“The best gift you can give them… Each other!”
My friend Heather made this comment on the above picture when Hubby posted it on Facebook the day after Littlest One’s birth. I have trouble explaining our thoughts on their small gap in age any other way. They are two years and two months apart in age. Exactly what we wanted.
Every family has their own thoughts on the ideal separation in age between siblings. For some it’s 18 months, while others need at least five years. According to our family doctor, the “ideal” is 2.5-3 years. I have no idea what that’s based on and I find it interesting that someone thought it was worth the research, but it is what it is: a recommendation. Though, as with anything, there are plenty of suggestions, there is no universal right or wrong answer; only what works for each individual family.
Our decision to expand our family was not one we took lightly. We did decide “to let nature take its course” with number two. But before LM’s birth, we had frequent discussions about what we wanted. We always knew we wanted at least two children and we wanted them close together. We both have siblings close in age to us and we love our relationships with them.
That aside, about a year after LM was born, I considered stopping at one. I’d won a six month battle with stress induced depression (not professionally diagnosed postpartum, though I believe it was a mild case) and was finally feeling more like myself again. In addition to finally feeling comfortable in my own skin, I loved our bond. I loved having our special time together and I worried that I’d have trouble giving LM enough attention with the addition of another.
Though Hubby understood these feelings, he reminded me that our decision wasn’t just about us or even about LM’s bond with either of us. For our family, our decision’s more of a bigger picture thing. It’s about wanting our children to have the closest possible relationship. We want them to always have each other, no matter what happens to us.
Now, obviously, I know things happen and siblings don’t always get to have each other forever either, because life is life. AND because we were lucky enough to find each other and start a family at a young age, our children will hopefully have us in their lives for a very long time. AND siblings can be more than ten years apart and still have a close bond. That’s not really my point, though. When I talk about having each other, I’m talking about a specific kind of sibling relationship. It’s such a special bond based on shared experiences and much different than the bond with a much older sibling or parent.
It’s hard for me to explain what my relationship with my sister is like. I feel like it’s almost supernatural. We are so different in so many ways, and yet so connected. No matter how far apart we live from each other or how often we talk, we know each other inside and out. We don’t always know what’s going on in the others’ life or what the heck the other was thinking, but we’re pretty good at reading each other and knowing how to provide support. Yes, we fought like crazy as kids and we probably competed for attention (thought I don’t remember ever feeling that way), but my parents always encouraged us to hold each other close.
So, though it doesn’t work for everyone, and there are days I already wonder “What, IN THE WORLD, was I thinking??”, I’m so happy my boys have one another. It’s worth every second of sleep deprivation!