Friday, November 12, 2010

6 1/2 years

That's the difference in ages of my children. I've spent a fair amount of time during the past 5 years bemoaning the fact that my children would not be closer in age. Even after I got pregnant with Ben and, yes, even since he's been born I've spent time thinking about and feeling frustrated about this. Of course, I truly am grateful to even have had a second. There was time that I feared Lucy would be an only child. There was a time when it looked most likely that we would add to our family via international adoption and then our kids would have been even farther apart in age. But truly, despite all my angst about it, the age difference between Lucy and Ben has been in some ways a blessing.

Lucy and Ben adore each other. Nothing makes my heart sing like watching her read to him or listening to her make him laugh. Sure she is and will continue to be very motherly to him. Hopefully he won't resent it too much as he get's older, but right now he just lights up around her. Also, to be frank, he is a handful and I feel every minute of my 41 years, so having Lucy be relatively more self sufficient is wonderful. Not only does she not need the same level of care, but she actually helps out with Ben a lot. She'll play with him so I can take a quick shower or throw some laundry in the washer or cook dinner. She reads to him and plays silly games that make him laugh out loud.

One downside is that Lucy has a lot of activities and Ben is hard to take out, so we often divide and conquer. This means that we don't go out too often as a family, but right now it's what works best for us. Also, I know that it's not forever, once he’s older and a little easier to handle we'll do more things together. Another benefit is that we're not trying to get two kids to a bunch of different activities. Lucy participates in a lot (probably too many) activities and I can imagine the additional logistics that would be required if we had to get Ben to practices or games too.

I used to worry a lot about what kind of relationship Lucy and Ben would have with 6 1/2 years between them, but my and my husband’s families are good examples that years apart don't dictate how well you get along with your siblings. My sister and I are 4 years apart and we’re not super close, but we get along well and talk frequently. My husband is 2 years younger than his sister and 2 years older than his brother and none of them ever talk to each other. They put up with each other once or twice a year at holidays and that’s it. So I see firsthand that being close in age doesn’t mean kids will grow up to be close. Also, a former roommate of mine was 6 years older than her brother and they were very close.

So while I still struggle sometimes with lingering feelings of anger and self pity and envy leftover from the years of infertility and treatment, I'm pretty OK with the difference in age of my kids.

8 comments:

aka the Mom said...

My younger brother and I are 7 1/2 years apart. We have been close all of our lives and he is now my best friend. The age gap is not important at all.

Just my $.02

Shelli said...

Well, we are facing 8-9+ years difference when we get where we're heading (did I tell you my project)? I hear Moms talk about spacing in age all the time, and "planning" to space out future additions. I cringe a little thinking about that last part. I realize most of the free world can plan like that and it just brings out the bitterness in me. :-)

Geohde said...

My sister an I were close, my twins obviously are, but if I am lucky enough to have another child, well, we're three+ years at best. It doesn't matter in the long term, but it sucks to not have control over it, eh?

g

Louise said...

Nearly 6 years between my 2 boys (the 2nd born just this last May after IVF) For so long I thought about the widening age gap and was jealous of the close spaced siblings you see everywhere (while being so scared we'd never have another). Now that he's here I've done a full 180 - sorry for those with less than a 3-4 year gap! It's been wonderful for us, already the bond between the boys is lovely, without a lot of the sibling rivalry or issues that often arise. It's early days yet, but I love being able to have one-on-one time with the little one while the elder is at school and I don't feel stretched in the way I suspect I would with them close in age. I'm sure the toddler years will bring their own challenges but for now it's great

Meghan said...

I don't think the gap has any beaing on the type of relationship. I think it is the parents and kids personalities.

notdancingqueen said...

You know that was one of the things I was most upset about when I went through my secondary infertility stuff. And you know the age difference in the girls -- 4.5 years I agree it was a blessing in disguise, and it keeps getting better. And DH is far closer to his sister (9 years younger) than to his next oldest brother (2 years younger.) Keep your chin up - I miss you. xx

La La said...

I'm glad you posted about this. My 3 are all almost the same age but Hubby and I have discussed having one more...in about four years. That would be a huge age difference (about 5 or 6 years) and I don't know if that child will feel alienated being the only one with THREE older siblings who are all close. Glad to read that your children are enjoying each other despite the age difference. I actually think that my kids would LOVE a younger sibling once they were old enough to know what that meant.

Lorraine said...

I guess I have to think that age gap doesn't matter since mine are so far apart - but even when I only had one (and was so desperately hoping for another) I was so glad that I didn't have two close together. The moms always seem on the edge and the kids are usually bicker monsters. (Not always, of course, but often.) And I think the parents are so used to it they don't really even notice, so it just goes on and on and on...

I love that my daughter and I have our own relationship, separate from the baby. We don't always have to share our time together with him, even just our evening ritual of reading on the couch. And when she is spending time with him she is wonderful - I can tell that as he gets older he will just adore the kind of fun he can have with her that my old-age self will be thrilled to get out of. Like endless bouts of ring-around-the-rosy. Definitely not looking forward to that...

In the end, you get what you get - and hopefully it works out really well and you end up saying you'd do it the exact same way all over again. What else can you do?