A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Counting the difference

Posted by Pepper on January 20, 2014

It was one of those days. There was a heated argument and I raised my voice to say what I strongly felt. The parents disagreed. Edgy as I was, I snapped when my attempts to reason with them failed. Then the sister spoke. She echoed my thoughts and said the same thing, word to word. That was dismissed with a, “Oh, you always support your sister blindly! You just agree with whatever she says. You have no mind of your own”.

Since I periodically face similar allegations, this infuriated me beyond words. Yes, each time the sister and I support each other, the parents attribute that to an imaginary vow we made to each other in which we pledged blind support. That is untrue! There was no such vow. We have brains! If either of us disagree with the other, we say it. But can it be helped that we rarely disagree?

I’ve said this before, nobody in this world gets me the way my sister does. Sometimes, I find something disturbing. I fumble for an explanation, but it eludes me. My parents and Mint look at me quizzically, “How can you have a problem with that?”, they ask. I don’t know. I wish I could explain. And then I go on to find out that my sister has a problem with exactly the same thing too. When questioned by the rest, she fumbles for an explanation too. Our eyes meet, and we grin. We might not be able to explain it to the rest, but atleast we know that the two of us completely get each other. I suspect our brains are wired in exactly the same way.

The sister and I are inseparable. Most people around us know it. So it comes to me as a surprise, when some people wonder if siblings with a big age difference can be close. Hell, yes! They can be. But will they necessarily be? Now, there is no one answer to this question. My sister is a good 6 years younger to me. We are still exceptionally close. Yet, I know siblings who are far apart from each other, with a mere 2 year age difference separating them. Some others say it is a gender thing. You know, same sex siblings tend to be more close. Again, I disagree. I’ve seen all kinds of cases and I will say it really depends on other factors..

There are a million advantages of siblings being close in age. These advantages are well spoken about. But, you know, surprisingly, a bigger age difference has a lot of advantages too. My sister’s entire childhood is etched in my memory. I remember her first words, her first steps, her first day in school, all of it. It is all recorded in my memory. Had we been too close in age, this may not have been possible. My mom would nap in the afternoon, leaving her 1 year old daughter to the care of her 7 year old. I felt big, I felt responsible. I taught the sister her rhymes and her ABCs. I was always on the lookout for her when we played with other kids in our complex. And this feeling of looking after made me feel very important and well, joyous.

Ofcourse, there was this age in between. An age in which she would still come up to me with her toys and expect me to play with her. But I had gone past playing with dolls, and playing ‘ghar ghar‘ under the dining table and was more interested in listening to Vengaboys and ogling at Leonardo DiCaprio. So I would strike a balance. I would play with her out of a sense of duty at times, and other times, I would simply sit beside her and tell her about this guy I thought was cute, his name was Mihir, and that he played basketball. Other times, I forced her to sit next to me when I studied, and I read aloud to her from my Biology textbooks.

For me, she was still a baby, at 7 or 8. I would spill out my secrets, my bizarre ideas, my life to her, as though I was talking to myself. After all, I was talking to a young child who I thought understood and retained nothing. To my horror! The brat remembers all those things I said to her. She embarrasses me with a, “You know, Pepper had a crush on this lanky guy called Mihir when she was just 13 *Giggle*”. And I have to rewind my memory first, after which I go “Oh My God! You remember that! Did you have to say it now?”

I’ve had her doling out sane advice to me from the time she was 13 or 14. We’ve had a shared childhood, a shared bedroom, and our share of aimless conversations that happened after the lights were turned off. Today, we’ve reached a stage where age doesn’t matter at all. I do not think our age difference prevented us from being close to each other. In the end, I will say, whether you are close to your sibling or not depends on a host of factors. Age is just one of them.

I am reposting this picture of ours. Me on her. A perfect representation of the nutcases we are..

Madness

This post is dedicated to that special someone, who is considering not having a second child ONLY because she is worried her two kids will be too far apart in age, and therefore not close to each other. That is not true, babe. The age difference matters, but so does the environment you bring them up in. So put aside those fears and do what your heart says..

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27 Responses to “Counting the difference”

  1. simplegirl said

    wow!!!.. such a heart warming post..

  2. I’m that special someone – Pepper. As M turned 5 this year and we don’t plan a second child for the next 2 years atleast. The fear of a huge age difference keeps lingering in my mind. You post just gave me hopes…..Thank you 🙂
    May you and your sis be peas in a pod forever.

    On the lighter side M was sitting by me, when i was reading this post and guess what ? He saw your pic on this post and asked who is this little girl ? I’m sorry – i did burst out laughing.

  3. aarya said

    I totally agree age is rarely a factor when it comes to sibling bonding. We are four. Di is 3 years older, J is a year younger and bro is 7 years younger to me. And I feel we all share great bond. There are points where Di has totally different point of view on something, J and I agree upon. And other times, Di and I agree on stuff that J totally disagrees with.
    Loved reading about your bonding. And I can totally relate with the parts where you talk about your sister being a baby you cared for. Maybe that’s why bro and I share a special bond.

