L12 was sharing with C12 that she felt different from others, saying that all her friends had Ipods, Ipads, mobile phones, were allowed to stay out, had new fashionable clothes from trendy shops and so on. C12, bless her little cotton socks, went up to her, gave her a quick hug and encouraged her not to compare herself to others but instead to embrace her inner awesomeness.
I couldn’t have put it better myself! In fact, I doubt I would have found those words at all but it was the perfect response. She did not belittle her sister’s feelings, telling her she was wrong to feel that way; likewise she didn’t allow her to dwell on them either. She knew that in life there will always be people better off than her and also people who are less well off than her. Comparison is a wasted exercise. Instead one should simply embrace their inner awesomeness.
C12 has learnt that lesson all by herself. Being born part of a sibling group of three, with a twin sister and a brother who is only 9 months and three weeks older than her, comparison has been a part of her life. Gary and I do our utmost not to compare but it is inevitable that each child can see the strengths and weaknesses of their similar aged siblings. For C12 it was more pronounced. She has been slower to mature than her older siblings and this has always bothered her. We have always told her that God gives us all an internal clock and maturation will happen according to this, and that she is totally special in a unique way to her. T13 matured waaaay before most boys his age. I think there are times he is more mature than his mother (ahem), and my lovely L12 was the quieter of the two girls and has always had a sensible head on her shoulders. C12 is my gorgeous and quirky-as-can-be twin. She always puts smiles on our faces with her particular brand of humour. She is giggly, outspoken and incredibly loving. She also has a head made of fluff, rarely listens to instruction long enough to take it on board and permanently wanders around with her head either stuck in a book or in the clouds. Either way, she is often not present in the immediate moment.
A couple of years ago she was very aware and sad that she was not like her brother and sister. She wanted to be like them. We have a policy that freedoms come when a child has shown us they can handle the freedom by being responsible. C12 forgets to be responsible sometimes and she felt like she was being left behind, and had less freedoms, which she did. I could see she was becoming more unhappy with the situation and Gary and I, along with friends and family have focused on her strengths, pointing them out to her, giving her responsibility in those areas (for example, she is incredible with her little sisters). She also started taking singing lessons and helping out with the littles’ choir. Lately (the last year or so) I have seen her grow into herself. She has embraced her inner awesomeness. Nothing has changed except her attitude towards herself. She loves herself exactly as she is. She still has less freedoms, she still has her head permanently in the clouds, but free of comparison and embracing all that she is, she has become a girl who is deeply grounded, deeply and firmly sure of who she is and who she wants to be.
She knows the truth of ol’ Dr Seuss when he states:
Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
There is only ONE C12 and there is only ONE L12. And that will be true for the whole of Time. From the beginning of the Universe, to the end of Time. Only one.
C taught me so much in that moment.