My Irish Twin

Three months after I was adopted as a three-day-old baby on January 12, 1981, a miracle happened: My mom got pregnant.

Emily Stegmaier was born 9 months later on January 4 in a tradition of punctuality that she continues to this day, so our birthdays are separated by less than a year. Hence the “Irish twin” moniker (which actually seems like a fairly offensive term, but we’re both Irish, so I figure it’s okay).

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Emily and I were close during our younger years, if not just for sheer proximity of ages. We both played tee-ball and soccer on the same co-ed youth teams, and we had the same best friends until age 8 or so (Trev and his sister, Katie, who are separated by 2 years). We were accepted into the same gifted programs year after year (which I think is a testament to nurture’s influence over nature, given that we have different biological parents).

Over the years, our personalities, interests, and social networks grew apart, as did we. Emily was involved in dance and acting when she was younger, whereas I focused on sports and creative arts. She discovered a passion and talent for music–specifically, piano and singing–and to this day I think she finds peace whenever her hands find the keys of a piano. Emily studied French and studied abroad in France; I studied Japanese and studied abroad there. The two languages could not be more different.

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I’m writing this today not to give you a full history of my sister and me; rather, I want to celebrate her life, given that she just turned 31 on Friday (I would have written this then, but my editors were breathing down my neck to finish my “best of 2012” lists. Sidenote: My editors are cats, and their breath smells like fish). I want to celebrate the incredible woman my sister has become.

Let me say this: I respect my sister to the Nth degree, which says a lot, because respect is something that I give away sparingly. I respect that Emily got a job for a few years after college before returning to academics to attend law school. I respect that she had a few long-term relationships before she chose her husband a year and a half ago, and I respect that she didn’t rush into marriage in her low-20s while she was still learning about herself. I respect her choice in husbands–she not only chose a good man, but she chose a great man for her.

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This is Emily’s first birthday as a married woman, and it’s also her first birthday as a pregnant woman. That’s right, my little sister is pregnant. Only time will tell if her first child will also be an Irish twin…

Em, I’m so proud of everything you’ve accomplished over the last 31 years, and I can’t wait to see who you become in the future as you embrace the roles of mother and wife in addition to everything you already are. Happy birthday, little sister.

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