I have a twin... sort of. He's taller, blonder and better at math than me. He's also nine years my junior.
My birthday is April 2. On the morning of my ninth year, in true day-late April Fool's fashion, Andrew was born.
Not only do we share a date of birth, our debuts in the world fall within the same hour. To be more specific, it's within the same five minutes (at 6:30 a.m. and 6:35 a.m.) Weird? Yes, I think so, too -- especially because the two of us haven't been up at that time since.
It's been more than 15 years since then, and admittedly, it wasn't an easy transition for this former third grader to accept.
I already shared my parents' attention with two other boys, both of whom are younger than me.
At 1.5 years old, my first sibling was born. Justin resembled Buddha. He was calm, with magnetic powers over my elders, and round.
In one of our first encounters, I looked at this brown-eyed sith robbing my limelight with suspicion. "Can he go home now?" I asked my caretakers, in a matter-of-fact, princess of the castle manner. My parents doted on every sound, every movement and every drool drop descending down his double chin. Gross. Jabba the Hut junior had replaced me -- or at least put a Jedi spell on mom and dad.
Boy number two was an easier transition. Matt arrived about three years later. By then, Justin had become my partner in crime. Actually, he became a victim of crime -- I recruited him for attention-seeking stunts, sing-a-longs and an impromptu haircut. Nevertheless, together we made it through Matt's infancy with each other's company.
Back to the birthday bandit. Now, not only was I was competing with a 7-year-old and a 4- year-old, but also a blue-eyed, blonde haired baby with fat rolls cuter than a Tamagotchi -- only slightly less annoying and with a more peculiar sleeping pattern. This bundle of joy "is not a toy," my brothers and I were informed. But much like the Japanese plaything, it didn't stop making noise, either.
Dividing time among offspring is difficult for any parent; each child has his/her own activities, interests, goals, needs and sets of friends. I get that. I don't have a real twin, so, like any other set of siblings, we have respective birthday expectations. Mine no longer includes a day that is mine, alone.
Perhaps someday I'll tell people he's my older brother, seeing as I'm often mistaken for being years younger, anyway.
I'm thankful to have three younger brothers -- regardless of their unintentionally irritating ability to mesmerize our mom and dad for decades. Touché.
For a year or two, I declared I would celebrate on our half birthday (October 2) in protest. It never stuck, but Andrew and I have come to terms with our shared day of festivities.
These days, it's rare that Andrew and I are together to commemorate an additional 365 days on earth, as he lives in Florida and I'm in New York. Regardless, my former feeling of a stolen day has been replaced with an appreciation for family and the confirmation that one important person in my life will never forget to send me a greeting card.
Like most siblings, some of the interests Andrew and I share overlap, while others are as similar as chocolate and vanilla. Nevertheless, we can both agree: the Yankees are greater than the Red Sox, peanut butter M & M's are delicious and two birthday cakes are better than one.