Exactly the Same, Only Different
By: John Jericiau
Dylan was more than four weeks premature but was still about 6 ½ pounds at birth, so we knew he was going to be a big boy. He couldn’t be more different than his older (by 8 months) brother Devin. Dylan is blonde and Devin is brunette. Dylan has hazel eyes; Devin has brown ones. Dylan is stocky and big boned, like a linebacker. Devin is lean and long, like a basketball player. Dylan is a picky eater but is covered with food by the end of a meal. Devin will eat almost anything, and so neatly that by the end of the meal nary a morsel of his food can be found outside his body.
Making comparisons between siblings is a natural occurrence in families, and ours is no different. We take delight in the differences and are surprised at the similarities. The same goes for the comparisons between parents and children. “He has your smile” or “I can’t believe how much he looks like you” are commonly heard these days. Devin has the same color eyes as Daddy, and Dylan has the same color as Papa. Devin is adopted so we’re pretty certain that we are not biologically related, yet we often get remarks about similar features between him and us. He is a perfectionist and a clown – traits that we share with him. Dylan, on the other hand, is biologically related (to which one of us we have no idea since we mixed our DNA for the IVF procedure) but Papa and Daddy get equal amounts of “he’s a mini you!” He is wicked smart (Papa) but walks and talks in his sleep (Daddy). Is all this comparing and contrasting really necessary or important? I think so. Families marvel at watching their genes pass from generation to generation, taking pride in certain traits like their prowess on the football field (Mannings) or even their junk in the trunk (Kardashians). It’s a way to strengthen the feeling of a family unit. So it’s no wonder that families like mine are especially desperate to find and point out similarities. Society tells us in so many ways that we don’t have a real family, mainly because our kids were not formed from the union of a married man and woman. Anything that makes us feel more “related” – same last names, trusts, paperwork, etc., or similar physical attributes – are all helpful ways to thumb our noses at society. Alen and I have talked many times about the hard-to-explain fact that we actually feel like Devin and Dylan have been created from us (I still have the ten extra pounds since Devin was born) – that’s how strong our connection is with them. When anyone questions our connection, therefore, we find ourselves extremely puzzled. Luckily we live in an area where the question is not often asked – at least not to our faces. Ask us why we ever wanted to create a family, and all you’ll get are blank stares from us. It’s very difficult for us, or most anyone for that matter, to answer that question. Why bring a child into our lives? And then why a second child? And now why a third? We’re not trying to save anyone. We didn’t need to spice up our life. We don’t need to feel more loved. We don’t need tax deductions. There’s a simple explanation to the question of why our family exists, and that explanation is worded perfectly on a plaque that hangs in our boys’ bedroom: All Because Two People Fell in Love.