Reflecting on life as a pair


Tyler Henderson and Lucas Henderson rock their matching pink backpacks on the first day of 3-year-old preschool.

I have an identical twin named Lucas. While many people can’t tell who is who, the discrepancies between us are there. It’s like the classic game you play as a child, finding the differences between side-by-side photos. I have an earring, Lucas has straighter teeth. I prefer khaki shorts and a plain tee, Lucas enjoys his athletic apparel. Our peers really seem to enjoy the everlasting game of “Guess Who?”

We are often asked, “Do you like being a twin?” My stock response is typically something along the lines of saying ‘it’s pretty cool.’ But after talking to another twin recently, she lead me to an interesting conclusion: I can’t answer that question with complete certainty.

I can tell you that I love my brother, and life is good. Lucas and I have been lucky, growing up with stellar parents, a great role model in our sister and all the love and support necessary to find ways to succeed in life. And the two of us really couldn’t be much closer. Aside from a year of college when he was living in La Crosse while I lived here in Eau Claire, we’ve lived together our entire lives. We participated in sports together, played in bands together and have generally had the same interests in life up to this point. We are, in many ways, the same.

So when Lucas transferred from Chippewa Valley Technical College to UW-Eau Claire this semester, the reactions have come early and often. We hear the regular lines like, “I think I saw you walking across the bridge, but I thought it might be Lucas so I didn’t say hi,” or the completely ridiculous, “Can you guys read each other’s minds?” Twins, especially identical twins, hear these questions and statements almost daily. In order to streamline the twin interrogation process, I thought it would be fun to tackle a few cultural twin stereotypes and give the real scoop on the Gemini life.

We’ve been a part of the classic twin “stuff.” Switching classes, playing tricks on your friends, people constantly calling you your brother’s name. We’ve never pulled a Lindsay Lohan from “The Parent Trap,” but it’s hard to grow up with a clone without using that to your advantage on occasion.

And no, we don’t read minds. It’s shocking how often we’re asked if we have the power of telepathy. But growing up together we have experienced so many of the same things, which has lead to an increased sense of awareness regarding what we may be thinking. As cool as that would be, no mind reading is involved.

But one of the most common questions is, “How do you get along so well?”     

Lucas and I have always been pretty easy going, but when I really think about why we are so close, I think of it this way. Imagine that you came into this world and instantly, you have a partner. Someone who will eventually be at every single one of your birthday parties, every Christmas, every first day of school, your concerts, your soccer games and so much more. He knows you inside and out, and you barely have to speak to know what the other is thinking. The limited environmental separation alone forces the two of you to gravitate toward the same interests. You both fall in love with the Packers, with Fall Out Boy and with Alyssa Conway in the third grade. But you rarely fight or get into arguments, and those tiffs last no longer than fifteen minutes before you both apologize because you can’t bear knowing that the other is upset. You fear what he fears, you love what he loves, and empathy runs deep between the two of you.

That is what being an identical twin is, at least to me. I can’t speak on behalf of all twins. And maybe there are some siblings and friends that have the same type of bond. But all I know is that I can’t answer the question of whether or not I like being a twin, because that’s the only life I’ve experienced. It’s been a good one, though. And I’m sure Lucas would say the same.