I don’t know what you consider a big age gap but my oldest and youngest kids have almost 12 years between them. My boys were born only 3.5 years apart (it would have been three but we had an early miscarriage) but it took us four years to have our daughter so our middle child is eight years older than his sister. When she starts kindergarten, our oldest could already be out living on his own and our middle boy will be a teenager (gulp).
Having kids with a big age gap is not what I planned. I thought I’d have three or four kids a couple years apart. In my original plan, I’d have been done having babies by my mid thirties, not having my third at age 40!
So here’s the deal about the big age gap. This third pregnancy, birth and postpartum were by far the easiest of the three. I credit being older, wiser and calmer as well as having self-sufficient older kids. Having my parents nearby and a self-employed husband definitely helped. The biggest determining factor, though, is I came into her pregnancy much healthier and I knew how important it was to take it easy and relax for the duration.
Our sons were in the delivery room next to my parents hugging each other when Kate was born. As soon as my husband caught her and they placed her in my arms, the boys came over to meet her. A little while later in the recovery room, we asked our oldest how he felt about the whole experience. What he said melted my heart. “Now I know what happy tears feel like.” You can see it in his expression in the photo below.
Since then he has held her, sung to her, told her stories, helped soothe her and has reveled in every developmental milestone. He loves taking care of her and he enjoys carrying her around and showing her off. Making her laugh is his number one goal. He’s especially eager to teach her math (and thank goodness because it’s not my strong suit).
Our middle child has adjusted more slowly. When Kate was a newborn, he would admire her but little else. Now that she responds and plays more, he’s spending more time with her. She adores him and cracks up when he so much as enters the room. He loves making her toys battle each other or tossing a ball up and down to entertain her. I know he can sometimes feel stuck between everyone admiring the baby and congratulating his brother’s accomplishments but we make an effort to help him feel special and it seems to be going OK so far.
Day to day, the boys are pretty low maintenance and Kate fits in well. They fight over who pushes her stroller or sits next to her in the car. Yesterday we left all three kids plus a friend’s son with my mom while we went on a triple date because our boys are easy and keep themselves occupied. In fact, when I needed to edit this post, I put her near the boys in her Jumperoo so they could all entertain each other.
I am now a fan of the big age gap. I feel I am at my best with her, even with more gray hair and a body that requires more sleep. I enjoy her more. I take her everywhere with me. It’s like being a first time mom all over again except without the stress of the unknown and with the joy that comes from knowing what’s truly important and that things mostly work out.
Yes, there are times it hits me that the big age gap also means I’ll be 58 years old when Kate graduates from high school. I could be pushing 70 by the time she has kids of her own. But then I remind myself of how heavenly these last eight months have been and how much I will enjoy her in the time I have before she enters kindergarten plus all the celebrations and milestones beyond that and I know the timing is perfect.