When I found out I was pregnant with my third child only six months after giving birth to my second I cried. I was happy, yet terrified. I cried again when I found out I was having a daughter after two sons. I doubted whether I would know what to do. Whether I could be enough or give enough to these two babies so close in age. I worried what the brother-sister relationship would look like. This was uncharted territory for me and my husband.
I grew up with three sisters and my husband grew up with four brothers. We both understood our own kind and had no idea what it meant to have a sibling of the opposite sex. Would they be close? Would they fight? Would it impact the relationship between the two boys? Would she feel left out? Could they share rooms? Would the bathroom be an issue?
It’s amazing what you worry about when you are pregnant. It’s even more amazing how many of these worries dissolve the moment your baby is placed in your arms.
The closets may be filled with either pink or blue, but the love you feel is the same. I knew everything would be okay the moment my sons were introduced to their sister. Both the eight-year-old and the 16-month-old seemed to melt under the power of this baby girl.
On days when I struggled to balance the needs of three, especially two so close in age, I watched the way my babies interacted. I witnessed what it means to grow up with a best friend – a partner in everything. A reminder of what it was like for me and my sisters.
What I find fascinating is that on the surface my almost twins are opposites. AD is outgoing and loves attention at any cost. B is introverted and prefers to hide from the spotlight. AD is in a perpetual state of movement, while B is content to sit and color or create by herself for hours.
Yet somehow they are a perfect match. Yes, they fight at times. Yes, they like to bother each other. Yes, they compete and get jealous. But, for the most part there is just love. They bathed together for years. They shared a room for years. They still crawl into each other’s beds when they are scared. They share secrets and have inside jokes. When one is sick the other worries and they both know what is happening with each other in school. Their relationship is a gift.
I feel blessed that I have both boys and girls – two of each now. I feel even more blessed by the amount of love there is between everyone. I get such joy from watching the 15-year-old and 8-year-old boys play basketball or wrestle together. I love when the girls dress up together and pretend to play princess. I especially love when all four (yes even the 15-year-old occasionally partakes) chase each other and fall on the floor laughing and tickling.
My greatest wish is for my children to remain connected. That they always remember this bond and carry on a closeness beyond childhood.
My greatest lesson is that the brother-sister relationship can be just as strong as any other because gender is not what matters. It’s the love. It’s always the love that counts most.