Loving Luka

F/NF words

What do I have to say here, that hasn’t been said before? It’s an ongoing battle, repetition begets boredom, boredom, depression. I’m weary from all our conversations that end up the same way, one of us hanging up on one another. I can’t do that anymore, I won’t.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop, near your apartment, trying to drink a cup of black coffee in a white mug, my hands shake, while the rain continues to flood the streets. I just think about trying to jump over the massive puddles but I don’t have any more energy in me to even try. When I was younger that was my favorite thing to do. Not now.

I feel paralyzed from pain, the pain you inflicted on me. Once, I used to be carefree, like a child, happy and silly and stomp in the puddles.  I am so ANGRY at you. In the past I cared too much and where did that get me? No where. So, instead of being disappointed like I have been in the past, I am turning into myself, safe guarding my heart and not showing it anymore, at least not to you.

Found this digging through the archives. Blurr...

I don’t WANT to care anymore, I’m past that point. I’m not lying, I have cared too much in the past, believe me, you know, I wasn’t always like this. People who have known me for years will reassure you that yes, I have changed but I have chosen that change. Why? Self protection. I’m tired of being bullied and pulled apart like a hungry street dog lunging at a piece of a steak.

You know who you are. You blame me but you never look inside yourself. You need ME? That’s not good enough. You don’t treat me well enough to be on your side. You accuse me of everything you do to me, did that ever occur to you?  I just handle it better. I don’t

need to whine and carry on the way you do, I’m an adult now.  Yes, I went through hell to get here but I survived, barely, but I survived and I am strong.

Don’t you see how your view is warped? I don’t live in the past, I do acknowledge it but deep inside YOU are the one who hasn’t moved past it. Why is it that your true emotions only come out when you were bare to the bones, out of your mind? You loved me then, you needed me then. Not since then with all your false bravado. Because if you did love me why would you be so mean to me all the time?

It’s not a big dark secret, it’s an illness. Like diabetes or cancer, get over yourself. I know you think the world revolves around you, you make it that way, you make it that way. Not everybody else does that.

I know you put yourself first, well, who doesn’t know that? You admit it with pride. ‘A great quality of yours, I’m sure you think.’ Me? You don’t care about me as much as you think. Because if you did you wouldn’t be a bully like you always have been and you still carry on the same way, even after all these years we’ve been together. You could work on a compromise instead of saying “Well, I  just can’t do it, I won’t do it. ” Maybe you can but you have never tried.

I was happy in the past to mediate to reach a solution we can both live by, I will not be influenced by your outbursts anymore. I will stay away. I don’t trust you since you have broken the rules of our relationship time and again and you know you have.  Deep inside you are a very troubled child. I can’t see our relationship continue on the way it has, not at my expense.

I need to put myself first, to care about me now. I hope one day you will be happy without making others unhappy.

 

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Soul Baby (5 parts)

 

Dear Baby Girl Z,

Part 1

I’m so sorry, I really am. I know you can’t and won’t forgive me, how could you? I will never forgive myself. Everyone, pretty much, hates me. I don’t know what I was thinking, I guess I thought you would complete me, solve all my problems. But, I had to solve them on my own, didn’t I? I think I wanted you in my life for all the wrong reasons and I know that was selfish and horrible.

One of my friends had adopted a baby and she was the light of her mom’s life, she lived for her baby and I thought that having you would make me whole. I had to learn that the only way for a person to be whole was to be whole first.

Z, I will never, ever forget what I did to you in my entire life. Until the day I die I will think about you every day and every night.

I had dreamed about you for the past seven years. I tried to be patient, I had gone through all the legal hoops and still I waited, until finally three years ago. I finally was finished, I was approved, home inspection: check. Now the only thing I had to do was wait.

 

Part 2.

I was a lawyer hoping to make partner and every day was so busy from seven in the morning to at least ten at night. But, I had arranged everything. I had a nanny set up, a nursery, went out with friends, checked my cell phone constantly.

sadness

sadness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Every day was a possibility, every night could be a disappointment. Even the mailman, Mike, knew my situation and one day, the thick manilla envelope arrived. It was delivered on a bright, sunny Wednesday in the Spring, Mike lingered in the building to hand it to me in person. I didn’t want to share this with anyone so I thanked him and went upstairs to my apartment’s open, airy, bright chrome kitchen and ripped the envelope apart.

