I never intended to have kids six years apart, but life most certainly never goes as planned.
Here I sit at the age of 41 with a 10-year-old and a 4-year-old.
My older sister and I were four years apart, while my little brother and I were six, so I really thought I knew what to expect with our daughters’ age difference.
But I’ll be honest. I was completely unprepared for what having children six years apart would be like, so I thought I’d enlighten you, so you can be better prepared than I was.
I had no idea that two kids, six years apart, could argue so much. For real.
Sometimes it’s over bacon.
Seriously. I’ve had to intervene numerous times at breakfast because both of them wanted to eat the most pieces, and I was sure it was going to end with someone throwing up.
OK, it involves food of some sort a lot of the time. Maybe it’s just because they have my genes and both like to eat, but there are way more throw-downs over food than I ever imagined.
They argue over who’s right. Who’s my favorite. Who gets to have pink as her favorite color. Whose mother I actually am. Of course, the 4-year-old swears that I’m only her mom, and doesn’t catch her older sister’s sarcasm that I was hers first.
On a more positive note, I had never considered how they are exactly what the other needs at this point in their lives.
Our oldest provides the maturity, wisdom and example that our youngest thrives on.
What I never stopped to consider, though, is the important role our youngest daughter, Ava, plays in her older sister, Olivia’s, life.
Ava keeps Olivia grounded, pulling her out of her tween focus by involving her in games of tag, hide-and-seek, and Barbies. They color or paint together almost daily, and in-home dance classes and sword fights are a frequent occurrence. Sure, she says “no” from time to time. Sometimes she plays with her out of sheer obligation, but more often than not, I’ve been witness to the joy and reckless abandon to which Olivia plays with her little sister.
We often remark that our children keep us young, but I see now how having young children at home keeps our older children young at heart.
Having two girls with this age difference sometimes feels like such a strange dichotomy.
While I’m buying overnight pull-ups for one, I’m buying maxi-pads for the other. Groan with me over both of these circumstances.
While one child can be dressed and out the door in under a minute, the other painstakingly curates herself in a timeframe that has no constraints.
While Ava can’t seem to breathe without me, Olivia spends more and more time alone in her room.
While the preschooler can’t make a decision and keep it for even a minute, the tween’s mind was made up before I even posed the question. It certainly makes any kind of group decision-making process an interesting one.
While one wants to hit up every bouncy house, play gym area around, the other would rather hit up Ulta.
Two children, so far apart in age. The older they get, the greater that gap between them seems to be.
Yet as hard as the differences between them are to manage some days, I honestly can’t imagine them any other way.
They’re unique in and of their own right as individuals, and together as sisters, they form a combination that is complementary, with a bond that can’t be broken.
They bring out the best in one another (and yes, sometimes the worst, it seems), they bring out the best in me, and I’m so excited to watch their relationship change and grow as they age.
And who knows? Maybe one day they’ll stop fighting over the bacon. A mother can dream!
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