defended my twin brother, Ben, so much back when we were kids.

Like the time in fifth grade I challenged the toughest kid in our class to a fight simply for picking on him. Or a few years later, when I stopped speaking to one of my friends because she refused to go the eighth grade dance with him. Throughout high school, I tutored Ben in several subjects, and there was no pep band or cheerleader loud enough to overpower my screaming voice at his varsity basketball games.

Before I give the impression that he was the weaker of the two womb-mates, it’s more than fair to say that Ben had my back on just as many occasions.

For instance, he taught me how not to throw like a girl. I was one of the few females in gym class that could actually spiral a football. And during the awkward period of adolescence, he pinned many a guy to the wall who made the drastic mistake of commenting on my developing body. He walked me home from football games after dark, and he even walked me down the aisle at my wedding.

That day, a small part of me felt like I was losing a soul mate rather than marrying one. But when Ben kissed my cheek and placed my hand in Scott’s, I knew that the love between us was irreplaceable.

Growing up together, we learned how to be loyal, even at the risk of a bloody nose or a broken heart. We taught each other that respect is easier to learn than a sinking fastball but harder to earn than a B+ in Calculus. And we discovered that in a gymnasium full of hot air and fickle fans devotion is the ultimate key to victory.

This is the kind of love that sticks with you well beyond your childhood and lays the foundation for a solid marriage. And it’s exactly the kind of love I dream about for Rainey some day.

Maybe she’ll find that love with Camron. Maybe – with Emma’s blessing – he’ll be the one to take Rainey’s hand at the altar.

I just hope they’re potty trained by then.

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