To be honest, Ben and I know that we want to have more children at some point (if we are fortunate enough that is): Ben in fact would welcome baby no2 rather sooner than later, because he loved being close in age to his sister, they aren’t even a year apart, but I haven’t given this whole age gap thing much thought yet, because I am not entirely sure, if it really matters how big a gap there is between your children.
You might argue that it’s more practical to have your children closer together, because you don’t have to buy all the baby gear you will need or because you are already used to the lack of sleep. Or you might think that having a little age gap between your children will make them best friends that entertain each other, when you have to have to do the housework, but I’m quite sure that there is no perfect age gap between siblings. There are pros and cons no matter from which side you look at the discussion. While my sister in law thinks the six year age gap between her daughters is great, I found the almost six years between my sister and me rather big at times. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister to bits, I really do, but I didn’t always get along with her as good as I do today.
My sister was born four months before my sixth birthday and if I am being completely honest, it was a shock to my system. I had always wanted a sister and when my parents told me that I would have a brother or sister, I was incredibly proud. Then came the day when I got to meet her in hospital and apparently I was a little underwhelmed when the nurse held her up behind the window. ‘Can we exchange her?’, I asked my grandad. I was used to having my parents all to myself and having their full attention whatever I did. Having to share it with a new baby did not go down well with me and for some reason the feeling of having to fight for praise and attention didn’t leave me until I finished school.
I don’t know why it was then, but when I started uni, my sister and I just clicked and got on much better. Before, we were constantly arguing, mostly because my sister wanted to ‘play with us’ when I had friends round or I thought that my dad treated me unfair, because he preferred my sister over me. I often felt misunderstood and thought that I got the blame for things that I hadn’t even done. Once I had finished school, we got so much closer. We started doing things together and to really enjoy each other’s company. We went shopping. To the ice-cream parlour or the cinema. We ganged up on our parents, planned holidays together or smeared revoltingly smelling masks on our faces while we were weeping into our tissues when Mufasa fell down the cliff on one of our ten thousand “The Lion King” evenings. Once the world’s biggest enemies (from my side of things), my sister and I became best friends.
Getting older has opened my eyes: All my sister ever wanted was my attention and friendship, while I was feeling sorry for myself and begrudging that I wasn’t the number 1 any more. My little sister was always there for me, often being much more mature than I was back then. Sticking up for me and convincing my dad to let me go to parties that he didn’t want to let me go to. Pulling me out of some serious trouble and taking some down-right nastiness from me. Getting older has showed me that there was no need to be jealous. That all my parents did was take my sister by their hands to show her things that they knew I could do on my own. Getting older has showed me that I have the most amazing sister in the world. She could have given up on us ever becoming friends. She could have turned her back on me and walked away. But she didn’t and that’s why I love her more than words can say. A little girl, almost 6 years younger than me, has showed me what the true bond between sisters can mean and that’s why our age gap was just perfect – for me.