Makenna Marie Mahaney- My Little Mini Me and Maryssa Ann Mahaney- My Twin Sister Cindy Daniel’s Mini Me Reflect on Twins Raising Twins…

Having a family with two sets of twins can be a lot of fun and, our Little Pawners Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney keep the entire team laughing with their unique personality traits that are often completely different.

Compensating personality trained twins have been studied for years- you see, despite having the same genetic make up, identical twins have their own distinctive personalities. Researchers have found that life experiences affect brain development- this may help understand how personalities are formed for those unaware of why some twins are ”
exactly the same” and why “they look alike but, act different.”

Who we are behaviorally and physically depends on a number of factors. Genetics play a very large role, but so does the environment, which can influence the way our genes are expressed.

“In twin studies it had been clear that even though the twins are identical (monozygotic), there are still some differences between them that emerge over time,” says Gerd Kemperman, a behavioral geneticist at the Dresden University of Technology and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease in Germany. “Identical twins are often amazingly similar, but family and close friends can tell them apart easily.”

Twin studies have found that the development of new neurons constantly being generated in a process called neurogenesis affects personality traits based on life experiences.

In a unique experiment involving mice, researchers found that though the mice were genetically identical, they showed highly individualized explorative behaviors. Although they lived in the exact same environment, they reacted to the environment differently and, behavioral differences grew over time. And these behavioral differences showed up in the mice’s hippocampal neurogenesis- mice that explored their environment more fully grew more neurons than their “less adventurous” siblings.

Recapping: The mice’s experiences or interactions with their environment, affected their long term behavioral patterns and the growth of new neurons, promoting the development of distinct personalities despite their genetically identical make up.

Kempermann believes that their team pinpointed the neurological foundation for human individuality. “It’s a comforting thought that it’s not only our genes and it’s not only the outer environment, but also our experiences that count towards our individuality,” he says.

You see, Makenna and I are both very competitive in everything we do. Maryssa and my twin, not so much- they are interested in fun and adventure!

It’s a blessing that these two Little Pawners arrived to bring joy, laugh and wonderment to our family with their unique attributes and ironically, similarities to my sister and I.

The tiny Texas Twins are so accustomed to being filmed or photographed, that while we were filming the Pilot for The Pawning Planners, they were the first to want to “mike up” with Jeremiah every morning and, are like my own twin and I- almost always together.

Maryssa orders for Makenna at restaurants and always has, I order for Cindy at restaurants and have for as long as I can remember. Although she usually complains about what I’ve ordered for her, at 50 years old, I continue to order for her (perhaps so she can complain about my choices) and, accept that she 65% of the time will find fault with my choices.

Makenna must have everything in order on her desk at school prior to be beginning a project, Maryssa could care less. Makenna has a way of putting everything in her purse or backpack, Maryssa crams it in.

Cindy throws everything in her purse, everything in my purse must be in order and, that includes money (small bills first, big bills last) and, credit cards, health insurance cards etcetera. Cindy often loses things in her purse and, once while in Beverly Hills last year after paying for first class tickets for us both on United, I was forced to rent a car to drive back to Fort Worth, Texas.

Cindy is always “looking for something.” Maryssa is usually looking too- together these two “good time Charlie’s” normally are haphazard at “getting it together.”

I put everything in the same place- everyday. Organization and order must be in place for me to “feel comfortable.”

Many of our “twin friends” agree that one twin is always completely different than the other twin.

Our first husbands were so jealous of our close relationship that we divorced them and chose each other until we could find husbands that accepted our unique relationship.

Do we argue? Occasionally, and it’s always over something stupid and insignificant. However, if something is hurting of affecting my sister- I will crawl over glass to remedy the situation and, so do Maryssa and Makenna.

Twinning is a unique and creative journey of siblings that last a lifetime and while “outsiders” try to understand the dynamics, my sister summed it up one day when picking up the twins from school by saying “your twin is your best friend, a gift from God to share your life with. Friends may come and go but your twin will always be there to catch you when you fall or to clap at your successes. Never take a twin for granted for it is she who knows you better than anyone ever will and, she will protect you from harm or help you overcome something. Friends won’t or can’t understand your closeness and when they attack you for being close- it’s because they have no one on their life like you, they don’t understand.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself, twins have a twist and are genetically predisposed to overcoming challenges to their “mirror image” by possessing the skills and traits to make a winning team.

Wendy M Wortham
Travels of The Texas Twins