When I was pregnant with R I worried alot about the age gap, about the fact that at just turned 4 years old E was already an old soul, very grown up and that maybe due to a loss in between I had left it too late for them really to bond. That they would be into different things, at a different time in their life and that it would be like parenting only children – twice over! Of course people do it all the time and even with bigger age gaps but because it isn’t how I had envisaged or planned it I started to doubt that this would be the playmate I so wanted for our Little Lady. Boy was I wrong. R has just become an extension that given the choice E would never be without. She doubles the fun and even today as we headed off to a party for E’s school friend she asked if R could come, because she wants to share everything with her partner in crime.
I look at them, watch them interact, play and run around together and I see the pure joy that nothing but a sibling can bring. I see them mirror each other in almost everything they do and truth be told I see so much of them in each other, friends and family say that E looks like Eddy and R like me, that they are so different in personality, and looking closely I can see that but for me, and when they are together I think they look just like the other, their mannerisms so similar and it feels like raising E all over again. They sit in the playroom and chat like two old washer women even though R talks in one word sentences, when they play and laugh they just fit, on the trampoline one falls one way and the other another in an almost instinctive way. They perfectly fit and I absolutely could not imagine not having both of them around.
I wouldn’t say they have a particularly physically affectionate relationship, E preferring the side by side approach. She has always been like this and even when R was a newborn she wasn’t wanting to hold her all the time or cuddle and kiss her so much as “can you place her next to me”, but I think that comes with the age gap and her personality, she was always affectionate in her own way, always helping out and curious. Now she kisses her on the forehead, holds her hand to help her or places a protective palm on her back to guide her away from impending trouble. It makes the moments of closeness that much more special too as they touch hands each side of the playroom doors, kiss each other with the safety of the shower screen or the very special times they do have an impromptu cuddle.
Of course it isn’t all bluebell woods and smiles, since the arrival of R I have felt a little run ragged. Sometimes I admit that I mourn the more carefree days of 1 child that was definitely less manic, more time to talk, to reason, to sit and take it all in and to seem like I had got this all covered, that once E was sorted, fed, watered, well rested you have some time before they need something else. A rare occurrence these days. Yet I can’t actually remember what that was like, what it was like without her little best friend. Without someone to talk to and without the very person that has brought out the childlike innocence, the fun, the crazy and the confidence in E that I will forever be grateful for. People say an age gap lessens as they get older and I have definitely felt that this month and it makes me so excited to spend every day watching their bond, their relationship grow.
Last week we went in search of bluebells, I have been looking for weeks and as we drove around past all the beautiful sights of purply blue that were encased by barbed wire and signs of private property I was determined to find a place to stop, to explore the beauty before it was too late for the year and I would spend the next 12 months finding the perfect spot. But luckily down another country road we spied them through the trees. As my little ladies wandered through trying to find a space where they wouldn’t disturb the carpet of flowers seemingly not trodden before they followed each other, shared their experience, their day. As they sat down on a log for a snack they looked so much the same, even when R is grumpy and tired E seems to pick up the vibes and I actually really love the photo where they both look suitably unimpressed with the situation, with the same expression, the furrowed brow and the scrunched up nose.
It is easy to see the photos and edit out the grumpy faces, but for me sibling life is just this, the smiles, the fun, the laughter, the grumps and the fact that it can turn from one to the other and back again in the blink of an eye, it isn’t all easy but it is all totally worth it.