Spacing is Everything

30 years ago as David and I embarked on the journey of parenthood we felt it was imperative to space our children correctly.  We wanted to make sure they were spaced far enough apart that they could each be independent but close enough together that they would be good playmates when they were little and peers as they got older.

I didn’t want two kids in diapers at the same time.  I wasn’t about to spend all day moving from one dirty diaper to the next only to have to go back to the first all over again.  We didn’t want two kids in cribs at the same time.  This was just plain cheapness on my part.  I had a nice oak crib set and saw no need to go out a buy a second crib only to have to go out and buy a single bed set in a couple of years.  Way back in the day of this decision making we lined up the years to come.  We thought about what grades they would all be in at what time and how this would affect the “Parental Chauffer Service”.  We thought about the day each of the kids would want to drive a car.  If we spaced them correctly, we could buy one car and the three of them could drive it until the wheels fell off and never have to actually “share” the car.  We thought about what age they would start dating and how each could cross this line into semi-adulthood untethered by the next youngest sib.  Being the oddball planner that I am, I even thought about how the spacing would affect us when they were all grown up and ready to get married and start families of their own.  After hours of discussion and writing of timelines it was determined that about 2.5 to 3 years was the optimum child spacing in the Allen household.

So, how’d that work out for you…….

The potty train left the station just as scheduled and even though it had a few extra stops along the way I can say that I was never traumatized by having two children in diapers at the same time for any great length of time.  Each of the children was moved seamlessly to a big kid bed about a month before their new sib was to arrive.  No fuss no muss.

School went off without a hitch.  The kids breezed through elementary and into middle school.  The only snag in the plan was when Matt went to high school at MTCS and the girls were still in elementary/middle school at Cason Lane.  Matt still grumbles about being dropped off at the corner and having to cross what he lovingly refers to as “the frozen tundra” to get to the school.  Good thing he wasn’t from the older generation that had to walk 5 miles in the snow with no shoes on a 90 degree day to get to the one room schoolhouse.

But this is where the wheels came off as they say.  There was no way for me to know that Matt would grow up to be a gear head and that I would have a friend that would have a garage kept 1966 Ford Mustang up for sale just when Matt was ready to learn to drive.  Needless to say, Matt still has his Mustang in his garage and each of the girls got a different used beater when it was their turn to learn to drive.  One item on my detailed timeline that was overlooked was that Christi graduated and left for college they year that Jess turned 15.  After 6 years on not having to take the kids to school, pick them up, or drive them to gymnastics or a friend’s house David and I found ourselves dusting off our chauffer’s hats once again.

We have now entered into the marriage years.  What was a neatly laid out plan of having each child have their own independent block of time in which to get engaged, plan a wedding and say “I do” has gone horribly awry.  Jess, our youngest, actually ended up getting married first, which completely Fu barred the entire timeline.  Instead of having a nice leisurely pace to the nuptials of our children it has been more like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  Christi got engaged in the summer, Jess got engaged a month later.  Jess got married in April, Matt got engaged in the fall, Christi got married in October and finally Matt is getting married in June.  In our perfect little timeline we laid out 6 years for the kids to get married.  In the real world all three of the kids will have gotten married within 15 months of each other.

All I can say is now that my neatly laid out timeline has been destroyed…..let the grandchild flurry begin!!!

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