The Life of a Triplet

The Johnson siblings are three peas in a pod and live

Olivia, Reilly and Nolan pose for their homecoming night picture

Olivia, Reilly and Nolan pose for their homecoming night picture

Vincent Towne, Staff Reporter

For centuries, the number three has been a prominent number in human history. The fascination with the number is not lost on the Johnson triplets, though. Olivia, Reilly and Nolan Johnson find themselves leading a unique life, but maybe not as different as many think. The triplet life is a complicated one; three of everything: Three beds, three college funds, three mouths to feed, triple the mess, but triple the fun.

On December 8, 2001, the Johnson family more than doubled in size with the birth of a boy and two girls. From day one the triplet life proved challenging and rewarding for both the children and the parents. And all along the way, they are received with curiosity, dumb questions and personal inquiries. The Johnson’s can’t go a single day without their birth situation butting its head into conversation.

“People asked our parents all the time about us,” Reilly said, “We loved it, but I can’t say the same for them.”

The trio are usually fine with the questions, they’ve just grown up with it. There’s always the occasional intrusive question which crosses the line but it doesn’t happen too often.

“People like to talk about it a lot,” Olivia said. “They’ll be like, ‘Does your sister look like you?’, ‘Do you like the same things?’, ‘Are you guys identical or fraternal?’.”

The identical vs. fraternal question seems to be a popular one, all the siblings agreed it was the most prominent and possibly the weirdest. Even after they tell nosey inquisitors they’re obviously fraternal, considering they aren’t all the same gender they’ll still say “Are you sure?” or “You guys all look so alike, though.” 

“We’re siblings, of course we look similar,” Nolan said.

Nolan gets annoyed at times, but he’s amused whenever someone is convinced triplets are some kind of different species. But, just like any other alien race, the siblings have their own strengths and weaknesses, unique to the triplet kind. For their collective 16th birthday, they received a car as a gift… to share. Whenever they wanted to do something they had to plan with the others and even fight for the vehicle.

“It was tough,” Nolan said, “especially for me, because they both like and do a lot of the same stuff. So, whenever I wanted to go hang out with friends, I had to either pass it by my sisters or get someone to pick me up.”

Sharing has always been a necessary evil in their household. From toys to the TV, they had to learn cooperation skills early on, and they feel like they’ve been able to gain a lot from it.

“Working together was our only option, at least before high school,” Olivia said, “We shared the same room, the same classes, and we both like drawing too.” 

“We’ve taken a lot of the same art classes,” Reilly added. “At least me and Olivia have, Nolan isn’t really into that.”

Both Reilly and Olivia have plans of going into artistic design classes in college and would like to make a career out of it. Even if they find different job interests in college, they both hope to continue their art together.

Throughout elementary and middle school, they were always in the same classes with the same grades and they always studied together. Teachers would usually treat them as one entity, assuming they all thought the same and had the same understanding of the material they were working on. 

“We can’t read each other’s minds,” said Olivia.

But they do have great synergy. One time in elementary school the sisters decided to swap names for the day, and only the teacher was left in the dark about the change.

“Everyone was laughing, and she never figured out why,” Reilly said.

Being able to swap personalities so easily speaks to how close the Johnsons are. But sadly, when asked if they finish each other’s sentences, Nolan responded, “No, but maybe if we were identical though.”

The bond that they share is irrefutable. Like the Pythagorean theorem, each of them is an important part of an equation which shares trust, joy, hardships and most of all, love that can not be felt with another pair of people. Though they are each their own person, they will forever have that inexplicable connection between triplets.