When children are born a number of years apart, the older children can end up having babies at almost the same time as their parents. Such was the case with my mother-in-law and her younger sisters. Her sister, Linda was born 15 years after she was, and Margee was born 18 years after she was. My mother-in-law married my father-in-law just 6 months later, and when their first child, Marlyce was born, Margee was just 1 1/2 years old. Marlyce was more like a little sister than a niece, and since she was so little, Margee didn’t know what a niece was anyway. All she saw was a new friend.

With each additional child, new playmates arrived, and before they knew it, there were 5 of them playimg together. By this time, of course, my mother-in-law’s sisters were old enough to know that the younger kids were nieces and nephew, and not friends. Still, the years spent playing with their nieces and nephew were years where friends were in abundance.

My mom’s family had much the same situation, except that it wasn’t the years between children that caused the closeness of the younger children to nieces and nephews, but rather the number of children in the family. My Aunt Sandy was just 3 years old when her sister, my Aunt Evelyn had her first child, Susie, and two more children would arrive by the time my Aunt Sandy was 5 years old. Aunt Sandy tells me that she never really felt like she was the youngest child, since there were so many nieces and nephews, and her sisters, my Aunt Bonnie and Aunt Dixie weren’t much older than Aunt Sandy, so they lived the story she did.

Having nieces and nephews that are very close in age to you can be a fun thing, because you always know you have friends to play with. I suppose it can be annoying too, because they can be just like a kid sister or brother…always under foot, so I’m sure there were times when the aunts just wished those kids would go home. They can also be great fun. They look up to you, which can be very different from what many kids experience. Either way, you will always have friends in abundance.

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