One of Three
Seventeen years ago, I came into this world alert and over-stimulated. While basking in the glorious chaos of the delivery room, I was interrupted by two loud, miniature babies. These trespassers turned out to be my triplet brother and sister. My story with siblings is different, very different. I am used to the shock and awe I receive when I tell strangers I'm a triplet. I've spent the better part of my life answering the same questions again and again, and I often forget how unique I really am in society. Being a triplet has both its merits and drawbacks. On the positive side, I feel that being a triplet has given me the tools to develop my personal goals and has helped define my character. I am a triplet. Yes, a triplet, one of three humans. Fortunately for the world, we are not identical — we’re enough trouble as it is. I can only imagine my poor mom with three baby triplets, crying out for her attention at the same time. She says that she had to give all of us equal amounts of attention or else the other two would start crying, and a triplet tantrum is not a pretty sight. Growing up, we were troublemakers. It’s not that we fought among ourselves, it was that we acted as a unit, like a Navy SEAL Team, creating havoc on the most unsuspecting targets. Causing mischief was our favorite pastime, and we were pretty darn good at it. My mother likes to say that we brought each other down to the lowest common denominator — we screamed on road trips, caused the biggest messes, and teased each other nonstop. Scolding us didn’t work, because while we were being scolded for, let’s say, stamping an entire wall with ink, we would just look at each other’s faces and try desperately to contain our laughter, only to have it all burst out two seconds later. On one occasion, our troublemaking skills reached a new height. It was a Sunday morning and we all were about four years old. My loving mother had dressed us all in our Sunday best and we all set for church. My mom happened to leave the room for one second to finish beautifying herself. To her astonishment, in the time she was gone we managed to make our way to the kitchen and crack open two dozen eggs all over our Sunday clothes and kitchen floor. It was a chaotic disaster. Long story short, we were late to church that day. Although we have always been together, we do like to challenge and test each other. My two siblings and I have been competitive with each other since day one. When we were younger, there was always a slight battle over the computer, who got to sit next to mom and dad at church, or even who was the tallest. As we got older, the competition turned into who was the better athlete, writer, artist, or even scholar. Each of us strove to be the best at something, and still do. Life was the biggest and most adventurous game with them by my side. It’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like to have an older sister to look up to, or a younger brother to take care of. The age gap between most siblings is still hard for me to comprehend. I have always had my brother and sister by my side, and every new experience we experience it together. Without an older sibling to give us advice, we have to figure out life’s questions for ourselves with trial and error — a lot of trial and error. Because I don’t have that older influence in my life, I am forced to navigate the experimental teenage years blindly and learn from my own mistakes. As much as I love my other halves, we do have the ability to bring each other down. We always pushed past each other’s boundaries, from secretly staying out past curfew to experimenting with fire. It was easy to justify such acts of mischief — if they were doing it, then it was OK for me to do it too. We pushed each other’s limits, teaching each other what we could and could not handle. We discovered who we were as individuals through those periods of trial and error. However, as we have the capability to bring each other down, we also have the huge capability to bring each other up. They know me the best, and can speak to me on a level that no one else can. We teach each other, not only through the various mistakes we make, but the individual accomplishments we achieve. I know that when I see my siblings do something positive and creative with their lives, it inspires me to do the same, and I know that they feel likewise. Although we still create trouble wherever we go, we always look out for each other with the greatest love, and try to keep each other in line. More than anything I value the companionship I share with "the other two". In public, being a triplet is an immediate conversation starter. "Are you guys’ twins?" *Double take "Triplets?” Now, cue the Q&A session. To this day, I can’t help but laugh when people first realize we are triplets because their reactions are priceless. Even though life hasn’t always been easy being a triplet, I still wouldn’t have it any other way. Since I was little I have been passionate about proving myself as an individual, which stems mainly from my identity crises growing up as a triplet. I've gotten sick of being known as "The Triplets" and I roll my eyes when strangers ask if we have telepathic abilities with one another. At one point in my life, I felt as if being a part of a trio was holding me back from being myself. I learned that my struggle for that independence has fueled who I am and who I want to be, and I value my independent mind. Growing up, it has been a relief to have two others beside me going through the exact same things I am experiencing in my life. They have trained me to be a better listener, to be more courageous, and to take more risks. They have developed my sense of humor and heightened my taste for adventure. I have learned how to control my stubbornness, my expression of my feelings, and my total dislike of losing. They have taught me compassion, patience, honesty, and creativity. Ultimately, they have made me a stronger individual. I cannot explain how growing up as a triplet differs from a "regular" child, because I am only familiar with having two other human beings constantly by my side. It has been difficult, but more than that, wonderful. I will miss the security that I get from my brother and sister. They have been a constant in my life. When all is said and done, I have come to realize that I don't want to try to outshine my brother and sister. However, from my former one-upmanship with my siblings I carry with me a competitive nature, which fuels my strong work ethic and driven spirit. I do know that the time in our lives where we are all together is quickly coming to an end. We will all be taking on the world away from each other and all in different ways. We are growing up and sadly growing apart. What I do know is that my “other halves” will be there for me whenever I need them, as always. We will get through whatever the world gives us together, even if we aren’t actually together. I am who I am because of my brother and sister, because of who we are when we are together, and even who we are when we are not together. If I wasn’t a triplet, and didn’t share my life with two other people, I wouldn’t know who I am.