(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

One year later, our kids’ leaving home is entirely different from the first exit. The house is quiet once again, but how we got here is a whole new story.

This is the very first year Christiana and Jackson are not in school together. Unlike many twins, they did not separate for their freshmen year in college. That made our lives easier—one location, one calendar, one move-in day, one school to get to know.

1995 First Day of Preschool

The kids’ initial separation occurred earlier this year when Christiana accepted a job working as a conference assistant for Fort Lewis College. When I picked her up for a short stay between the end of the semester and the start of her job, she was pretty angry with him. We took her back before he arrived home. While talking with Jackson, we discovered he was frustrated with her.

Although they had moved into different dorm buildings, she had moved into his building within a couple months. Easier to spend time to together that way, but also easier to fall into old patterns. We didn’t used to call them “The Bickersons” for nothing—and, yet, they are very close.

Within a couple weeks of being apart this spring, they were already missing each other and trying to figure out how to visit one another despite the 13-hour round trip drive.

All along we’ve worried about whether Jackson could stay at Fort Lewis, but Christiana is the one who started to question whether the college was right for her, ultimately giving notice from her work there after two months and coming home to her old job.

Meanwhile she waited to see if she could get accepted into Colorado State University and get everything in order to transfer for the fall—if she decided to make the change. Jackson was happy to have her back home, but not so excited about the possible longer separation.

The funny thing was that our relationship with him became less strong once she came home. Reminded me of how often those two were a force against us when they were children. Twins can be a powerful team and woe to those who would try to get in between them, even unintentionally.

1997 First Day of School

Here it is the second week of school already for her and the first for him.

She and we jumped through a lot of hoops to get her set up for fall semester. We moved her possessions into an apartment a couple weekends ago and then she and I returned a few days later for transfer orientation—she to stay and I to return home. During orientation, the facilitators’ words allowed me to see I was in mourning for the change myself even though I feel it is the right move for her and am glad to have her closer to us. It’s just I thought I knew what to expect for this their sophomore year.

Very few parents of multiples get to have their kids at the same college—we’re just going through the more typical transition in our family a year later than most do. In the end what matters is that each kid follows the path that is right for him or her.

Jackson had time off work before needing to leave for school, so he insisted on going to visit Christiana to “help” her with her first few days of school. I know he slept in late while she started the next step in her education, but I also think he provided a steadying presence as she starts to adjust to the paradigm shift of moving her studies from a small liberal arts college to a large university.

He came home saying he’d like to live with her again in the few years after they get out on their own. I have no idea if that’s a good plan or not, but I think they’ll have a better idea after they have lived separately for the next few years.


Sherman and I helped him move into his college apartment last Saturday. How strange to be at that school again without her.

The transition back to school lasted a couple weeks for our family this time around—which is exhausting no doubt for all of us.

The road to independence has additional twists for twins and their parents—as well as a possible fork or two. We parents will just try to enjoy the drive, even while traveling without a map.