One day I was at the store buying a new cell phone, trying to wrap up the transaction as the salesperson tried to talk about more things I could buy–an extra charger, a screen protector, and other accessories. I told him no thanks to everything he offered, so he moved on to looking at our account and saying it looked like my husband’s phone could use an upgrade and to send him in. I just said OK to end that part of the conversation. He then asked if I had kids.

“I have a 3-year-old, and he’s not getting a phone anytime soon,” I replied, getting very annoyed at this point.

“Oh, no, I wasn’t trying to sell you another phone,” he replied, “but if he’s three you should have another kid. That’s a good age gap.” He then went on to list his kids ages and how many years they were apart.

This is not the first time I have been told I should be having another kid, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

And this obviously came out of nowhere–I’m trying to wrap up my cell phone transaction, and he’s telling me when I should be having kids.

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I’ve heard from people that I’ve missed the boat on the two-year age gap, which apparently is also very ideal. When my son was two and I was at a medical appointment, the receptionist asked when our next baby was coming. She knows we adopted, and like many people, seems to be under the impression we just call up the adoption agency whenever we want a baby. When I told her we would love to adopt again but I had no control over when that would be, she said, “Oh . . . well, if you adopt when your son turns three that’s still an OK age gap!”

Truly though, is there a perfect age gap? I’m not freaking out yet over not meeting society’s perfect age gap scenario because I know from experience siblings can be close even if the age gap is larger between them.

I have two siblings, a sister who is three years younger and a brother who is five years younger. Three years fits into the ideal age gap as far as I’ve been told, but I’ve never ever heard someone tell me, “Wait to have another kid until your son is five. Five years is the perfect age gap!”

Despite the fact that my brother and I are five years apart, we are super close. To clarify, my sister who is three years younger than me lives out of state, so while we are close we have not been able to share the same experiences my brother and I have as adults.

The focus here is to illustrate a close relationship between siblings who have a larger age gap.

As kids, I played with both of my siblings. I don’t recall being closer to my sister because her age was closer to me than my brother. I loved both of my siblings. Yes, being three years apart from my sister meant we shared a year of middle school, and later a year of high school, together. My brother and I never went to the same school. So yes, there are some things a sibling who is closer in age may share that they would not otherwise if there were a larger age gap between them.

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Once you become adults though, I’d say age doesn’t really prevent you from sharing much at all, if anything. Although I guess I’ll be able to join organizations like AARP five years sooner than my brother.

As adults, my brother and I have shared a lot of experiences.

One summer as adults my brother and I lived together and had a blast. I cried when it was time for him to move out.

We had the same group of friends for several years in our adult lives.

We met our spouses in the same young adult group. I actually was friends with my now sister-in-law before she started dating my brother and was so happy when they started dating. I had actually known my brother liked Katie, and had been hoping they’d start dating.

Our weddings were six months apart.

We ended up buying houses in the same city, less than two miles from each other. We actually even moved in within a few days of each other. If one of us needs something, the other is very close by. And having someone in my family nearby to me means so much.

My son and my brother’s oldest daughter are just a little over two months apart in age. They will grow up together, along with my brother’s second child. Being so close in age, my son and his cousin go through a lot of the same things around the same time, and it’s so nice to have my brother to talk to about things.

My grandma has told me she’s never seen siblings as close as my brother and me.

So although my brother makes jokes about my age (I heard a lot about turning 30 when he was still young and in his 20s, and I’m sure I’ll never hear the end of turning 40 first), the age gap has not prevented us from being close friends.

Knowing how close I am with my five years younger than me brother gives me a reason not to panic when people start telling me I’m running out of time for the perfect age gap between kids. I know shared experiences, not ages, are what make a sibling relationship.

Kimberly Keys

Kimberly is a stay-at-home Mom to her long-awaited precious son who joined our family through the miracle of adoption. She loves watching her toddler discover new things, especially when exploring the parks around her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. You can follow her writing on Facebook at Kimberly Keys, Writer