 

Thinking

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn DeLight (back again))

One look at the black and white photograph, seeing your eyes, your deep, dark sad eyes and I held my breath, waiting for the tenderness to overwhelm me. I didn’t feel happy or joyful, I felt terrified and wrong. I thought to myself:’ I’m having a heart attack.’ “I was in shock” I told myself, “of course” and waited to feel the love and sense of motherhood I had longed for. This was MY baby, the baby I had looked forward to for years. My stomach sank to my frigid feet, I felt out of control, overwhelmed, out of my mind. I felt hollow inside and empty but mostly, I felt nothing.

 

Part 3.

“That’s ridiculous” I thought, “it’s just shock. I’m scared, nervous maybe and more than a little unsure.” I talked myself into first day jitters but I only had a photograph and all I could see was the pain in your eyes. I turned away, I walked to the living room, leaving the photograph sitting, turned over on the kitchen counter. The second I turned my back I knew what I had to do,  I knew it in my head, right away, right after, in my heart.

I called my best friend to come over because I was absolutely hysterical, she came but I could not be calmed down. I had made the wrong decision. I would call the agency and tell them that the deal fell through and I’m sure she would be happier with a family, one with kids…and a dog.

Part 4.

I’ve lived with this pain, this regret for many years. Why, how, could I have walked away from my Soul Baby?  I thought all I had wanted to do was be a mother, I swear, until it was almost possible. What was I trying to prove? I was in no way able to offer the love and stability of a child AND have a full-time career. I was selfish, I wanted both. But, after looking at the photo of your sad, tortured eyes, I could not do that to you again. This was not a trial run, or sweater that I could exchange in the store. This was a life and I knew I couldn’t handle it.

I broke down in tears, hysterically crying. I don’t know what happened but I could not be responsible for this beautiful, sad child. What if I was not enough to make her happy? I wasn’t sure enough if I could make myself happy. The next 24 hours were the hardest of my life. I cried through most of them. I wouldn’t speak to anyone but I knew, deep down in my heart that I could not, would not be a mother to this child. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t even know myself yet.

English: Photograph of Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophi...Part 5.

I know this much, there was no excuse for what I did but it was the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. Each morning before work and each evening after dinner, I would take out the same photo that I had never given back, look at it and said “I’m so sorry Baby Girl Z” I not only turned my back on her, I had turned on myself. Eventually I put the photo away and stopped looking at it. I practiced law full-time and yes, I was a Partner.

10 years later:

My son and daughter come running to me, I left being a lawyer when our son was born and two years afterwards our daughter. In their hands was a piece of paper and they were laughing and giggling. “Mommy, who is this?” they cried, pushing and shoving each other. In their hands was the black and white photo of Baby Z, Soul Baby, I had never thrown that photo away nor would I ever.

I looked at my kids straight in their eyes and said “that was Baby Z, she was supposed to be your sister but mommy made a big mistake, it was too early.” They didn’t ask any other questions and there were no other questions left to ask. I took the photo and gently placed it back in my old journal from years ago; this time I put it in the lock box, my husband Jim, of twelve years, smiling by my side.

 

Outing Mary Poppins (POP COP)

The Sound of Music (film)

The Sound of Music (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Ms Andrews,

I’ll be honest I can’t  forget that when I was little and bumped into you at FAO Schwartz and my father asked you for your autograph for little, shy, sweet me, you said “NO” coldly and harshly. I heard you. I remember thinking “how could she be so mean? ” Well you were, there were no other people around us but you simply and COLDLY said no, and walked away abruptly. Who would do that to a little girl? Mary Poppins would never do that. Apparently, you had no such problem. I  was devastated that you acted so coldly my dad was furious at my crestfallen face.

However, I still adored your movies: Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. It is for this reason alone, my loyalty to you as a fan of your movies that I refused to watch Carrie Underwood in the live performance of “The Sound of Music” on television earlier this week.I have always been “brand loyal.” I know all about the Broadway play, my sister saw that but I was devoted to the movie version. I knew every word by heart, I sang every song proudly albeit not in tune.

