Despite my previous protestations to the contrary, a little over a year and a half ago, my son and his wife proved that I really was old enough to be a grandfather. AND that my much younger and much better looking wife was old enough to be a grandmother. AND, just to make sure we completely understood that our lives had changed forever, that we should start out our new identities with not one grandchild, but two grandtwins– a boy and a girl.
An aside: Twins composed of one boy and one girl are, by definition, fraternal twins. If you should happen to see parents (or grandparents) who are pushing a two-seater stroller along the sidewalk and who have just told you the boy and girl in the aforementioned stroller are twins, please, please do not ask them “Are they identical?” Think first before those words pop out of your mouth. Remember this aside and make your alma mater proud and, at the same time, keep those stroller-pushin’ people from having to simultaneously bite their lips, scratch their heads, and furrow their brows in disbelief.
This is very difficult to do. Believe me. I know from personal experience.
Before I go any further I need to state quite unequivocally that my grandtwins are, without a doubt, the cutest grandchildren in the world.
That said, they are two very different little people. To start with, as mentioned before, one is a boy and one is girl. One has a powder blue blanket with a crown and “Prince” on it and the other has, you guessed it, a pink blanket with a crown and “Princess” on it. (These items were not our idea, by the way. This set of grandparents would prefer more gender-neutral toys and apparel, but we are not in charge of those decisions.)
One has been walking for a while and the other is making good progress in that regard. One has the best giggle and smile in the world and the other is a scamp. But they are brother and sister and share a last name, as well as a birthday.
This made me think of UIC, with its two “fraternal twin” sides of campus. The West and East Sides of campus are as different as my two grandchildren, but they share the UIC name in good times and not so good times. They are separate, yet joined together by mutual bonds.
One of the goals of the Master Plan has been to find ways to better connect the two sides and to make it clearer that both are part of the same campus. Common banners, street lights, and (better) signage are a part of that thinking. Bike lanes, pedestrian pathways, and more logical, less circuitous bus routes (with buses with more distinctive and colorful exterior paint jobs, perhaps) would help unite the two sides.
As that great (?) 70’s Sister Sledge song told us – “We are Family. Get up Everybody and Dance!!”
Question of the Week: What would make us feel more like one big happy family?
Until next Friday…