Same wrapping, Different gifts

I know that many of you have been praying for Baby Adam, my nephew David’s son. Thank you for that.

Adam & Oliver — yes, twins — were born in November to David and Rose. A few weeks ago, after a trip I made to meet the boys, we learned that Adam’s  liver was not functioning. The bile ducts were not moving the bile out of his system.

He’s had two surgeries over the past week. Doctors attached his liver directly to his small intestines. Adam came home on Friday. That’s him in the back with Rose’s mom and I’m holding chubby-faced Oliver who looks ever so much like his daddy did when David was himself a chubby-cheeked baby.

I’m surprised I can remember that far back because I kept calling Adam by the wrong name. I called him Luke. It took me awhile but I finally figured out why my mind was making that connection.

When my last child was born, Konnie was delivered by a good friend of ours, Mark Valenti. He’s a doctor in Redmond, Oregon now but at the time we were all living in Wallowa County. Our kids often played together and we couples would socialize. Our twin girls were only 3 years old when Mark and Jeanine had a set of twins themselves — boys, Erik & Luke.

Two days before I left for Portland to see my nephew’s boys again, I’d received the annual Christmas letter from the Valenti family and was so excited to learn that Luke is serving in missions in Albania.

Since Luke and Erik are really the only twin boys I’ve been around as an adult for any extended length of time, I guess it makes sense that I kept calling Adam by Luke’s name.

Well, I take that back.

My son-in-law is a twin. Zack, in fact, has a twin brother named Adam.

But then I haven’t spent hardly any time with Adam since he’s in med school in Colorado.

And that doesn’t count for Jimmy & Jerry Burke. Jerry and I have seen each other often over the years. In fact, he and Patti keep a bedroom ready for me at their home in Mufreesboro, Tennessee. Jerry calls it “Karen’s room.”

There was a time, oh so many years ago, when I dated his brother Jimmy. Jerry and Jimmy are not only twins, they are mirror twins. Meaning that they do everything opposite one another. If Jerry parts his hair on the right, Jimmy parts it on the left. They are mirror images of each other.

Rose says they aren’t yet sure if the boys are identical twins. Doctors think so but they haven’t done the blood work to determine that. And there is no way to know for sure without the DNA test.

We know for sure that Ashley & Shelby are 99.9 percent the same. They’ve had the blood test twice in their lives.

But that doesn’t mean that the girls are the same. When they were growing up I had shirts made for them that said: “Twins: Same wrapping, different gifts.”

And that is so very true.

God made us all with such intricate detail that even when our DNA is 99.9 percent the same, we are still uniquely created to serve His purposes for us.

And nothing, it seems to me, makes life more exciting than to fulfill that purpose for which He’s designed us. Is there anything that makes you feel more alive? Or anything that makes you more miserable than falling short of that?

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  • Unintentionally funny statement made by a friend who visited us in the hospital when my twins were born in 2001: “So they’re a boy and a girl, right? Are they technically twins?”

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Ohmygosh… I am laughing so hard right now. Thanks for that James.
      And I was on an elevator in downtown Portland with my twins in a twin stroller one morning when a man asked me,” Are they cousins?”
      He was completely serious.

      • ShelbyDee

        I can’t remember how many times we were asked, “Are you twins, or are you sisters?” Of course our reply was always, “We’re both.”

  • My twin nieces are so identical that when they were teens they would swap spots in classes at school and nobody knew the difference. They even did it to their boyfriends once to mess their heads up! Hope baby Adam and his parents are healing!