By Guest Blogger Kathryn Campbell
7 years. 5 months. 2 days.
That was the amount of time I had between visits to the operating room at Women’s Hospital in Greensboro to deliver my children: 7 years. 5 months. 2 days.
That’s a long time. Like, a really long time.
But so it was for me and my husband as we went from having one child (a daughter in 2012) to two (a son in 2020).
It’s amazing how much you can learn about parenting in seven and a half years. Watching your child learn to walk. Watching her learn to read. Watching her on her first day of kindergarten. Seeing the world through her eyes as she explores and finds her favorites.
But it’s also amazing about how much you can forget. For example: we had to purchase new car seats – after all, they expire after 6 years, right? At least that’s what consumerism tells you…and not only buy new car seats but knowing how many to have to buy! How many cars? And do we get one for the grandparents’ car? So many decisions.
Our son is approaching 14 months now and FINALLY sleeping through the night. Before the return to blissful, uninterrupted nights of sleep for the both of us, I had forgotten how difficult the nights can be: The late-night feedings and the bleary-eyed diaper changes…did I mention I forgot about all of the diaper changes? I remain cautiously optimistic that this trend of full nights of sleep continues and my “mom brain” can seem less foggy during the work day.
Now, you may be wondering: how do they get along? They ADORE each other…to a point. Our daughter loves him and loves tending to him – especially when she is asked to babysit him for $1 while we get things done around the house. (I hate when she figures out what the real going rate for babysitters is!) She has never changed a diaper but loves to keep his attention when he is super squirmy on the changing table. However, she has also said she is most excited for her first sleep-away camp this summer because she will get a break from her brother.
As for him? She hangs the moon – there isn’t anyone else I have found that can make him laugh like she can. The two of them going back and forth is one of my most favorite sounds in the world. So we have watched as our daughter has adjusted well to being an only child to a big sister – after all, she didn’t sign on for this! But she’s taken it in stride.
My brother and I are 5 years and 355 days apart. So if I had told my younger self that the two children I always dreamed of would be 387 weeks apart, I would have been a bit miffed. Because when I look at others who have siblings much closer in age, I yearn for some of the things that I see from the outside about their relationships that I think are missing in his and mine. And then I think about my own and pray that this relationship that they currently have can continue.
But ages and stages will look very different in a few years, including crossing over into having a teenager that has a kindergartner for a brother. And we will sort it out as we go. I look forward to it.
If you have children with similar age gaps, share with us what has worked – and hasn’t worked – for your family!
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*Photographer credit: Carrie Lilly of Lilly Photography