As one in a set of quadruplets, Sarah, along with her brother Will, and sisters Caitlin and Mary Elizabeth, were inseparable.
“Growing up with three people the same age as you was great,” Sarah said. “We had such a fun childhood. Every day was an adventure.”
That adventure took them from Ohatchee, where they grew up, to Auburn University, where this weekend the Haynes quadruplets will receive their degrees and graduate.
And then after 22 years, the “womb mates,” as Caitlin calls her brother and sisters, will go their separate ways. Sarah, who is getting married in two weeks, is moving to St. Louis to be with her fiance, Ben Weller, while Will is moving to Dallas and Mary Elizabeth to Fort Worth, Texas. Caitlyn said it’s her goal to move to New York City.
“It’s going to be weird, because we’ve always been together,” Caitlin said. “I don’t think we even realize how weird it’s going to be.”
Even though they were close throughout college, the siblings said they were able to retain enough independence that most of their friends didn’t even realize they were quadruplets.
“Sometimes people would ask if I had any siblings,” Will said. “I’d say yeah, I have four sisters, three of them are the same age as me, and they’d say, ‘Well, how does that work?’”
Mary Elizabeth said sometimes when she introduced people to her “sisters” they thought she meant her sorority sisters.
“Someone asked me last week if Will and I were twins,” Mary Elizabeth said. “We were like, well, not exactly.”
Although they’ve gone to school together the last four years, they have spent some time apart. Will has interned in Dallas the last two summers, Mary Elizabeth took a trip to Honduras one semester and Sarah has been living the last semester in St. Louis.
“I think it’ll be weird though to realize that now it’s permanent,” Mary Elizabeth said. “We’re really going our own ways.”
While Will and Sarah are heading out of Alabama soon, Mary Elizabeth isn’t going to Texas until August.
“I don’t think it’ll hit us or be weird until after the summer,” Will said. “That’s when we’ll realize we’re not all going back to Auburn.”
And as far as the empty nest back home, Mary Elizabeth said she thinks her parents will adjust just fine.
“They’re already making plans to vacation in St. Louis to visit Sarah,” Mary Elizabeth said. “I think they’ll be sad they’re not a two-hour drive away, but it’s something we’ll all get used to.”
And traveling the country is something they’ve always wanted to do anyway, Will said.
“Growing up, whenever we traveled it was together as a family,” Will said. “I think my parents are excited to travel by themselves to come see us all now.”
The quadruplets’ mother, Tammy Haynes, said in a way she and her husband, Bruce, have eased into their children being away.
“The difference now is we can’t go to Auburn and see all of them,” Tammy said. “We were really blessed the last four years to be able to do that. But now we’re going to get to travel more.”
Caitlin said for 22 years she hasn’t gone a day without talking to her siblings. The distance between them won’t change that.
“You can’t go from someone being your best friend to not talking to them at all,” Caitlyn said. “And they really are my best friends.”
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.