I have been blessed with two beautiful children with two completely different personalities and one big age gap between them…or at least considered big by today’s norm. It was never my intention to have an age gap but it was just the cards we were dealt. I grew up with my siblings being 2 and 3 years apart from me and although there were many times we fought we have this incredible bond. My parents gave us the best gift by giving us each other so of course I wanted the same for my future kids. Well life happens and sometimes (well most of the time for us) life doesn’t go as planned. When our son was 6 months old Mike had left for training and soon thereafter he would deploy and be gone a total of 26 months. After that deployment we had moved out of state,health issues came up, then we both finished our degrees, moved again, finally had our wedding, and it just didn’t seem like we were going to add to our family. But as life would have it, we got the surprise that we were pregnant in June 2015. Our son was 5 at the time so we knew there would be the inevitable age gap, nonetheless we were excited for him to become a big brother.
The Hard Stuff
I was not prepared for the challenges that would come along with the age gap but I feel like it is really something any parent with more than one child might feel despite any age gap. I remember googling “big age gaps between siblings” while I was pregnant and everything seemed to say that having kids closer in age was better for the siblings in so many ways but that with any family it really depends on how you raise your children. I find that the hardest thing when it comes to having my children is feeling like i’m being pulled in two different directions. I have a toddler and school aged child so their needs and wants are not the same. Sometimes we go to a park that is fun for my son but there isn’t much that is safe for my toddler to play on or we go to a park that is more fun for my toddler than it is for my school aged son. It is also challenging when my son has sports or a school functions and I can’t completely focus 100% on him like I want to because I have a toddler that is getting antsy or bored, or tired, or hangry, or ALL of the above! There was a time when I missed an awesome play Xander did in football because I was chasing after Elise…Que the Mom quilt. Or the time I was so into helping Xander with his math homework that I didn’t see that Elise was quietly sitting on the floor with my brand new MAC lipstick being smashed between her little fingers like she was playing with finger paint.
In that moment I just wished I could duplicate myself. No, scratch that I always wish I could duplicate myself! But the more I talk to Moms of more than one child the more I see that they struggle with the some of the same feelings that I have when it comes to feeling like you are being pulled in many directions. So that asks the question…is it really that big of a deal to have an age gap? That answer for me is clearly no.
Why I wouldn’t Trade This Age Gap for the World
One of the most amazing things I have witnessed being an age gap Mom is to watch my first born take on the role of not only a big brother but his sister’s protector. He does not like to see Elise cry and will immediately let one of us know that she is upset. He helps her when she needs help and he is always trying to teach her new things (even if some are a bit mischievous, haha). There are times when I hear him talk so sweetly and gently to her that I melt into a puddle of mush. “Don’t worry LiLi (the nickname he came up for her) Mommy is coming right back and everything will be ok, ok?” Ugh, just melt me already my little boy! When Xander is doing his reading homework you can almost always find Elise next to him listening to him read a story which is way cooler than when Mom or Dad do it! So that right there is a two for one deal because you have Xander practicing his reading and Elise being read to! Xander is always there if I need help with something with Elise too. I tell him often that I would be lost without him and I truly mean it! He is so good at finding the items Elise hides around the house like the time she hid my bank card and my car was on almost to empty and I had to get Xander to practice that is 25 miles away. He knew that she likes to hide stuff in the kitchen drawers and since we had just moved in to this house I didn’t know of her new little hobby but he saw her earlier that day put a toy there and he told me to look there and he saved the day!! Then there have been the times when we are in the store and Xander sees that her shoe or bow has fallen off (or she most likely threw it herself) and he quietly hands me the shoe or bow that I didn’t even see come off in the first place with out thinking twice. He is always right there when I need him, always. I watched him change into a more sweeter and compassionate young boy (even though I didn’t think it was possible to have a more sweeter soul than his) when we gave him a sister. I can see the future being full of tough times because they aren’t perfect and of course and they still have their typical sibling moments, but I also see this beautiful bond they have. I see Xander being protective of his little sister and being her confidant ,the one who will get thorough to her the way Mike and I may not be able to because she adores him and I know in my heart that that will never change. I see Xander being an amazing husband and father someday because he learned compassion and care for others so early on. I see Elise always looking to her big brother for advice and guidance. She loves her “bubby”, you can see it in her eyes the way she looks up to him and at this rate he is the perfect role model for her. To me this is my perfect. I could never imagine two more perfect tiny souls who complete our family and there is not one…not one single thing I would change about this little family of ours.
To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. – Clara Ortega
So If you are like I was and you have your first child already and you are just not sure if you want a second but you have these sibling age gap numbers in your head, I say screw the math and this silly made up time frame of “what is best” and do what is best for YOU and YOUR family!