Experience: I was born in a different millennium to my twin | Life and style

Mom went into labour on 31 December 1999, while playing cards with family. My sister and I had not been due until February; though twins are often born early, I don’t know if my parents had imagined us arriving so close to the new year. At the hospital in Indianapolis, a doctor came into the maternity ward at about 11.30pm and asked on which side of the millennium they wanted their babies to be born. Before Mom had time to respond, my dad piped up, “How about one of each?”

We were delivered by C-section, which gave the doctors more opportunity to influence the outcome. The deliveries could hardly have been timed better: I emerged at one minute before midnight and Jordan joined me at one minute past. Worldwide, four other sets of century-straddling twins were reported that night, though I don’t think any of them were quite so close together as we were.

The news spread fast. An announcement was made at our church as its parishioners welcomed in the new year, and my parents were interviewed over and over by the media. This included a few television appearances – everything from our local stations to The Today Show and Good Morning America. On our first birthday, camera crews came to film us devouring our birthday cakes. Newscasters called us the “Millennium Twins” and the label stuck.

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That footage has come to be a real blessing, because when Jordan and I were only 14 months old, Dad passed away from complications relating to diabetes. He was only 34. Though we never really knew him, the footage of him holding and talking about us not only gives a sense of what he was like, but also makes it clear how proud he was of us, and his playful sense of humour. We’ll always have that gift, and a real sense of connection to him.

There was another set of twins in our class, back in primary school. They were identical and did everything together. Jordi and I are fraternal twins, and growing up, we had lots of mutual friends, but different interests: I was into sports, she preferred show choir (choral singing with choreography) and fashion. Some of the other kids couldn’t understand why we had different birthdays. We had joint parties, but Mom realised that the fairest way to do it was to alternate the dates, so one year the party would be on the 31st and the next on the 1st. We have an older brother, Tyler; he enjoyed the attention at the start, but I think it was sometimes hard for him.

Later, we started having separate birthdays. By the time I was 13, I’d got into football and travelled to Dallas to see a game. Word got around that one of the Millennium Twins was in town and I ended up being interviewed. I was being followed around by a guy with a camera while everyone else looked on in bemusement, obviously thinking, “Who is that kid?”

It’s a curious situation, because it sounds quite grand to say, “My sister and I are twins born in different centuries” but it doesn’t mean we get to jump queues or that we have superpowers. It’s invariably one of the first things people bring up when they’re introducing me, and it can make a good icebreaker.

In some ways I’m luckier than Jordan – I get to have my birthday party on a night when everyone’s already celebrating. I can pretend it’s all about me. She has to have hers on New Year’s Day, when people tend to be a bit jaded. I also get to mark our milestones 24 hours before she does. On 30 December 2020, for example, I was in Vegas for my 21st birthday, and the moment midnight hit I sent Jordan a photo of myself with a drink in my hand. She had to wait another day before being able to drink legally. I’ve got a feeling the shoe will be on the other foot in future, though. She already calls me “20th-century boy”, and my eagerness to be first is probably going to come back and bite me when we’re turning 50 and she gets to stay in her 40s for an extra day.

We’ve never made contact with any of the other millennium twins, but perhaps we should. After all, we’re part of a very exclusive club: it’ll be the better part of a thousand years before anyone else has a chance to join.

As told to Chris Broughton

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