December 9, 2011

14 years of Mason & Eric & being a Mom

Mid-afternoon this November 15th, the skies changed & our first snowfall came.
Mason & Eric's birthday. It brought on much extra nostalgia of birthdays past
How the world changes when the white of winter arrives.
How my world changed when they did, that mid-afternoon, fourteen years ago.

My "firstborns'" birthday always has a little extra sentimental dynamic to me, because it's the anniversary of becoming a mom. Fourteen years of motherhood.
A few years back, I shared some memories of their birthdays over the years. (How they fly.)

Last year I posted some thoughts as we entered our voyage into teen-hood.
We've definitely ventured further yet this year. They have grown taller & stronger & scavenge the refrigerator more than ever. But really, I feel that 14 has leveled out from much of the awkwardness that 12 & 13 sometimes were. (Sorry boys, if you ever read this, but it's true.)

Today, I remember the motions & events of the day they were born.
I'm tempted to post cute baby & toddler photos..

But it's really due that I talk about Mason & Eric the 14-year-olds.
Lewis & Clark State Park, Lake Sakakawea, ND. Summer 2011
Their lives are full & busy. Their days are long. 8th grade this year, some days during the school year it seems like I barely see them.
Some days I worry they don't have enough time to keep up with homework & reading, but they apparently manage well, because their teachers have all good things to say about them & they've both made the honor roll again this year.

They're really growing. I might have mentioned that already.
They eat a lot of oatmeal in-between meals. And anything else they can find.
I shared in a post a ways back that they had an outstanding football season this fall.
Mason stepped up and proved himself a great quarterback. He had some wildly unbelievable plays.
Eric had some outstanding runs & amazing catches.
To watch them play together is to witness something special.  They love football & play the game well.
(They even have secret hand signals they create in the off season in our yard.)

Mason in motion:
Eric, smiling at Dad, after a phenomenal final game of the season. They put on a SHOW.
He caught deep pass after deep pass from his brother, and he danced zigzags down the field while running the ball. Great way to end the season for him, back in full force after his mid-season head injury. He was having fun out there, and it showed.
They both had a successful hunting season this fall.
Mason arrowed a doe October 1st.  Eric got an 8 pt. buck the final morning of rifle season.
Since Eric's deer was bigger, but Mason shot his with a bow which requires more skill, they felt they were pretty even.

One of many interesting "twin" things to observe throughout their life, is that somehow, that's how things always work out between them.  Even.

People have often asked, Which one of you is smarter?  Who's stronger?  Who's better at this, or that?  Etc.  I type that "etc." with a hint of annoyance.  I think sometimes these questions must get old for them. I also don't think it's good practice for us to always be comparing ourselves to others. That's hard when they have an identical twin who has all the same classes, plays all the same sports, enjoys all the same activities.  Having other people emphasize the comparison, well - it just gets a little old.

But to answer that - one might be a little stronger in math one quarter, while the other is a little stronger in science. But fact is - they both have tested nearly identically & had near identical grade percentages over all of their years. One might be able to bench press more, but the other runs faster. (Pretty fast, for the record.) In baseball, one pitches harder, the other more accurate. Even their business/keyboarding teacher commented that one of them types faster, but the other tests better for accuracy.

The question I recall really disliking the most since they were just chubby babies was, Who's the dominant twin? I thought that was the most awful question to ask of a couple of watchful, wide-eyed little brothers.
Neither is dominant. Their strengths balance each other.

Another question was Who's older? We'd get that a lot from random grocery store clerks & strangers who would stop us. They are the same age.  They have been the same exact developmental age all their life. 
To satisfy curiosities though, I would answer that Mason was born first by twelve minutes, but Eric was was bigger by four ounces.

Everything has a way of evening out between them. They have their differences, and they are very much alike.

They've started basketball season. The two of them were pulled from our junior high C team to play on B squad. They work hard.  It's a little different, not playing with their classmates, but they get along really well with the older guys, and keep up with them quite well.
They have excellent work ethic & a strong will to do their best.

They have always been my hat kids. They wear their hats every possible minute of the day. Eric is still in Colts blue, Mason still sporting Longhorns orange. They've been replacing their hats with the same teams for several years now. I feel like we might be nearing a monumental change when these ones wear out. We'll see.

This summer they spent a fair amount of time working on light jobs with their Dad, particularly a 20+ day spree in North Dakota. Mitch had them working shorter & lighter days, as not to burn them out, but still, I imagine it was more consecutive days & labor than a lot of grown adults are used to, and they being just 13, never complained, and even passed on going home halfway into it.
One other thing about working in North Dakota this summer, is that they got to practice their driving out there.
I'm not excited that driving age is something we're nearing so quickly, but I think they'll be alright at it.

Despite little time with school & football this fall, they put a good number of grouse in the freezer again this year. They enjoy bird hunting. I enjoy that they clean the birds & put them in the freezer themselves.

This summer we enjoyed a couple of family fishing nights on our classic fishing lake just up the road.
When Mason & Eric were little guys, we spent many summer evenings there.
1999, two years old:
I believe 2000, 3 years old:

What a difference a decade or so makes. This is Mason standing next to Beau, who is wearing the same life jacket they wore then.

Here they are with little brothers & sister singing happy birthday to them.

And for good measure, a favorite flashback..

It's amazing looking back at how small they were in those early days. (Just 4.5 pounds coming home.)
How industrious & busy they were in their toddler & boy days, (they kept me on my toes, those two.)
And how quickly they've grown into young men.
I wouldn't trade a minute of it for the world.
Not even the muddy ones. Especially not the muddy ones.


  1. Nicely put are a good mom, that is the way it should be , I love reading your posts. You have good kids, just a good family way of life, I love it

  2. Thanks, Erin!
    I have the greatest respect for you & your family, too. Means a lot coming from someone I think so highly of. :)

  3. I still remember their 5th grade conference. I accidently had Mason's report card for Eric's conference (or the other way around.) I was a little upset with myself that I would make such a mistake, but when I finally got the other report card out, we realized they had almost exactly the same grades. In every subject. (I still tell them apart by the color of their hats.)

  4. Very interesting. I've never heard the term "dominant twin". One older twins likes to know she is older - by all of 5 minutes but was also 4 oz lighter. Similar abilities and almost identical growth milestones too. I LOVE having twins which are (presumably) identical, it's very special - as you know.