I wanted to remember Julie Andrews the way she was in the movie I adored her characters and her singing voice and still watched her movies when I was feeling blue or nostalgic. I used to watch that movie many times with my dad and my mom. My mom she was from Germany and my dad from Austria.

I will stay loyal to your movies and to your songs, to the characters you played. They will live on in my mind and heart forever. Just do me a favor, think about how a cold, nasty “no” can stick in someone’s memory after so many years. Your resiliency as an actor speaks loudly of your talent but definitely not of your real character.

Kellie Elmore: Free Write Friday (Repost)

English: repost of original Young Campolina female

English: repost of original Young Campolina female (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A defining, life-changing moment at the age of six.

https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/plinky-prompt-…out-in-a-crowd/

Love Always, Mom

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A MOTHER’S OPEN AND HONEST LETTER

Happy almost 21st birthday _______. You know I’m staying up to midnight, right? How could a mom miss the minute her ______ turns 21? It’s a milestone and one that you have looked forward to for many years. I know that you can buy alcohol legally now, not really a thing I get excited about. I’m not stupid, gullible yes. I asked you to take a sober picture of  yourself on or before your birthday and I knew you would remember.

That’s the kind of kid you are and that’s probably why I’m crying now (you expected it, I know.) You have always been a tremendously kind person, in fact, when you were little I had to teach you to be assertive. You were so easy-going that at nursery school if another kid grabbed the toy you were playing with you would just let them. You would happily go on to play with something else. I remember this as if it was yesterday, we sat down in your room and played with toys and we practiced. “I’m playing with this now but when I’m done its your turn OR ” want to play with this together.” I believe you liked the second option better.

When you were born, literally born, you didn’t cry at first, why not? You started a few seconds ( which felt like hours) later but your nickname was Buddha Baby. You were always peaceful, serene, happy and the only time you cried was when you didn’t feel well. You took long naps, slept through the night early on and the only time you cried was when you were sick. Sure enough, you would have a double ear infection. You were the sweetest baby ever and yes, a part of you will always be like that.

It’s not to stay that you weren’t an obnoxious teenager sometimes, don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to lie to you. That would never work anyway because you see right through me. You can judge my mood on the “hello?” of the telephone. We have a very strong connection, I hope we always will. I’m grateful for what we have had. And, by the way, the “assertive” thing, I think you learned that too well, maybe I shouldn’t have taught you after all because as a first sibling and as a Scorpio you are a bossy, strong-headed, stubborn person. But, it’s not true, right? Let’s argue about it!! You can be the good person and I can be the bad one person…

I just want to say almost Happy Birthday from a mom who loves you with all her heart. I am proud of you as a ______, as a person and I know you will make a difference in this world. You already have. You are a wonderful _____________and I  couldn’t ask for anyone who is a better_____ than you.  I’ve told you before I not only love you but I like you, everyone likes you.

Thank you for being in my life, you bring me great joy and I will always have a special place in my heart for you.

I love you ____________

Love always, Mom

Too Many Children Dying (Carry on Tuesday:The best is yet to come)

English: The Circle of Life. Ceiling fresco in...

English: The Circle of Life. Ceiling fresco in the main hall of the Natural History Museum, Vienna. Deutsch: Der Kreislauf des Lebens. Deckenfresko im Hauptgebäude des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Age doesn’t matter, they are the sons and daughters of people whose names I know. They live in my town, three of these precious children have died in the last year. As I have said many times before, no parent should have to bury their child. It isn’t right, it isn’t fair, it’s unnatural. Worst of all when they choose to end their lives on purpose, how can you deal with that, how to go on?

The parents have all tried to do the right thing. Their children have gone to numerous programs, counseling, tough love, nurturing love, medication, psychiatrists, psychologists, special programs, rehab, AA,  etc. but they have fallen again and again from some unknown evil and ill part inside them that they cannot control.

