There’s 12 years between my two girls. That’s big, i know. But for us, it’s perfect. Yes, sure, when Kayla was little she begged for a sibling, but the timing just wasn’t right. We were travelling a lot for Dad’s job and things just didn’t work out that way. (Jobs for telecommunications engineers in the oil industry tend to be in some very interesting, normally very cold places across the globe – and while adventuring with a five year old is ‘lots of fun’, doing it with a newborn is just a Whole Other Story…)
Then three years ago, we settled in Spain. Dad still traveled often for work, but our base had been established, and things felt right. We decided to take the leap and expand our family. Of course, after so many years, i had some reservations. There were many questions that i asked myself… Wasn’t i too old to do this? Didn’t we wait to long? What if the kids weren’t close because of the age gap? I was nervous about being pregnant at the age of 33 – the last time i did this i was 21 – surely my body was going to get it’s butt kicked pretty badly this time – and to be honest, the thought of going back to midnight feeds and diaper changes was just a little terrifying.
We waited a while before we told, although i think Kayla knew something was up from the beginning. She caught me dashing to the bathroom a couple of times and she definitely noticed i stopped smoking – but i think she only really put two and two together when we said the magic words…
“Guess what… We have some really exciting news…”
Her face broke out into the hugest of smiles, and she said ” You’re…pprrreeggnaantt…???!!!” the way only a surprised, excited eleven year old girl can. We smiled, and she started squealing – bouncing around the room like a pinched helium balloon let go.
As my belly grew, so too did Kayla’s excitement. Each doctor’s visit became a guessing game for Kayla – How ‘long’ is the baby now? How much does the baby weigh this month? And the scan pictures! – Well, those provided hours of entertainment! Kayla was involved in almost everything, every step of the way. She helped choose the crib and all of those first, tiny, little clothes. In fact, she was even at the hospital when our little lady was born.
In a truly magical moment, Kayla got to do a little skin-to-skin time with her little sister. Big sister and little sister. Bonded. For life.
From the minute we brought Little Miss Sara home, big sister Kayla’s been fantastic, give or take the odd “Mom! Sara keeps on putting her blocks into my shoe cupboard… Please – get her out of my room!”. But that’s to be expected. Kayla’s stumbled along through the midnight wails, the mountains of dirty diapers and the constant barrage of flying food with a pretty decent philosophy about it all. Her take on it is that, seeing as how she didn’t have a big sister to play with and annoy when she was little, she’s going to play with, and be patient (as far as possible, she says 🙂 ) with her little sister now that she’s The Big Sister.
Of course, their relationship will be different to siblings that are born closer together. My sisters and i have 18 months (almost exactly) between the three of us, and yes, we’re close, but there were times we fought like rabid banshees. In fact, i really don’t know how my mother did it. Working, studying, and three little girls all under the age of 4…
Now that Sara’s walking, life in our house has gotten a whole lot more interesting. And of course, the most interesting place in the whole house is sister’s room… It’s the first place the little lady runs to when i get her up in the morning, and she heads there literally any chance she gets! Perhaps it’s the colorful artwork on the walls, perhaps it’s the desk with all the art materials that’s calling her – maybe it’s just that she loves being near her big sister’s stuff.
She’s growing up fast, becoming more inquisitive, and any extra help sure does come in handy. Just last week, while i was cooking dinner, i overheard the two of them giggling in the lounge. Nosey Mommy that i am, i switched to Black Ops: Stealth Mode and tip-toed over to get a better look. There, spread out across the living room floor, were my two darling daughters, one big, one little, side by side on their tummies, Kayla teaching Sara to ‘draw’. I don’t think ‘the drawing’ part went all that well – there was more ink on her hands and her clothes than on the paper (yay – ‘mom win’, bought washable markers!) – but the ‘sister bonding’ was just perfect.
We have our ups and downs. And i know that the future’s going to be very interesting – sixteen year olds with first time boyfriends and ‘annoying’ little three year old sisters might make for some funny stories!
But, in the long run, as i watch my girls, i know, our future looks bright, if a little different. My oldest will be done with high school before my youngest even starts primary. My youngest won’t be done with high school until 2036, and by that time, my oldest will probably be driving (piloting?) a flying car to drop off her own kids at daycare on her way to work. But i bet you she’ll be stopping by all the time to visit her little sister.
Is there an age gap between your children? Did that bother you? Or was that a blessing?