Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mason & Taylor (or this one & that one)

Mason & Taylor,

I decided early on in your senior year that I wouldn’t publicly embarrass you with a bunch of photos when it was time for graduation. Then we had almost 2 weeks of Aunt Melba, your Nana, in a coma. I saw you each holding a hand while standing on either side of her hospital bed, like bookends. Two pieces of a matched set- each strong on your own but even more so when working together. Those two weeks reminded me of how important it is to say what needs to be said when you have a chance. And unfortunately for you, what I need to say requires photos for historical context.

It began before you were even born. In our defense, it was at least in part because we didn’t know if you were boys or girls, only that there were two of you. With a singleton pregnancy the families & friends can just refer to “the baby” & everyone has a pretty good indication of who you are talking about. So it began before you were born… we called you “this one & that one”.

“Which one do you think is bigger, this one or that one?” We would all peer at the image from the ultrasound & debate each other.

I’m sorry to say got worse for a while after you were born.

“Have you given this one a bottle?”

“Yes, but I haven’t changed that one.”

For the most part it ended by the time you were up & walking because by that time (if not by your appearance, by your personality) we could tell you apart. Although I have to admit, we considered pulling the old nicknames back out during the brief time around 18 months when Mason insisted that both of your names were Mason.

“Who are you?”

“I Mason.”

“Who is he?”

“Him Mason.”

You may wonder why I am explaining all of the “this one & that one” history. It is actually an effort on my part to explain why your entire family sees you differently than the rest of the world. No matter how grown up you are there will still always be “this one & that one” although it is no longer about you being identical twins. For us, it is now about the speed with which the last 18 years have flown by. 

It seems somewhat impossible, which is why when the rest of the world sees this one:

Your family sees that one...

And Taylor's response to a hug in this one...

Was likely payback for Mason's response in that one...

You have clearly always loved this:

As evidenced by that:

And when your mom was laughing & taking these...

She probably thought about laughing & taking this one... I only wish the others felt like this one. Ouch.

When this one happened last fall...

I thought about that one from 16 years ago...

The truth is that even if I occasionally have to shake my head & rub my eyes to see that you are really grown, I don’t worry about you. I don’t worry because you have each other. Even with all of the fighting (not just words, the FIGHTING) you love each other more than you will likely ever let on. Although you have always competed with each other, that competitive spirit will serve you well over your life. I remember when you were on the football field your freshman year & Taylor ran a long touchdown. On the other team’s next possession, Mason intercepted a pass & ran for his own long touchdown. Then he turned & pointed down the field.

The fans around us assumed it was directed toward the other team, but we all knew better.

He was pointing at Taylor.

“If you can do it, so can I.”

This one from your senior year...

Reminds me of that one from kindergarten...

This competition with each other has, to the detriment of other unsuspecting people given the appearance that it would be easy to get one of you mad at the other. Oh, you will still definitely go after each other… but only until the moment that anyone else messes with one of you. It’s just never going to be a fair fight with one of the Bailey boys because you will never be dealing with just one of the Bailey boys.

As much as you fight, as I said- I don’t worry about you because you have each other. At the end of your senior football season, when Mason broke his leg during a game- Taylor was the first one there. When Mason awoke after emergency surgery in the middle of the night, he immediately wanted to see Taylor.

These are the reasons I don’t worry about you. You have each other. I look at my boys & watch them fuss & fight with each other & hope that they grow to defend & support & protect each other the way you do. When we found out that we would be getting three little boys to adopt I was nervous about what you would think, until I got a random text one day.

“Aunt Sherry, when those boys move in with you, let us know if anyone gives them any trouble.”

They were immediately part of your “club” & although I never thought I could love you more- seeing you play with them & how you immediately were concerned with their safety & happiness proved me wrong about my capacity for love.

It is not something I mind being wrong about. Not at all. Speaking of being wrong- I suppose it is time now, on this day that you graduate from high school, that we recognize that no matter how much we think we see this one…

It's time to see that one.

I love you & I'm so proud of you both.
- Aunt Sherry

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