Who is to blame? No one, I imagine. I’m sure that most parents will do whatever it takes to help them. I have a friend, however, who has done so much for so long, he cannot do anything anymore for his eighteen year old son. Sometimes there is a limit for the parents too. This boy has been through every program imaginable and yet he still wants to destroy things, set houses on fire, do dangerous drugs, put his own life at risk. He too, will be a statistic one day, he does not want anyone to stop him, he has made that clear. It’s like watching a black and white movie in slow motion, backwards. Violence will be involved in some way, I fear. It will not have a happy ending.

Are the adolescents to blame? They are almost adults, around the ages of seventeen to eighteen. Do we blame them for going back to lives filled with “the wrong crowd” drugs, alcohol, mischief? Yes, but we blame ourselves too…We should have done this or that but truly we did everything, heard everything that they allowed us to see. They have crossed the line many times before, how do you know which will be the last phone call, the last time you see them?

The last call you get from the police, the one that makes you bend forward and grasp your knees and fall to the floor, sobbing hysterically. Yes, that kind of crying. That kind of misery, pain, sadness that saws your limbs in half one by one, slowly. You only know how it feels if you have been through it. A friend of mine committed suicide in junior high, I heard about it on the school bus. I remember it vividly.

Don’t you see? The best is yet to come.  Any other day will be better than this one. Take my hand, take anybody’s hand and hold on, one finger touching lightly like a butterfly’s kiss or a strong handshake whose strength will never let you get away. Let’s start like that. You will always have one friend that is on your side.

If you are even considering taking your life step back. Step back now. We stand here as broken people, parents, family, friends who will never be whole again because others before you gave up or thought they couldn’t do better or thought falsely that nobody cared.  It’s a lie, all of it. We ALL care, even if we don’t know you, even if we have not met, we care enough to think about you and your family we know that your life is worth living. The best is yet to be, there is promise in the world, there is hope that tomorrow will be better. It couldn’t be worse, right? Please don’t quit today, call a friend, hug your dog, take a walk, tell your mom you’re scared, I’m sure she is twice as scared as you are. Try to hang on, NO, promise. Just do that much. To me, it would mean the world.

Come what may (Carry on Tuesday)

Old Man Grieving - Vincent van Gogh

Old Man Grieving – Vincent van Gogh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life can be very scary. In one second your entire world could change, blow up into tiny, little pieces. Destroyed. The world you once knew would become Before and After. Usually, unless this change is winning the 22 million dollar lottery, this does not usually occur in good situations. Am I right? In everyday life there are always tragedies that come unexpectedly,  probably things completely different from what you worried about and it never is good.

It’s called growing up. Realizing that sometimes there is fear hiding around the corner, which eery corner you have no idea but for a time it will be dark. You tend to forget about the dangers in life for brief periods of time when things go along swimmingly until something happens and then you realize “yes, it’s been quiet for too long.” As John Lennon used to sing “Life is what happens, when you are making other plans.” The unexpected, the things you didn’t plan for, the strong red slap stinging and leaving an imprint across your pale, white face.

Hold on to someone tight, a best friend, a spouse, a partner, a sister or a brother, anyone. Because, when bad things happen you will need someone who you trust and love, someone who loves you back. A person who will try to soothe you even though you think it may not help. Let them try, accept their offer to make you a hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows to comfort you A person that will make you lie down and force you to rest no matter if you can’t sleep, a person you can cry in front of alone or just someone to hold your hand and cover you in soft blue blankets.

Life is not easy, though we don’t realize that until we are older, but come what may, having someone, to share it with, makes it just a little easier to breathe because you have them and their support.  While your heart is still literally in pain and skipping beats eventually your own heart starts beating at a similar rhythm you had before. You are still alive. You will grieve your loss in your own way, take your  time and try to let your feelings out.  Mourn YOUR way. There are no steps to follow to make it easier for you.  My sister once told me after our father died, that I was “grieving too much.” I knew I wasn’t, I was just grieving louder, and expressing my grief differently than her. We also had a very different relationship with our dad. There is no right or wrong, no time limit, no book to follow.

Sooner or later, with time, you will see that while the pain never completely goes away, it becomes less potent, it happens less often and with less severity. You might even find that one day, you will talk about the loss of a person you loved with a smile of fondness and love. You might think that you had the opportunity, the blessing to love someone and have them in your life for so many years instead of focusing on them dying and leaving your life.

