21 December. 2019 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety | Family
Our littlest monkey.
Stanley arrived in 2017. The youngest of our four, there is an age gap of 12 years between him and his next brother, 14 between him and his sister and 16 between him and his biggest brother. Age gaps seem to be a point of preference and disagreement, but for our family, this is perfect.
Lee and I were lucky enough to meet when we were young. We’ve spent our entire adult lives together. We’ve had struggles, things weren’t so financially secure for us in the beginning as we didn’t have years of savings behind us, but every struggle we have had has made us stronger. We had our oldest children Joe, Katie and Barn quite soon. There’s not a big age gap between them as we wanted them to be close. It was important to us that they were. Joe and Katie share the same birthday but two years apart and Barn is 23 months younger than Katie. It was full on when they were small. It was brilliant, but we didn’t get much time to ourselves and when Lee was working long hours, to get us extra money, it all fell on me. We had always wanted one more to complete our family, but the time wasn’t right, it wouldn’t have been fair on the kids or us to have another one then. We wouldn’t have had enough time or space to make sure they had all they needed. So we didn’t, and they grew.
I can’t believe how quickly they grew to be honest, I still feel the same age I was when I had Joe, but he is 18 now. It doesn’t seem possible. Life flies by. It seemed we had waited too long to expand our family. The kids were too old and we worried it wouldn’t work, that they would resent a new little person in the house.
Things have changed for us over the last few years, we started a family business and began working together, which was strange to start with but wonderful in it’s own way. It comes with a lot of challenges, but obviously provides us with a lot more flexibility. I don’t have to work five days a week now, which is nice, and we realised if we put off having another baby any longer then we wouldn’t ever do it. So we did. The kids were all teenagers (or almost), and we did wonder how they would take it, but they were all excited, once they got over the surprise.
When Stanley arrived we joked that he had been lost in the post, and that’s why there was such an age gap. He was always meant to be here, we just had to wait for the right time, and when he did arrive it was perfect. There has never been a little boy so loved. He is adored by the whole family, and always has someone to play with. Everyone has time for him, and no one feels left out. The bonus of the other kids being older is that when they go out, it’s almost like having an only child for a minute. It is so different from having the chaos that came with having three kiddies under four years old. Not better, just different. An experience I didn’t think I would have. To a family that is close anyway, he just brought more love. I’m careful not to ask too much of the older kids. I’m often told I’m lucky to have three built in babysitters, but I wouldn’t ever want them to think that was all they were. I wouldn’t want to take advantage of them, but it is handy to be able to pop to the shop when I need something without having to drag them all out!
I don’t think there are any rights or wrongs when it comes to family dynamics. For us this works, but if you’d asked me five years ago, I would have told you the gap between the kids would have been too much. There just came a point when it didn’t matter any more. Several people have told me we should have one more so that he isn’t on his own, but he isn’t. He might be the smallest, but he has the love and attention of all of us, and for that, he is one very lucky little thing. I knew the minute he arrived, that our family was complete, and perfect and that makes me one very happy Mummy.
Thanks as always, for reading this.