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Interview: Fraternal Twin Sisters Donna McDine and Debra Brennan

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Do you have twins in your family? Do you believe twins have a special connection? I invite you to read the interview below and would like you to come to your own conclusions as to whether a special bond exists between twins.

Donna McDine and Debra Brennan are fraternal twins. I had each sister answer the interview questions; below are the answers.

DEBRA BRENNAN

Studies have shown that twins usually think alike; do you find this to be true with both of you?

At times I completely agree. Donna and I have often purchased the same clothing for events, as well as the same birthday cards for each other and for friends and family. We also often make the same decisions in child rearing etc…

Studies have also shown that twins are hereditary; do you have a long history of twins in your family?

I am not aware of a history of twins.

Can you explain what it was like growing up as fraternal twins?

There was always the closeness of having my other half with me. At times it could be competitive but we always were there for each other during those years. We were very different as individuals and in the high school that we went to which had a graduating class of over 600 we were often not known as sisters.

One of the clearest memories I had of my sister, Donna, was when I tried to get back my stolen varsity jacket from another student who decided to start a physical altercation with me. Donna showed up immediately and tried to protect me from the assault. How she knew about it, I don’t know, but she showed up just in the nick of time! We were often compared to each other and that did not help us become independent of one another. Over time we became confident in who we were and were able to develop our own true identities.

Was it difficult to develop your own identity as an individual?

At times it was difficult, but we are both fiercely independent and we worked hard to develop our own true identities. We really did not have the same strengths and weaknesses, so it was always interesting how people had a need to compare us and try to measure us against each other.

Now that you are both adults living separate lives, can you explain a little bit about your life? Do you both have the same interests, or are you polar opposites?

I am a sixth grade math teacher. I have been teaching for the past 21 years. I am also a Vice President of my school’s Teachers Union. I am married with three children aged 15, 12, and seven. They are heavily involved in hockey, baseball, etc… and I spend a great deal of my time involved in their sports.

We seem to have the same interests in what we read, the types of friends we are the most comfortable with, how we spend time with family, etc… A lot of that may have to do with how we were raised. I would not say we are polar opposites but rather that we have become the best of friends as we grew into adults.

Do you have any advice for mothers with newborn twins?

Allow your children to explore their interests. Do not try to portray them as one in the same. Each child will have their own voice if encouraged.

DONNA McDINE

Studies have shown that twins usually think alike; do you find this to be true with both of you?

Our thoughts definitely coincide. Without even trying to, our decision-making process has always been quite similar. On many occasions we have purchased the same gifts for each other, have shown up at social gatherings with the exact same outfit or the same outfit but in a different color. The different color aspect, I lend that to being fraternal twins.

One specific event that occurred was the fall after we graduated from high school, my twin sister was in Boston with friends and I was home. During dinner one evening she was overcome with a strong urge to call home because she had an overwhelming feeling something was wrong with me. And sure enough I was in a terrible car accident just hours earlier.

Studies have also shown that twins are hereditary; do you have a long history of twins in your family?

We don’t have a long history of twins, but our mother’s grandmother had twins.

Can you explain what it was like growing up as fraternal twins?

Our parents always made sure that we were treated as individuals even though the expectations of doing well in school were the same for both of us and our older siblings. Competition between the two of us would rear its ugly head at times, such as who learned to ride a bike first, who made the school team, and of course who passed their driver’s test first. After getting through childhood, graduating high school, and attending different colleges the competition barrier fell to the wayside. We grew closer because of this.

Was it difficult to develop your own identity as an individual?

Even though we are fraternal twins the comparison teachers held over us became quite frustrating. To break from this mold we gravitated towards different groups of friends and interests. This was not difficult to establish since we lived in a large neighborhood and attended a large school.

Now that you are both adults living separate lives, can you explain a little bit about your life? Do you both have the same interest, or are you polar opposites?

I’ll be married 22 years this August and have two daughters, 16 and 13. Working from home is a blessing, but can be problematic if I don’t set boundaries, which I learned the hard way. I am now not so quick to be that “yes person” to others’ needs during working hours. If I don’t keep these boundaries I’m frustrated and exhausted before my girls get home from school, from my lack of work production, and find myself trying to “catch up” when I should be available for them.

I am fiercely loyal to my twin sister as well as she is to me. We celebrate both our successes and provide a safe haven in times of sorrow. We have had our moments of disagreement with each other, but we are always quick to get over it.

I can’t say we are polar opposites since my two nephews are close in age to my children, 15 and 12. The two oldest are both January babies and are 10 days shy of being exactly a year apart. With the two youngest being in the seventh grade, even though they are 10 months apart. The number 10 seems to be a similarity. The difference in children is my twin sister has a third child, Leah, who will be eight in October. We are both avid readers and approach parenting with the same no-nonsense approach. And to top it off, our husbands are best friends…[since] years before we married our respective spouses.

What do you do for work?

I have worked from home for the last 13 years as a virtual assistant, as a children’s author the last three years, and most recently as the Editor-in-Chief for Guardian Angel Kids Ezine and publicist for the Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club.

Do you have any advice for mothers with newborn twins?

Each baby comes into this world with their own personality, whether solo or with a twin. Embrace their individuality from the onset and watch them soar.

To learn more about Donna you can visit her sites:

DonnaMcDine.com
Write What Inspires You Blog
The Golden Pathway Blog

Readers, I hope you enjoyed reading this interview.  If you are a twin, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.

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About Nicole Weaver

Nicole weaver is an award-winning author. Her first trilingual book Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle was published in 2009. Her love for languages and other cultures resulted in publishing the award-winning book, My Sister Is My Best Friend which was published in 2011 by Guardian Angel Publishing. My Sister Is My Best Friend has won the following awards: 2012 Creative Child Awards Program consisting of moms and educators has awarded this book the 2012 PREFERRED CHOICE AWARD Kids Picture Storybooks category. 2012 Children's Literary Classics Seal of Approval 2012 Children's Literary Classics Gold Award Readers' Favorite 5 Star Review Her newest book , My Brother Is My Best Friend was also published by Guardian Angel Publishing, January 2014.