Just two weeks ago I held up a new pen that I knew my father would love for Father’s Day. I picked it up and smiled broadly with delight. I was on my way to the register when I remembered I had no father to give this to. Life will get better, with time, after loss. Truly, it will, I know that. But don’t let anyone tell you that you will never have any tough moments. I can’t lie to you, once in a great while, you will.

Leaving Us, Lost

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children will always leave you, from the minute you cut the umbilical cord until the day that you take your last gasp of air. When your child is born you are swept away with joy. Is it a boy, a girl?  You cuddle that dear baby close to your body and cover its head with sweet, soft kisses. Your life has now changed forever. You try to inhale the smells and remember them. Unfortunately, like everything else, we hold precious in our hearts, memories fade.

Babies turn into toddlers and their first independent steps they take away from you are greeted with great excitement and applause.”She’s walking!!” we say proudly to anyone who will listen but we don’t think about this as a step of independence, we are merely celebrating a milestone in our brilliant child’s life.

I can say, with confidence, that as much as you want that uninterrupted night of sleep, it comes with a price. You will miss those sticky grilled cheese hands and arms around your neck and those sloppy grape jelly kisses a lot when they stop. One day you are swinging hands in public, the next your child is muttering “that’s embarrassing.” and they pull away. The rules have changed, your children have changed, now you have to change, quickly.

Childhood is so important and then comes middle school and high school when your children are tweens and teenagers. Groan, I know. It is important for them to grow up and for you to let them. You will go through, as my husband called it “the teenage tunnel of darkness” hang on tight, folks, it will be a bumpy ride. The arguments, slammed doors, taunting, fighting, will probably make you feel like you wish you had the money to send your kids to boarding school, but they need to go through this to become independent and their own person. This is their way of leaving their comfort zone, by fighting and doing things you probably don’t even want to know about and they will lie as well. Your kid? Never! I said that too. Believe me, I don’t condone this behavior, but it smacked me in the face. Once, when I asked my son how he would describe high school he said : high school is one big lie.” I will never forget that. Ever. I was so stunned that I was speechless. Wrong time to be speechless, believe me.

I am grateful that my two young adults, 18 and 20 are so independent and comfortable with other adults.  For that, I thank the strong sense of confidence we instilled in our children and sleep-away camp. Our children begged to go to sleep-away camp where their cousins went, we agreed to give it a try. They LOVED it and so did we. When it came to college, it was easier, for all of us, having been separated before.

How we feel doesn’t matter in this equation anymore. It’s true and we need to accept it. My husband and I like being alone, together. It reminds us of the days before children without all the anxiety and stress. Staying home and watching television is date night, we don’t feel the need to go out, we can relax at home. Our babies are not babies anymore, they are young adults. Do we miss the love that they used to show us? Yes, I know I do. Things change, we have no choice but to adjust. It is not always easy; sometimes it takes a little longer than it should and yes, sometimes I cry in private.  Children will always have you in their hearts but they will leave to find and follow their own lives. When they leave, they are looking forwards to their new lives which leaves us, their parents, looking backwards for sweet memories.

I Choose Angelina Jolie

English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film fes...

English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have always played silly games in our family, especially when our children were young. It started out of necessity because every day we would hear the same monotone replies from both kids: ‘How was your day? Good. What did you do? Nothin’ (and the missing g is not a typo) This wasn’t working well so I thought about it and figured if we worked it into a game, with the family playing, maybe we would be able to get a little information from our children. It was worth a shot. We started replacing “how was your day?” with “What was the high of your day? What was the low of your day? and What was the funny of your day? We went around the table and all four of us answered. It’s amazing what you can learn when you just change the words around. The kids loved it and they got to choose the order of who would go first, it worked!

Call me old-fashioned but we tried to eat dinner as a family every night. I stayed home with the kids, made dinner and when “Daddy” came home we ate together. If he was late I’d either give the kids a snack or feed them first. I’d have to say that 99 percent of the time the four of us ate together, with no television on in the background and thank goodness, this was before cell phones. Now, our children take some of our old games and play them with  their college friends( which I find totally amusing.)

