By Amanda Madenberg
Freshman Dylan Kareff’s favorite joke is saying to his sister, “When I was your age,” and then describing something that happened to him just two minutes earlier. He may tell Hannah that the best two minutes of his life were before she was born but when it comes down to it, his words reflect a slightly different sentiment about his twin.
Hannah and Dylan may be the same age and share the same friends and similar interests, but anyone who has spoken to both of them would never confuse one’s personality for the other: they are totally different. However, they were both eager and willing to share their experiences as twins.
Discovery of being a twin/twin identity
Although neither can remember the moment when their parents told them they were twins, Dylan said, “I’ve always known that [Hannah is] my twin.”
“I didn’t even realize it wasn’t common,” Hannah said. “It seemed natural because we were always together.”
Both agree that having a twin is nice because they are “always there for each other,” Hannah said. “When I go to parties, it’s nice to know that someone is looking after me.”
When asked about how they felt about being twins, neither of them jumped to say how much they liked it, but Hannah said, “It has its perks. We can help each other with work. For example, I helped Dylan with math and he did the same for me with social studies,” she shared.
Both Dylan and Hannah said the other twin was “annoying” but still overall nice to have around. “Being a twin is cool because we’re almost always on the same page. We only really fight about little, stupid things,” Dylan said.
When they moved houses
Dylan and Hannah’s family moved houses when the twins were five years old, and both remember the change quite well: they had always shared one bedroom, and each got separate rooms in the new house. “We were really upset,” Hannah said. “[After we moved,] we snuck into each other’s rooms every night because we weren’t used to being separated.”
“I couldn’t talk to Hannah anymore when I was falling asleep; it was weird,” Dylan said.
“Sharing birthdays doesn’t really bother me, but I guess I have nothing to compare it to,” Dylan said. Mostly, Dylan said he is “glad” to be a twin on his birthday because he prefers not to be the center of attention; sharing the day with Hannah splits the attention.
“I used to hate my birthday, but now I’ve gotten used to sharing it,” Hannah said. However, “it’s annoying that we can’t have chocolate cake. Dylan doesn’t like it,” she complained.
“When we turned seven years old,” Hannah recalled, “I made Dylan a rainbow-colored card and he forgot to make me something. I was so upset!”
While most Jewish children go through the process of preparing for a Bar Mitzvah (for boys) or a Bat Mitzvah (for girls), Dylan and Hannah had the unique opportunity to share their Jewish adulthood milestones in a B’nai Mitzvah, which celebrates the adulthood of a boy and a girl at the same time. Both agree that they loved sharing the spotlight on such an important day. “I would have freaked out if it was just me,” Hannah said. Dylan said that it was nice to have another person on the bimah (Hebrew for ‘stage’).
Although a boy and a girl with differing interests and strengths, Dylan and Hannah share a fair amount of activities. “It’s nice for our parents because once we got past the age of one of us running in one direction and the other running in the other direction, it has been easier for them to manage us,” Dylan explained.
“Because Dylan’s a boy, he plays video games like Call of Duty, and I don’t,” Hannah said. “We never play one-on-one basketball because those games always end with someone crying.” However, both twins play soccer and often have baseball catches. “When I was younger and Dylan went to have a football catch, I usually went also.” Hannah said that she probably would not have been exposed to so many sports if she did not have a brother the same age.
“Hannah does more [activities] than me,” Dylan said. The twins, however, are DECA partners and both participate in Model Congress.
Their academic interests vary as well. “Hannah enjoys science, but my favorite subject is definitely social studies,” Dylan said.
College and Beyond
The Kareffs agree that they probably will not go to the same college. “We want to be near each other [geographically], though,” Hannah said. They both think they’ve gotten closer as they have grown older, and now they only argue about “stupid” things such as one of them leaving a towel on the bathroom floor.
Both twins see themselves remaining close as adults. “I can’t imagine not seeing her on a daily basis,” Dylan said.