DEAR ABBY: My 12-year-old identical twin daughters, “Alicia” and “Amanda,” have always dressed alike and enjoyed being completely identical. However, Alicia has recently decided that she wants to be an individual and dress differently.
Unfortunately, Amanda disagrees. Because they have all matching outfits and share a room, Amanda just waits until Alicia gets dressed and puts on the same outfit. This results in arguments every morning.
Amanda suggested what I thought was a fair compromise: They would dress alike on alternate days. However, Alicia insists that if she wants to dress differently, she should be able to do so every day. What would you recommend? – TWINS’ MOM IN BELLEVUE, WASH.
DEAR TWINS’ MOM: Let me share a page from my family album. My mother, Pauline Esther, and my aunt, Esther Pauline, were identical twins. They dressed in identical outfits and shared the same bed until their double wedding. They looked so much alike that when they would double date, they would switch dates in the middle of the evening and no one was the wiser.
My mother loved being an identical twin and regarded “twinning” as an asset. My aunt, on the other hand, yearned to be regarded as an individual.
I had always viewed twinship through my mother’s rose- colored glasses until I read an eye-opening article my aunt had written for Twins magazine. In it, she expressed how important she felt it was for siblings who, by chance, had been born together be allowed to develop as the individuals they actually were.
In other words, although your daughters came in “one package,” they were not joined at the hip physically or as personalities. If Alicia wishes to develop her individuality, she should certainly be allowed to do so. And consider this: Amanda may be so invested in her twinship that she is failing to do that – which is unhealthy.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married to “Bob” for almost 10 years. We recently moved 2,000 miles away from our families. My sister, “Lara,” has been staying in our second bedroom because she has been down on her luck for a while.
Bob’s mother and sister plan to visit us soon. Bob says Lara would be in the way of their visit. Bob thinks we should put Lara in a hotel room when they come. When he said it, it caught me by surprise.
I am very hurt by this. I haven’t mentioned anything to Lara or said anything to Bob about how I feel. But I think he is being cruel and insensitive. Help! – TORN BETWEEN FAMILIES
DEAR TORN: You and Bob need to talk. You have a bigger problem brewing than hurt feelings about the coming visit. You and Bob need to reach an understanding about how long Lara will be occupying your guest room – period.
Bob would like to entertain his family as well as yours on a more equal basis. That is neither cruel nor insensitive. As things stand, it would be impractical to move your sister to a hotel – particularly if all her belongings are in your guest room. Therefore, during this visit, Bob’s mother and sister should stay in a hotel. However, there should be a definite move-out date for your sister. Fair is fair.
CONFIDENTIAL TO PAULINE PHILLIPS IN MINNEAPOLIS: Happy 89th birthday to the sweetest mother in the world. The most beautiful fireworks display in the sky tonight will be for you.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.