You can play many of these games by yourself. Surely you could think of the high, low, and funny of your day? This next game is one I thought of tonight,  (I haven’t yet brought it up to the children and don’t know if I will.)

If I could choose to be anyone in the world who would I pick to be?(This is a GAME people) Easy. Angeline Jolie. Didn’t have to hesitate. I didn’t have to think about it, that is rather sad isn’t it? That lovely, gorgeous woman has everything and more of everything else too. Look at those perfect teeth and that warm smile.

I think she is absolutely stunning, beautiful and striking. She has charisma, she seems comfortable with herself (that might be an understatement) and with an audience. ( I’m going to pretend to have amnesia with the kissing -her -brother episode) She seems to have a lovely husband and they have such chemistry between them; they sizzle, even after all these years. Sigh. They each have careers they love and they can limit how many movies they want to do or not want to do. That, my friends, is power. They have a beautiful family and as many children as they want. They want more, they get more or make more. They have enough money to buy houses and boats, probably small countries maybe even big countries. More importantly, they give of themselves and do wonderful work for those who are less fortunate than they are. (I know that’s pretty much everyone) but they do great things for the world and the environment. What’s NOT to like?

After all these years, Brad and Angelina seem like they are good friends, great lovers (I’m sorry Jennifer) and that they have a wonderful family and they keep their family as a priority. They keep the kids away from the press as much as they can and they know how to deal with the paparazzi. “You want to see the twins? Sure, we’ll pose for People and give the 5 million dollars to charity. Nice!

Angelina is my pick. All mine. You get to play the game but just remember you can’t copy my answer. Who would you choose to be in the fantasy game? You don’t have to answer here on the blog if you don’t want to though we don’t judge anybody on this blog site. We listen, sometimes we laugh. But, just a little and it’s truly all in good fun.

Family Matters

daughter & dad

daughter & dad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When my neighbor, Lisa, a young woman with two children, told her father, on the phone, that she didn’t WANT him to pick her up for her CAT scan, I felt an unexpected lump in my throat. My father would have done the same thing. Oh G-d, how I miss that. After a few minutes Lisa  decided to let him pick her up and I was glad, “let him do this for you, it will make him happy” I said.  I quickly entered my house with tears stinging my eyes.

I expect the holiday season as a frame for us to mourn family members and friends who have died.  I was not prepared for this. This was unexpected and it hit me harder because I didn’t see it coming. Isn’t that always the case? I prepare myself for the holidays from November through January but it’s always what you don’t expect to happen that throws you off-balance and hurts the most.

When my father was alive and healthy, years ago, nothing would have stopped him from helping his two daughters, at any time, day or night.  Lisa’s situation brought those old memories back, piercing my heart, draining it. I remembered the time I was terrified of the sounds of the mice running in my walls and a couple that ran over my toes in my studio apartment and he picked me up to “take me home.” Or the one time in college when I had no idea about money and bounced a check (I did what?) and he resolved it and explained it to me. My dad made everything better; he was always on my side. I pray I said “Thank you” I pray I said, “I love you Dad.” I hope I did.

My father died on New Year’s Eve, ten year’s ago, my whole family is aware of that date.  I was not at all prepared for the random comment with my neighbor and it struck me so deeply. How lucky she was to be so young, to have young kids and young parents. I was looking back in time; this was me twenty years ago, this was me before we moved to New York, with two healthy parents and two young children.

You have no idea how fast time flies by. I didn’t know either. It flashes by so unexpectedly, the toddler whose hand you were holding to cross the street is in his second year of college; the baby girl you longed for after him is in her first year of college, far away. Two children, two completely different personalities; the mystery of motherhood finally solved for me.

“What did you do to make my sister and me so different?” I would ask my mother over and over again. It didn’t make sense. The same parents, the same setting, the same upbringing, what happened? We were so different, I needed to know. My mother would laugh and say “Nothing” and I didn’t believe her; I felt like she was holding out on a secret. That was, until I had two children, 21 months apart, completely different from one another and I knew, my mom had been right all along. We did nothing differently, they came out of the womb their own person. What they did have in common were that both were separate, perfect, miracles and yes, (hear that kids?) we love them exactly the same.