What Love Had to Do With It
Guideposts|September 2020
What Love Had to Do With It
My twin boys were constantly at each other’s throats. And that was before the pandemic put our house under lockdown
NICKI COOPER

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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September 2020