Guest Post – My Biological Other Half

Rep’ing our respective businesses, circa 2018

Some may know I have a twin sister. Now you all do. Brandy was born 1 minute prior to myself. To hear our mother tell it, the timing was much closer together, but our birth certificates read 7:58am and 7:59am, respectively, so we have no choice here. Don’t think for a minute…let the jokes begin…I don’t give her hell for me being the youngest. I know it isn’t her fault; she’s my sister, I do what I want.

(Herein referred to as) Bran has 2 beautiful babies, now 14 and 12. Let’s not get technical; those are her babies. She’s successful in the design and printing business. And she can speak so directly sometimes you’ll think she has drill sergeant tendencies.

L to R: Brandy, Garrett, & Stacey

Growing up, Bran and I played volleyball together. However, our first sport love was badminton. We’d play for hours in our front yard, until one of us got too mad at the other or we wore holes in the rackets. Sometimes this happened simultaneously. Truth be told, Bran and I are just about as opposite as can be. Blonde/brunette. Artistic/left-brained. Loud/quiet. Ok, so the last one is a lie. We’re both loud. I still find it funny we were often confused with the other until adolescence. Sure, as babies we were much more alike, but nowawadays, standing beside each other, clearly we’re related. You’d most likely guess sisters, but probably never believe twins.

Circa 2017 – same shirt, different year

Below is a short synopsis of our conversations together, written in real time, while utilizing video chat so I can type faster than she speaks – maybe we are more alike than I thought:

Me (K): How do you feel about having a twin? B: I’m actually really proud of it, I think it’s an awesome thing, I get excited when I meet other twins because it’s kind of a rare thing. It’s pretty neat.

K: What are your favorite memories of us? B: (laughing) (lots of laughing) I wish you would’ve sent me these ahead of time so I could have time to think! (cuckoo clock goes off – more laughing) (we discuss how to spell cuckoo) There’s so many! When we would go out on Friday and Saturday nights. Remember when we would take turns driving and we’d make the other person who hadn’t done their makeup be the passenger when we’d go to school? Remember the time the pasture caught on fire and you asked me how to dial 911? (K: (laughing) I was hoping you wouldn’t say that one! I felt like such an idiot!) (more laughing) The time Kenneth (our step-dad) was riding a bicycle and you ran into the glass doors. (Side note: I almost broke my face.) Let’s see. I remember the way you were bound and determined to be there when Stacey was born and then you stayed with me for like a month and half. And I kept telling you “you can go home, you can go home!” When we were younger and we jumped hay bales in that old barn. I remember when Brian (our younger brother) and I talked you into jumping off the top of the stairs and you hit the coffee table and had to go get stitches? (Me: laughing but it’s not funny). You had your arms out like you could fly. (Bran is now losing her shit laughing imagining the song “I Believe I Can Fly”) (Me: (also laughing) this isn’t that funny) (B still laughing like this is the funniest thing she’s ever said) I was not amused.

K: Do you cook well? What about baking? (lots of laughing) I can bake! And I can cook. What? What more is there to that? (Side note: this is my way of getting back at her because we both know she can’t cook well!)

K: Remember the time you poured 1 cup of molasses in the cookies instead of the recipe-directed 1 tablespoon? B: No, I don’t remember that. (K: Of course you don’t!) I really don’t remember. Me and you used to cook all the time. And we would bake all the time. They pretty much just turned us loose and we could do whatever we wanted in the kitchen. I really don’t remember that! (referencing the molasses incident) It was that old cookbook, wasn’t it? The Betty Crocker cookbook? (K: Yes, I still have a Betty Crocker cookbook.) They’re not really the same anymore but close enough.

K: Volleyball or badminton? B: Volleyball. We had really good memories playing volleyball. K: We did.

K: Is it true I was so outspoken that you didn’t have to speak for a long time because I did all the talking? (laughing) B: Yes! I tell everybody about that!

K: What’s it like being my sister? Difficult at times? B: (shaking head) I wouldn’t say difficult. Even if we have disagreements, we still talk to each other. Just because we have that bond. We get mad at each other and we disagree but we still depend on each other. Maybe depend isn’t the right word but it…we still like to talk to each other. And when stuff happens, I still think I need to call her and tell her about this. Even if we’re mad. She’ll tell me advice and listen to me. At least that’s how I feel. (K: I agree!)

