|My sister and I in the summer of 1981|
I've never thought that I come from a large family, but when people find out that there were four of us kids, they tell me that I did. It didn't feel much like it, though, probably because we were so spread out in age. My oldest sister is 11 years my senior and 7 years separate me from the next sister. After I was born, it was 6 years before my brother joined the family. The only childhood memories I have that involve a sibling are with the other middle sister, but even those are few and far between and I've only really come to know the other two in adulthood.
I hope for a very different experience for Silas. Steve and I don't know how many children we will be blessed with or when they will come into our lives, but if we do have more children, it is my hope that they will all be close together in age. This makes me gasp a little as I entertain the notion of nursing continuously for the next who-knows-how-many years, but I want my children to really know each other. To help each other discover the world. To dream together. To defend one another. To be friends.
My mom has had roller coaster relationships with each of her six brothers and sisters. There have been refusals to speak, hurt feelings, distance, and mended fences. Really harsh words have been uttered, sometimes with apologies following, sometimes not. So, I know that being close in age does not automatically lead to close in heart. But as my mom has finally forged a close bond with one of her sisters, she tells me again and again of the unique importance of that relationship and the value in working to maintain it.
My siblings are more closely related to me than anyone else on the planet. We share a common history and our futures are woven together. Those are things that I simply can't change (not that I'd want to) and it's all so much easier when we're friends as well as relatives. We can't choose our family, but we do choose how we interact with them and I hope that the foundation of those relationships has been love. Having that is one of my many wishes for my little boy.