    • Pepper said

      I am not saying age doesn’t matter. It does, you know? But just saying that is not the only thing that matters. Good to hear about your siblings 🙂

  4. The Bride said

    Thank you for writing this. I can forward this to a couple of people I know too. Maybe a closer age gap is ideal for some reasons, but not having a second child because of age gap makes no sense. And from what I’ve seen, even if the age gap is a problem initially, it evens out eventually. Plus, I’ve also seen how sometimes the age gap allows the older child to comprehend and understand the baby more. Some jealousy is inevitable. My kids are 14 months apart and my son still has issues sometimes when the focus is on his little sister.

    And the photo of you two is adorable!

    • Pepper said

      Thanks Bride! You’re right, the age gap does even out eventually. A smaller age gap is obviously preferable, but to not have a second child only because of your fears of them not being close.. now that doesn’t make much sense.

  5. Sumana said

    How sweet? When someone stands by you and feels just like you, how nice to feel you can always count on that person, nothing in this world can separate them. Great post, i do hope my kiddos grow up with this kind of a strong bond. I don’t mind if they confront me or their dad, but if they can always stand up for each other in pain and happiness, it would be the best.

  6. hahaha…i liked the picture 🙂

  7. S said

    I am getting too used to your daily posts, Pepper 🙂 And I love it.

    My sister is 5 years 9 months elder to me. We are close and we love each other, but somehow I feel there is a generation / culture gap between us. I don’t know how that happened. As a child, I felt distanced by her as we stopped enjoying the same things like playing ghar-ghar. I also resented the mother-like attitude if she ever tried to chide me into something, emulating my mom. She still is very protective of me. And we do talk about everything under the sun. But there is a weird void, which I find difficult to explain. I wish I could love her as much as I want to.

    Am sorry for the ramble… Have a good day.

    • Pepper said

      I know, some people just can’t step out of their self imposed boundaries, you know? That’s where the invisible tensions lie. Don’t worry, you know you guys love each other, sometimes that knowledge is enough 🙂

  8. ashreyamom said

    thats so sweet.. age gap between me and my sis is 10 years.. so somehow i became a second parent to her. we didnt share much of the things then and even now.. :(.

    • Pepper said

      10 years is quite a lot. But then, I am not sure if that is the only reason for the distance. My mom’s eldest sister is 16 years older to her. Yes, 16! They’re still the best of friends. So all I am saying is that depends on other factors too..

  9. Neeli said

    hi Pepper.. you every single word reminded me of my sis.. shez 2.5 years younger to me… sisters are always adorable… 🙂 a lovely post 🙂

  10. Ashwathy said

    You know my relationship with my step-bro. And we are not even born to the same parents or related by blood. We came to know each other much later in life.
    I rest my case 🙂 To each, his own!

  11. Sri said

    Wow…i loved this post!

    My younger sister is 3 years younger than me and we are very close(maybe the same gender factor)..both of us took up the same profession…as you mentioned, i don’t remember her early years as i was a kid myself!

    But i can totally relate to the fact that i also mentioned some trivial matters to her and she would blurt it out at the most dangerous time!!

    PS: Loved the dedication of this post..i don’t think kids with big age gaps will not be close…i have seen so many of my cousins have the second child when the first one is 7-8 years old..i heard one case where the elder daughter is 12..she is a like a second mom to her sister!

    • Pepper said

      This second mom thing – I am not sure. Although we’re far apart in age, I could never see myself as another mom figure to my sis. She would laugh out aloud at the idea too! It would put us on two different levels. RIght now, I like it that we’re both on the same level, and I am not a level higher, if you know what I mean.. 🙂

      Also, like I already said in the post, I don’t think it is a gender thing either. But that is just my opinion.

  12. M said

    I’m so glad I read this post. I have 2 girls and are 5.5 yrs apart. They were not planned that way, but it just happened. Having been an only child myself, I wanted more than one. I still would not let my 7 yr old take care of her younger sister, but she could do it if I allowed her to. The older one always has and looks out for the younger one and it’s such a pleasure to see them play. Ask that special someone to have another one and they’ll never regret it.Age really does not matter.

    • Pepper said

      Hey M! So glad you have witness the pleasure of seeing your girls look out for each other. It is such a joy.
      I know, I’ve been telling her to not think too much if age difference is the only thing stopping her..

  13. mamata said

    Everytime I read yr posts I always imagine my older child in yr place for some reason I always wish my child should be like pepper. My two girls are 7 yrs apart, not once I felt the age mattered, infact it was always a very healthy relationship. I’m glad I made a decision of having another child and even more happy for having a girl baby second time I do know with personal experience how the girls are lifelong soulmates.

    • Pepper said

      Hey, that is so sweet! Though if you ask my parents, they’ll keep wondering why anybody would want to be as lazy and careless as me? 😀

      You’re right, age does not matter beyond a point. Although perhaps in the initial few years it does..

  14. R's Mom said

    Thanks Pepper 🙂

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