K: Tell the readers about the difficulties and triumphs being a single mom. B: Oh Lord, now you’re really getting into it. It’s not easy for sure. Ummmm, I guess in my case it was a little different because (coughing) I had done it by myself mostly the whole time so it wasn’t really hard to do, it was just the adjustment for the kids and how they would adjust to it. In fact, when we came to VA to see ya’ll for the first time, that was the first time me and the kids had done something, just me and them. When we came home, it was like a really big triumph for me because I had never taken just the kids and done something with us. Before it was me and Ben (Stacey and Garrett’s father) and I relied on that. It was a huge boost because I did it by myself. I mean the kids were older, they weren’t tiny babies, but I’m one of those moms who visualizes everything that could go wrong and I was like what if airport security says ma’am these are not your kids and tries to take them (laughing). Ummmm. (pause while I check a text). I guess the hardest part was just the adjustment to it and explaining to the kids why I did what I did.

K: Advice for others? B: My biggest one would be as a mom you have to take care of yourself at the same time. You can’t put yourself off. You’ve got to have that time where you can take care of you. Even if you feel guilty, you have to say ok, you find something you like to do and you take the time to do that and you give your body time to rest. Mine would’ve been when the kids were gone on weekends with their dad and I would take time to do what I wanted – clean the house, whatever, read the book, crochet, that was my thing. You have to have that time for yourself.

K: Your weight has fluctuated through the years. What do you think is the biggest barrier in maintaining consistency? B: For me, it’s always been my will to do it. After the kids were born, I wasn’t worried about it and I didn’t care. When I did lose weight, I did it because I wanted to. When I gained the weight back, it was because I wanted to. It’s your will to do it. Now, I’m back down to where I was, again, so…that wasn’t…I lost my appetite and when I went to the doctor recently I had lost 20 lbs but that was stress. As I sit here and eat a sausage biscuit out of the microwave (laughing).

K: Activities you enjoy doing? B: (chewing) I like to crochet. I like reading books.

K: How do you think a history of depression and/or anxiety affects the ability to be healthy? Mental health? B: This really goes back to taking care of yourself. I didn’t notice what was going on with myself before I resumed taking medication. I was crying, didn’t want to talk or be around anybody. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. And, I told (B’s best friend)…she realized ok Brandy this is what it is…I wasn’t eating, sleeping, I just wanted to sit here and go to work, nothing more…she was the one who said Brandy you have to go to the doctor, you have to do something. It really goes back to taking care of yourself. You have to stop and look…(the friend said) you make a goal and I’m going to overcome this…and if you take the medication for the rest of your life that’s ok. The doctor explained depression and anxiety is like a short in your brain and your body doesn’t receive the correct message. And it’s something, like mine, I’ve been off and on medication since Stacey was born and some people don’t have that, some people are on it for their whole lives and there’s nothing wrong with that. You have to do what’s best for you to take care of 2 kids and…life. One time, a doctor, I didn’t realize what was wrong with me, when I started talking to her about how I didn’t want to leave the house with my kids because we’d be in a wreck or someone would try to kidnap my kids. I thought everybody had those thoughts. With her, I’d go back every month. I’d try to put the kids in the car and drive to the end of the driveway. I had to be on the medicine and overcome my fears. I thought this was normal (being scared) but it’s not.

K: For people who deal with these things, how does that affect their overall health? B: Exercise and going for a walk would be an awesome thing. It’s the endorphins that stimulate your brain. (still eating her biscuit) (cuckoo clock chimes 11am, lots of laughing)

K: Further discussion on people who want to lose weight, get healthier, etc – how do you think people can accomplish this? B: Dedication and will because people make time for what they want. They go before work, after work; it’s a will to want to do it (to make change).

As I’m finalizing this writing and we’re recapping what I’ve written, Bran says “I’ve always wanted my name and Betty Crocker’s name published in the same article!”

This kind of banter is our life.

_______________________

I ask you –

Any questions you want me to ask Brandy? I promise she’ll answer!

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