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Relatively speaking: School unites siblings

Nov. 19, 2010

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Courtesy Photo
Siblings Lincoln and Allaire Downs celebrated their shared birthdays and Baylor's Sibling Day together.

By Rachel Badders
Contributor

For two Baylor students, Sibling Day helped solidify their bond. This past Friday was Sibling Day at Baylor, and students were encouraged to invite their younger siblings to attend. Registration included a T-shirt and provided a list of various weekend activities.

When Waco sophomore Allaire Downs heard about the day, she immediately had to tell her mom. Friday was not only Allaire's birthday, but it was also her brother, Lincoln's. They're not twins - they just happen to share the same birthday.

Lincoln and Allaire's mother, Sarah Downs, and their father, Richard Downs, got married when they were 19 and 22, respectively.

They were high school sweethearts from Iowa, and both of them were students at Baylor at the time. Within a year of being married, they had Lincoln on Nov. 12, 1989.

Sarah was at a Rolling Stones concert in Dallas when she went into labor with him.

It was four weeks before her due date. Richard was in law school, and he had to leave right before a final to make it to Lincoln's delivery.

"He called his professor and said, 'I think I might be late because my wife is in Dallas. She unexpectedly went into labor,'" Sarah said.

All of his professors were lenient, but little did he know he would have to make the same phone call exactly a year later when Allaire was born.

Sarah went into labor with her while cleaning up from Lincoln's first birthday. She started having back pain so she went to the hospital.

It was five weeks before her due date, and her doctor tried to tell her she wasn't in labor. Sure enough, though, Allaire was born three hours later.

Being a 21-year-old student and mother of two small children was not easy, Sarah said.

Lincoln was too young for daycare, and they hadn't made any arrangements for childcare.

Because she was an upper-level student in the journalism department, she was able to bring him to class while she finished up the semester.

"It's kind of a blur. My professors were great," she said.

Richard had a lot of responsibilities as well, being a full-time law student and parent. They had some help from his grandparents, but overall, they had to learn how to juggle things.

"When you get in a situation like that, you do what you have to do. It was definitely well

worth it," Sarah said.

Because they are so close in age, Lincoln and Allaire basically grew up as twins.

From moving from crib to bed and learning how to ride a bike to having combined, themed birthdays every year, they did almost everything together, Sarah said.

Both Allaire and Lincoln have fond memories of their birthdays together.

"It's all we ever knew, but it was fun," Lincoln said.

One of Allaire's favorite parties was when she turned five and Lincoln turned six.

It was Batman-themed, and one of their dad's friends dressed-up like the superhero. Lincoln was on "cloud nine" because he thought it was really Batman. Allaire still remembers the look on his face when she revealed the truth almost a year later.

"It's like his dreams were shattered," she said.

For the most part, Lincoln and Allaire had a great relationship growing up. They fought in grade school and were "too cool for each other" in high school, but they became much closer when Lincoln went away to college.

"We talk every day," Lincoln said. "We're really close."

"In high school it wasn't as fun. We didn't want to share friends. It wasn't cool for me to go hang out with him and his friends and vice versa," Allaire said. "Now we have lunch once or twice a week. His friends are my friends, and we love seeing each other and being around each other."

Bellaire sophomore Suzy Reed is one of Allaire's closest friends and has been her roommate since their freshman year.

"The Downs' are a very open family, Reed said. "Their parents love entertaining their friends, so it's fun."

Another one of Allaire's roommates, Sarah Hutchins, says their family is very close.

"Their mom is the best cook ever. She cooks gourmet meals every night," Hutchins said. "They always get homemade coffee cake on the morning of their birthday."

Reed, who has a twin brother, can relate to having to share a birthday with a sibling. "It's always been that way. It's just something you grow up doing, so you don't know any different."

While they enjoyed it growing up, Allaire and Lincoln stopped having combined parties when she turned 15 and he turned 16.

Most recently, their family took a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate their birthdays this past weekend.

"Having both kids out of our home, it was nice to reunite with them. And it was neat that they thought we were cool enough to hang out with," Sarah said. "It was one of the best times we've ever had."