Oh, no. our county had issued a stay-at-home order. This was necessary to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, but I dreaded it. For myself, for my boys. How would they handle being cooped up together for weeks on end? How would I keep the peace while still doing my job as a seventh-grade English teacher?
My 15-year-old twins, Breckan and Brennan, hated each other. I know hate seems like a strong word, a terrible word, but if they were in the same room for more than 10 minutes, there was going to be a fight. Contemptuous remarks, yelling, even physical blows.
I was 35 when the doctor announced that I was pregnant with not one but two babies. What a blessing! I’d wanted two children, and I knew getting pregnant would be more difficult as I got older. How fortunate that I’d be having both my children at once!
My sister had twin toddlers, a boy and a girl. I knew from watching her that raising twins was tough. Double diapers and feedings. Two times the tantrums. Still, I believed what everyone said: “Your boys will have a built-in best friend for life!”
Then Brennan and Breckan were born. As babies and then toddlers, they played in the same room but never with each other. What’s going on? I wondered. Maybe they’d become friends later. They started school, and Breckan quickly established himself as assertive and action-oriented, while Brennan was quieter and more contemplative.
At about age five, they began to fight. Fighting was foreign to me. Even as children, my sister and I would resolve our conflicts with words. We were different but good friends. My parents, married for 52 years, had never yelled at us or each other. I’d had such a harmonious upbringing. How could I have produced such adversarial offspring?
“They’re boys,” my husband would say. He had grown up around brothers. “Boys fight.”
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