In the words of Hanna Lewis, today will be "The specialest birthday ever!"
Hanna and her fraternal twin sister, Haidyn, turn 12 today. They share the last triple-digit birthday until Jan. 1, 2101 - 89 years from now. It's not just a golden birthday celebration of being 12 on 12-12. The girls are 12 on 12-12-12.
It just so happens their best friend, Taylor Moser, also celebrates the quadruple birthday of 12.
"And it's not like we've been together for years," said Shanna Lewis, the twins' mom. "We've only known each other since last year. It was a complete surprise."
At noon today - or at 12 p.m. on 12-12-12 - the newly minted 12-year-olds will begin their celebration after getting out of school a few hours early. Almost like a gift to the sixth-grade tweens, Effingham Unit 40 has a school improvement day.
The three girls will join each other again this evening for a dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. Shanna Lewis said that wasn't the only thing they had in mind.
"We have a few other surprises up our sleeves," she said Tuesday, as the three girls cheered while sitting together on the sofa at the Lewis' family home.
The three girls, who are heavily involved in sports, musical activities and church activities in all seasons, look and act much alike. But, there are some contrasts even between the twins. In fact, Hanna and Taylor agreed they probably have more in common than Haidyn and Hanna do.
Hanna and Taylor both prefer the color pink, while Haidyn is more into purple. Taylor and Hanna also like the same boy, but Haidyn has eyes for someone else. Haidyn, who is 1 minute older than her sister, is the most outspoken and the quickest to answer questions, while Hanna and Taylor are more reserved.
But when it comes to friendships, the twins see things the same way.
"It's shared," they said simultaneously while giggling. But, Hanna said, Taylor was "the closest of friends."
The twins met Taylor at Central Grade School in the fifth grade. Before that, Taylor had been a student at Edgewood Grade School. The three clicked right away.
"She was the new girl, and we just started talking," Hanna said.
Life wasn't always that easy for Geoff and Shanna Lewis. They tried to have children for four years before seeking fertility treatment. Then, they were told to expect triplets, but only two made it to 36 weeks when Haidyn and Hanna were born Dec. 12, 2000, at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis.
For Travis and Malea Moser, it was quite a different story. Malea had Taylor on Dec. 12, 2000, at St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital, just a year after the two were married and without the effort or planning that the Lewises endured.
But even the moms have things in common. Both were 27 when they gave birth to their now 12-year-olds, and they went on to have more children with a total of four each. The twins and Taylor are the oldest of their respective siblings.
And they both shared the same surprise when they realized years after their daughters were born that they'd have the numerically special birthday.
"I didn't even think about it until last year," Shanna Lewis said.
Malea Lewis agreed.
"I had no clue," she said. "We weren't planning it. It was a major surprise."
With only two weeks until Christmas, the 12-year-olds and their moms agreed the birthday timings aren't that great. But none of the girls feel as though it affects the number of gifts they get.
That's likely to be true at least for the twins. Their mom is planning a Saturday birthday party for all their friends, and friends will be bringing gifts in multiples of 12.
All of this attention brings a smile to Taylor's face.
"It makes me feel really important," she said.
Haidyn chimed in.
"It's amazing to think about," she said.
Her sister, Hanna, agreed.
"We're very lucky."
Matt Saxton can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 129, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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