7 Things You May Not Know About a Twin of Someone Special-Needs

7 Things You May Not Know About the Twin of Someone with Special Needs

Most people know that Sierra and Sienna have been interviewed many, many times about them being such a unique pair of twins.  Recently Sierra was asked what question was most often asked of her when being interviewed.  She said the one that sticks out the most was “How much do you love your sister?”

It got me to thinking that it’s unfortunate that the question that sticks out to her is really about her sister and not about her.  Since most posts cover topics about Sienna, I thought I’d do one from Sierra’s perspective.

1. I’m still a kid.  I’m growing up faster than I have to.  I feel a natural need to care for and watch over my twin, so I’m growing up faster than most of my peers.  So, even though I act older most of the time, give me an opportunity to be a kid, make mistakes like a kid and dream like a kid.

2. I’m still my own person.  My twin and I like many of the same things, but we do like some different things and want to do different activities.  So ask about me sometimes, not me as the twin of someone special.

3. Please don’t make me choose between you or my sister.   Yes, my sister may be immature at times or do things you don’t understand, but please be gracious and patient.  I love my sister more than anything in the world and can’t tolerate her mistreatment.

4.  We’re individuals, but we’re also a packaged deal.  My twin and I understand that we have different friends and that I’ll be attending events with friends I don’t have in common with my twin.  However, if you know both of us well and you don’t invite me to something because you can’t “handle” inviting my twin, that’s going to show me your true colors and I will know you’re not really that great of a friend.

5.  I feel ignored some times.  My special-needs twin gets much attention because she’s cute and she requires additional attention for schooling and some daily activities.  I’m a great kid, too.  Please remember to see my accomplishments and make sure you say “hi” to me, too.

6.  I’m doing my best to find balance.   I’m doing my best to discover who I am as a person while being sensitive of and understanding how lost my twin is without me.

7.  I worry.  I know my life will eventually contain fairly normal situations such as dating, graduation, marriage…and I’m not sure what the future holds for my twin.  I worry about growing up and my twin feeling left behind.  Please know that I don’t care if you agree with decisions I might make in the interest of my twin on how my life is shaped.  I understand that having a twin with special needs requires some sacrifices.  I love my life and wouldn’t change it!

Being a twin is a unique bond that I’m blessed to have the opportunity to have.


Special Challenge Day

Special Challenge Day!!

Yesterday was our local Specially Challenged, Challenge Day.  It’s always such an amazing event.  The Special Olympics lends the torch for the children to carry and the students get Special Olympics medals after their events.

The day always begins with the students running through a giant blow up mascot like the football players do.  Then comes the singing of the National Anthem.

Sienna had the honor of being one in a trio singing the national anthem this year!  We practiced and practiced.  After all, it’s a pretty tough song.

She was so pumped up and ready to sing.  She stood between the two other classmates and the officiate handed her the microphone.  The music began and the officiate began singing with them softly to help remind them of the words.

Then the officiate stopped singing.  The mic started squealing.  Uh oh.  The kids were thrown off focus and couldn’t remember the words.  It was pretty heartbreaking to watch.  Sienna had worked so hard on trying to remember the words and she was still trying, but the words just weren’t coming out right.

In a very touching moment, the very soldier-esque ROTC leader walked up behind them and started singing with them without missing a beat.

Voilà!  The words came back!  They finished the anthem!  That gentleman exemplified grace and patriotism.

Something else that amazed me yesterday was the kids’ spirits.  The athlete’s creed they recite just before the races begin talks about students wanting to win, but if they don’t, they pledge to be brave in the attempt.

It’s often said that there is a “wussification” of America going on right now.  Without going too deep into that right now (I’ll touch on that in a different post), I have to agree that many children now aren’t taught to deal with challenges and disappointment like in the past.  They’re now taught that everyone gets a trophy and we shouldn’t keep score.  They think everyone’s entitled to win.  Well, that’s not how the real world works.  These special kids know that first-hand.

While each student did receive a medal, there was a 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place winner.

Every student needs to learn from the strength these kids have.  They have accepted that not everyone wins 1st place, but that the important thing is that they did their personal best.

They are the epitome of learning to be happy with the person God made you to be and of giving it your all, all the time.

They are shining examples of beautiful souls.

Sierra & Sienna’s Vocal Showcase!

The girls had their vocal showcase this past weekend.  I could not have been prouder!

They practiced and practiced.  I have to admit, I was a bit nervous they wouldn’t remember their words.

Their vocal coach was so wonderful.  He discussed with me what points I’d like for him to say about each of the girls when they were on stage.  He wanted to make sure to say something non-twin related about Sierra.  I found it very profound that he recognized that Sierra is often overlooked as being “just Sierra” and not “Sienna’s twin.”

Sienna often gets so much attention because she’s so cute and she’s certainly one-of-a-kind.  So, Sierra sometimes feels like she’s over looked.

We watched the first half of the vocal showcase and were entertained by the amazingly talented students.

Intermission.  The girls were up next!

Sienna confidently sashayed on stage.  She was so excited to be wearing high heels!

She answered her vocal coach’s questions and blushed as he sang her praises.  He introduced her song and started playing.  It was the moment of truth.  Would she remember her words?

She did!  She did great!! Her voice cracked a bit during a couple parts, but she just kept going without missing a beat!  Of course, the crowd was thoroughly amused and thought she was so cute.

Then it was Sierra’s turn.  It was amusing for me to hear people behind us say, “That’s the twin?” They couldn’t believe the height difference.

Sierra glowed as her vocal coach introduced her.  He asked her a few questions to which she had answers that made the audience chuckle.  He asked one question in particular that had the audience clap in approval.  He asked her if she’s ever nervous when she’s on TV.  She said, “No, people either like me or they don’t.”  Proud Mama Moment! J

As she began to sing, the audience fell silent.  She nailed her words and nailed the notes.  The audience was moved.

After Sierra’s solo, they had the opportunity to sing a song written specifically for them by Marla Martin, a college friend of mine.

Side-by-side, the girls sang the song “Sinny-Sized”.  It’s such a cute and touching song about the girls being able to take life head-on as an unstoppable duo.  The audience was in tears!

It was an unforgettable night for the girls.  They felt special and they were able to entertain and touch people’s hearts.