I am the mother of four beautiful little people. My first came as a surprise when I was 21 years old. I felt like just a kid myself when I found out I was expecting him. I know my family sure as heck still viewed me as a kid when my news came out. He’s ten now and oh boy, have we been through some things together. I feel like I’ve grown up with that little boy. He watched me graduate with my Bachelors Degree and then my Masters Degree. He watched me go through heartbreak and rebuild myself. He watched me get married and bring three siblings into our home. We have had some amazing adventures and some hard times together, me and that little boy.
He’s ten years old now. Ten years older than his little brother, my youngest.
When I was expecting the youngest people would make comments about the age gap. I’ve heard all the things I didn’t want to. Things about how they will not be close. Some would say, “it sucks it is his brother that’s ten years younger rather than one of his sisters.” And I would be lying if I said I don’t pray that they always remain close.
We are a year into my youngest child’s life and I think I have finally come up with the worst thing about the ten-year age gap.
I know too much.
It’s painful knowing all the things I know.
A decade with my first born has gone so incredibly fast, and I find myself falling into the “enjoy every moment for it goes so fast,” cliché that equally drives me bonkers on those long exhausting days.
But I have clung to and savored my moments with the last baby much more intentionally than I had in the past.
I look back on pictures and videos of the first born over the past ten years and see the many faces, the many voices, and the many phases that have come and gone.
When was the last time he played with trains? Man, he was obsessed with trains. When was the last time he would obsess over baseball stats? He would recite them to his preschool teachers to the point I could tell it was driving them a little crazy.
You think these moments are going to last forever, until one day you don’t even remember when they passed.
It’s such a painful piece of motherhood.
Through the exhaustion, the sleepless nights, the potty training, the tantrums and all the other hardships of the little years, sometimes it feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ll laugh and share, I don’t know if there is light really. The struggles just change, but the hardships of motherhood are constant. The love and the joy in motherhood are constant.
The hardest part about the ten-year age gap is, knowing just how fast this time will go.
But it’s also been the best part.
Knowing the things I know now I have done a lot of things differently.
My birthing experiences could not have been more different.
When I birthed my first I had family in the delivery room, a packed room for our entire stay, and a packed house for what felt like forever once we got home. I couldn’t really tell you when I was alone with my new baby.
And by time I got to baby number four, I got more intentional with my time.
When I birthed my last baby it was just my husband and I. He brought the kids for dinner and to meet the baby the day he was born, and then my husband went home and took care of the other three children that night leaving the baby and me alone at the hospital. I remember my nurses coming in and the look on their faces each time. They weren’t use to a quiet and empty recovery room. It was the most peaceful experience I could imagine. Just laying skin-to-skin in the quiet and soaking up the precious first days with my baby. I was so thankful to pause and wait to hand him off to the family that was eager to meet him.
There is beauty and joy in each birthing experience, both the one with a lot of visitors and the one that was quiet. It’s not even that I necessarily prefer one over the other, but I did learn to be more intentional with my time, my energy, and my space this last time around, and that is something I wish I could go back and whisper to first time mom me.
I’m thankful for the ten-year age gap and the blessings it has given me.
I have been blessed with a perspective that is powerful and important.
I have been blessed to be able to witness the big brother-little brother relationship blossom. I got to see the joy in my first-born’s heart all over his face as he met his baby brother for the first time. It was a joy and a magical moment that comes with age. The toddler’s are more of a wild card when meeting new baby, haha.
I have been blessed with appreciation for the moments, the moments that are temporary but get you to a beautiful destination.
I have been blessed in knowing to slow down and pause, to memorize the faces, the voices, and the stages. I hope they never slip from my memory.
Ten years between my first baby and my last baby. Ten years of change, growth, and evolve throughout this motherhood journey. Ten more years will bring more perspective, new feelings, new pains, and new joys. And the ten years after that will close my chapter for raising children. Who will I be then? Will I remember all the moments I am clinging to right now? Will I continue to be as intentional as I am right now?
So to all the people that told me the ten-year age gap would be a hard one…
You were right, but not for reasons you might think.
And it’s more beautiful than you can imagine.