There is nothing like it in this world.
– Charlotte Bronte
We didn’t plan to have children six years apart. Someone recently told me that when kids are six years apart, their birth order personalities are the same as only children.
I don’t know if that’s true, but we definitely didn’t plan on having two only children. (Only two, sure. Two onlies, not so much.)
But after Annalyn’s birth was so traumatic, having another baby was far from our minds for a long time. Well, that’s putting it mildly. To put it bluntly, I was scared.
By the time I decided I was probably ready to have another baby, years had passed. And then, as many of you likely know, pregnancy doesn’t always happen the minute you want it to. As more time passed and we didn’t get pregnant, I began wondering if maybe we weren’t going to have another baby at all.
I got older. We needed counseling. (We got counseling). We questioned our desire for another child, wondering if we truly wanted a baby or if we simply didn’t want Annalyn to be an only child. Then we questioned whether that was motive enough.
More time passed. We got comfortable as a family of three.
I gave away a bin of baby clothes. I cried. I made peace.
We traded in our family-size car for a small sedan.
And then? We found out we were finally having another baby.
When I told Mark, he was surprised and more subdued than I expected. Then again, he’d just woken up so he was sleepy, too. When we told Annalyn, she was giddy. Out of her mind, over the moon excited. Giggling and screaming and dancing around the dinner table.
(Mark said, “That’s how I meant to react…” Heh.)
As the months went by, Annalyn remained excited. Crazy excited. Even when I was too tired to play…or cook dinner. Even when we rearranged her room, when we pulled out her old toys and books and clothes and said, “No, these are for the baby now!” and when the baby got as many Christmas presents as she did.
Even then, she Could! Not! Wait! to be a big sister.
Her face when she saw her baby sister for the first time? Priceless. Beautiful. (And, you can’t see it here, but mostly a Smile That Wouldn’t Stop.)
Of course, in the spirit of not letting people just be happy, that’s when the comments started.
“Oh, just wait…”
“Sure, she loves her NOW…”
“They’ll be fighting before you know it!”
Um, thanks, people.
I’m aware that they may certainly have days, seasons, even years of squabbling and tattling and she stole my flat iron-ing. But for now? Right now? Nine months in?
MY TWO GIRLS ADORE EACH OTHER.
It’s to the point of ridiculous, really.
Adrienne can spend 25 minutes fussy and crying between the babysitter’s house and the elementary school, making my wait in the pickup line less than delightful. But the second Annalyn opens up that back door, that cranky baby stops crying and grins so big I swear her cheeks must hurt. Then they spend the three-minute drive home giggling and cooing at each other. Ridiculous. And ADORABLE.
I mean, really.
They crack each other up all day long. And they’ve already started causing trouble together. Annalyn refuses to go to bed without One More Hug from her sister, and Adrienne often takes twice as long as necessary to eat her dinner because she’s too busy tracking her sister’s every move around the room.
A scary first birth, a slow second birth and all the hard things in between? Big lemons. But the bond already growing between my two amazing girls?
Beautiful lemonade I wouldn’t trade for anything.
How have you found lemonade with your family?
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This made me cry! I love it. And boo to the people who have to “warn” you about things that may or may not happen. Let them be happy!!
I loved this! I don’t have a sister (boo) but I do have two older brothers. They are 7 and 4 years older than I am. The oldest and I always got along, always. That 7 years was a good gap. Same with my boys, Joshua and Jonah. 7 years but they are the best of friends.
Now, my brother who is 4 years older – we are also the best of friends. But weren’t until I was 14 and he was 18. Seems to me 4 years is a far more dangerous gap (and coincidentally the same gap between my middle and youngest – yikes!)
I agree with Dana. People say “just wait” about everything pertaining to kids. If age two is bad, wait until three, etc. But, since they are further apart in age, you might have a lot less fighting actually. Mine are two years and two weeks apart and they have their ups and downs but have finally started playing and it is neat to see. I try to focus on that instead of the bickering. Regardless, when your girls are 26 and 32, the age difference won’t seem as large.
By the way, I’ve always heard that “seven years” was the “only child” cut-off. I suspect that stereotype depends on a lot of factors though.
Do people wonder if your kids are from different marriages/parents? I usually think that when I see the age gap, but know it isn’t always true. I need to work on that.
I have heard that siblings are the longest relationship you will have in this earthly life: parents eventually pass on, friends cycle in and out, even cousins or other relatives may or may not be close. A sibling knows you and your beginnings and (Lord willing) will bear witness to your life from pre-school through middle school, college, marriage, and beyond. They are our peers and our mirrors. I cannot think of anything better than having a sister!
AND I agree with the commenters above, the longer age-gap bodes well for less squabbling! My sister and I are 17 months apart and while always the best of friends, we bickered to madness until middle school passed! My own children are spaced closely and they pick on each other, but are also the best of pals. I often describe them as a little team.
I think this is part of the reason I totally embraced having three girls; I love watching my little girls play together and cheer each other up when no one else (including me) can. There is something very special about sisters….Perhaps because females tend to be more relationship oriented so they often end up nurturing this relationship on a daily basis for the rest of their lives. I also think this is part of the reason people sometimes say, “more kids are actually easier to take care of in some ways”. When Rosie was about 6 weeks old, I realized that Eliza was my best resource for entertaining her and quieting her when she was sad…much easier to have big sister take care of that than trying to do it yourself! And I agree with other comments that Annalyn and Adrienne are far enough apart in age (as well as the fact that their personalities mesh well together) that you probably won’t have to worry about much squabbling.
Love, love, love this!!! Thank you for sharing!!!! I’m never sure what our future holds regarding another child — and while I’m super grateful for the one we have and need space after some trauma with his birth too — it’s hard to let it go. I kinda just want to be in my 40s and KNOW how my life is going to go regarding kids. Seems silly, and I don’t want this time to fly by, but the waiting and wondering is hard. Anyway, thank you for sharing your story! I always love hearing about it. And those pics are killer, so cute!!
So cuuuuute! My girls are 6 years apart too-now they are both moms. :) Love your girls’ names too! :) For the past decade I’ve had a lot of lemon days with the hubby (yep, even after almost 40 years – this December). But the Lord graciously pours me another glass of lemonade each week…just enough to keep me going. God is good…this I must remember. And sometimes I just stay in the prayer closet all day – drinking what else – lemonade! :)
Love this! It’s such a crazy blessing to see my kids loving each other. I would love Libbie to have a sister, but I’ve worried if we did have a fourth and it was a girl, they will be too far apart to bond. Obviously that is not true! (Not that I am planning on that fourth anytime soon …)