Bridging the Age Gap: Raising Siblings to Be Close Even When Their Ages Aren’t


Let’s face it; some people are just obnoxious. They come in many forms: strangers on the street, coworkers, family members and sometimes friends. Their cringe-worthy comments have followed me throughout the stages of my life. While divorced: “Oh my gosh, I could never be a single mom! Kudos to you!” While re-married and pregnant: “You’re huge! Are you sure there’s only one in there?”

The most repetitive, distasteful comment, though, was one I heard whenever I was seen with my baby bump, husband and eight-year-old daughter. Someone was bound to ask how old Reya was. When she told them, the response was often, “’Wow! That’s quite an age gap.” I stopped cringing, and almost just started saying it with them. Yep. Glad you noticed and thank you so much for pointing it out.

Instead of rolling my eyes or shooting out a snappy response, I usually just smiled and said, “This is how God chose to bless us.”

And blessed we were. All three of us were overjoyed, anticipating our new bundle of joy. He was completely planned, wanted and loved. We read stories to him and sang to my belly; we prepared for our baby boy and anxiously awaited his arrival. Sometimes, I just sat and reflected on how much life had changed. It seemed surreal and was so different from the path I thought I would travel on.

        Reya and Max don’t see an age gap; they just see love.

I was convinced that Reya would be an only child. My first marriage did not work out, and she did not have her birth father in her life. We were a happy mommy-daughter duo, dancing through life in our own little groove. God had a different plan for us, though and our story was written with such a beautiful plot twist.

Life surprised us both with the man of our dreams: an amazing husband for me and loving father for her. Antoine changed everything. We were a family of three (soon to be four) and, to us, it was all in God’s perfect timing. The age gap seemed to bother other people more than it bothered me. Now that my son Max is here, I’m very grateful to have a school-aged child; her independence perfectly balances out the high-needs of an infant. Reya is an exemplary big sister. She feeds Max bottles, plays with him, makes him laugh hysterically and is eager to help in any way she can.

Right now, having an eight-year age gap is a dream come true. Fast-forward eight years, will it be as smooth? Maybe. Or maybe she will be a moody teenager who won’t want to chauffeur her eight-year-old brother around. Who knows? I don’t. But I know this: Regardless of how far apart they are in age, Reya and Max are built in best friends. They will have a bond that will continue way after Antoine and I have left the earth. Their memories and childhood stories will be woven into our family fabric because they are the start of our Demmings Dynasty. “This is just how God chose to bless us.” And God knows best!