Obviously age gaps have never really been an issue for me. Those who know my story know that I was 18 years old when I met my husband. He was 39, going through his second divorce, had 3 children and had already lived a HUGE life. One I could hardly begin to understand.
Yet I was so drawn to him, so attracted and absorbed by him and his story that I didn’t care about the 21 year age gap. I just wanted to be with him. Age didn’t matter then, and now at 33 and 54, it hasn’t mattered yet. We were meant to be together, we just fit, and the years between us do not define that. I remember people asking me what we could possibly have in common, and surely this was just a fling because, well “he IS TWENTY ONE YEARS OLDER THAN YOU!” Honestly, it’s been 15 years and we haven’t run out of things to talk about yet, and he makes me laugh every.single.day, so whatevs? The very apparent connection between us has always made people look twice when they meet us. We have often giggled at (mostly middle aged) women staring at us mouths gaping open as we walk past hand in hand.
Fast forward a few years and we now have this houseful of boy children in varying ages. Michael was 8 when we finally fell pregnant with Mason. Everyone commented on how big their age gap would be. How they would never really be friends because Michael wouldn’t be interested in the baby, would be a moody preteen when Mas got big enough to play. And how the little guy was going to just going to annoy his older brother and break his things. I mean… Come on people.
Why do people say these things to a mom? Like there isn’t enough to worry about as you’re transitioning from one child to two. I already had so much on my plate during that time, too much to mention in this post, but adding another baby boy to our little family where Michael had only ever known himself to be the centre of everyone’s world was weighing heavily on my heart.
As a child, my sister (5 years younger than me) and brother (7 years younger than me) and I had never been friends. We are now as adults, but never as kids. I’m not sure if that was because I was just awful (totally possible), or if our parents just believed that the gap was too big and never really kindled that relationship. It’s unfortunate because we missed out on special childhood moments I see my boys sharing.
I made a promise to myself that my boys would be friends. That they would love each other, respect each other, and their brotherhood bond would be strong. Because age gaps don’t mean a thing. And you know what? Those 8 years that separate the birth dates of those two boys of mine, have never been an issue. In fact my 11 year old and 4 year old are the very best of friends. They will tell you that themselves.
Add in another little brother 2 years later and I was way more chilled. I’d paved the way and the boys were thrilled to have a new brother in their pack. Again the critics warned me to be prepared for Mason to act out and be ugly towards his baby brother because they were close in age and he would be jealous. Apparently you can’t win and everyone has an opinion. Thankfully Mason loved his baby brother from belly to Mom’s arms and has never shown any jealousy towards his baby brother.
Mika has been the baby and up until a few months ago he wasn’t really much fun to play with. Read: destroyer of toys and clinger to mommy. But there has been a shift recently and suddenly they play together all day long. Whether it is growling dinosaurs or racing cars, stacking colors or building Duplo blocks. They play. I’ve also noticed how they’ve made up their own little games and even though Mika only says a few words, they all communicate perfectly. They giggle little secrets. They share their snacks, toys and clothes. They hug and kiss and comfort each other. And if Mika cries after hurting himself, Mason will be the first to run and wrap his arms around his brother and say “Don’t worry Mika, I am still your best fwend.”
Michael is honestly the best big brother that ever was and plays with both of them equally. They adore him. He is “the fun big brother” – often WAY more fun than mom. And it is regularly him who will settle any disagreement between the smaller boys. I totally lucked out or I just wished it so.
Whatever the reason, I glanced over yesterday and saw my three children sitting on the couch, in our hotel room in the middle of Lagos, sharing a roll of sweets and giggling at something I will never understand and I got a little tearful as I thought : Wow. these little humans that I made are my whole heart. They love each other. Really really. They are not only brothers, but they are friends. Best friends. I can’t believe how blessed I really am.
This is honestly my biggest achievement to date. And my heart explodes.
I pray that this relationship, this bond they share only grows and prospers through the years. Because in this scary world we live in everyone deserves to belong to a strong brotherhood of their own.