Three Perspectives: Sibling Age Gap
By: Melanie Braga
Many, many years ago at the age of seven, I remember going to my mom and asking her if we could have a baby that I could play with. I also recall very clearly that not too long after that conversation, my mom told me that she was having a baby. I was thrilled to hear that I was going to have a baby brother or sister to play with and I was also wondering how come I never got anything else that I asked for! Well played mom! 😉
42 weeks later, my mother gave birth to a baby girl and of course my new sister. At first, I was a little disappointed to find out that I had a sister since everyone in my family had mentioned that I was going to get a baby brother. So naturally, at seven years of age you feel that you were cheated in some way. The feeling of disappointment left quickly when I met my baby sister for the very first time. I also had the opportunity to inspire my mom to name her Karen.
This was the beginning of a forever relationship that has had many ups, downs and craziness! But one that is cherished and will be treasured to the end of time.
Many parents are faced with that difficult question on when to have their next child (if they choose to) and what age gap would be the best. Well, there is no right answer for this as every family is different and it is all dependent on what you feel fits for you. So I thought I should provide three perspectives on my sibling age gap which as you can tell from the story above, is seven years.
My sister and I usually get shock reactions from people when they hear that we are seven years apart as they feel it is a huge age gap. But just like everything in life, there are pros and cons to everything.
Writing this article was a great opportunity to talk with my mom and find out why the age gap and I was enlightened by her response. Our mother stated that the age gap helped her take care of us in a better way. Since I was seven years of age I was a little older to help her when she needed and I didn’t need as much attention as I did when I was younger. She felt that this age gap gave her the energy she needed to care for a newborn again and to go through the whole process once more. There is not a single day that she regrets the age gap as it worked for her and she also experienced having an older sister as well. Their age gap is 17 years and they have always been very close. All my mother has known is building positive relationships with her siblings and is one that she instilled in us growing up. Of course, no sibling relationship is perfect as there are always disagreements but our mom says that those are just little bumps in the road and you get passed them. The advice to new parents from Momma Braga Senior is, “follow what is right for you and don’t worry about what others say. Everything always works out for the best.”
Now it was time to get my baby sister’s perspective on our seven year age gap and I could tell she was excited to tell me her thoughts. Karen stated that there were pros and cons to the age gap; however, there were a lot more pros in her eyes than cons. Due to the age gap, she felt that she could comfortably ask me questions on different topics and situations in life as I had the age experience under my belt. She knew that she always had someone there to help her with her homework and anything else that she may have needed. Karen also truly enjoyed the extra wardrobe that she had in my room which helped her be “fashion trendy” with her friends (this would be one of my cons as the older sister). She also liked that we had very different circle of friends which helped us build our own personalities. Another pro that Karen really liked was my ability to help her mediate disagreements with our parents as I had a different understanding on their values and their personalities.
The disadvantage was that the age gap was more noticeable when were much younger as she would play on her own a lot as I wouldn’t be at the age to play with her. However, Karen stated that by playing on her own, provided her the opportunity to be creative and imaginative. The advice to new parents from Momma Braga’s sister is, “Having an older sibling is someone that you can look up to. They are that forever friend that you can talk to and help guide you through some tough times.”
Life with a younger sibling had its disadvantages when I was a younger age but overall it has had many benefits. Let me start with the disadvantages first as it is always better to ripe the bandage right off 😉
The constant tag along companion was a little much especially when you’re a teenager and you want some privacy. The missing clothes from my closest was also an annoying habit but now that I know I was “fashion trendy,” makes this one not that bad anymore. And of course, there are always little arguments, or disagreements since our views are a bit different due to our age gap.
However, all these disadvantages are minor in my books since I have a forever friend in my life.
The advantages of having a younger sibling is that I always had a little helper. This may sound mean but it sure made life a little easier and it was called, favors. Whenever I need something, I know I can always cash in a sister favor and she is always ready to help when I need it. I also have someone who understands me and even though we may not agree on everything, she will always have my back. I have a forever fan and supporter in everything that I do – no matter how crazy the idea may be! The best advantage so far is that she has the energy that I need to help me with my energetic toddler and she makes herself available to babysit when I have an appointment to go to – love those!
My advice to all of you is to do what you feel is best for you and your family. If you feel that a 2 year, 3 year, 5 year or even 10 year age gap is what works best for you, then all the power to you! Just follow your heart and instinct!
This piece was to show how the age gap can just simply be a number and nothing more. My relationship with my sister is one that I love and wouldn’t change it for the world. Even though I was originally disappointed that the baby boy everyone mentioned never arrived, I wouldn’t exchange my baby sister for anything in the world. I will cherish all our arguments, conversations, tears, and memories (good and bad) forever as they are what shaped me as a person and as a mother.
Special thank you to my mom and my sister, Karen, for contributing to this piece! Much love to the both of you!
Until next time…….Happy Parenting! J
– Momma Braga