For the fourth instalment of our Sisterly Love series we are thrilled to welcome Oksana Dunnagan, U.S based homeschooler and mother to three children, Noah (10), Emma (6), and Ava (18 months). Oksana hails from Russia originally but emigrated to the States in 2006 to be with her (then new) husband Patrick. Oksana’s Instagram feed is full of her beautiful maternal warmth and creativity, and today she shares with Little Cotton Clothes how the love grew between her two daughters (not forgetting big brother Noah!) and how much joy their relationship gives her. We invite you to enjoy these lovely words and images from this inspiring mama with us here.
Before we got married, my husband and I talked about what kind of family and the number of children we wanted to have. I wanted five (I always loved the idea of having a large happy family with lots of children running around, although I come from a family of two), and he wanted three (he came from a family with three children and likes that number), so we pretty much agreed that three would be great but that we would keep our minds open.
Shortly after we got married we got pregnant with out first child. Noah was a perfect baby and the easiest one to raise. Mothering him came naturally and things went very smoothly. I loved being a mom from the moment I laid my eyes on him. Fast forward three years and we got pregnant with our second. I secretly wanted a girl and couldn’t wait till the day we would find out the baby’s gender We were so overjoyed to learn we were having a girl. Emma was born in December of 2010 and we fell in love all over. Having two children at that point was harder, but amazing, and I loved being a mama even more. While Emma was still a young baby I knew in my heart that I wanted another baby. I had a deep longing and I knew there was another baby for us. For several reasons we waited for almost five years and our precious baby number three was born. We kept her gender a surprise all through the pregnancy. My husband wanted to find out but I felt like, since we had one of each, I wanted to keep it a surprise. Although I was hoping for a girl and a girl we got!
I always worried about the age gap between our children (almost 4 years between our first and second, and almost five years between our second and third). I often wished they were closer in age, because I thought that siblings born closer in age would have a stronger bond and closer relationship. But as our children grew older each year, my fears and worries kept fading away. Noah and Emma quickly became the best of friends and pretty much did everything together. They are very close. I couldn’t wait to see what their relationship with their baby sister would be like. I think its been one of the most amazing things for me to watch. Noah had a sweet and gentle approach with the baby and she loved him from early on and always felt safe in his arms. As Ava got a little bit older and more aware of her surroundings, she started to notice her big sister and fall in love with her. She would always turn her head to her voice, she smiled at her and the name Emma was one of the first words she said.
Our girls share a bedroom. We moved Ava in with Emma when she wad 7 months old. When Ava was around one we started allowing Emma to pick the baby up from the crib every morning when she woke up. Emma would bring her to me to nurse (our bedroom is right next to theirs) and she always stayed by our side while I nursed the baby, gently kissing and loving on her and talking to me. Their bond was getting stronger and amazing to witness.
Ava is now 18 months old and I can pretty much say that Emma is her best friend. She calls her name first thing in the morning, even nursing come second to cuddling with Emma. She wants to be with her sister, she wants to eat what’s on Emma’s plate, she wants to wear Emma’s shoes, hold Emma’s toys, she is concerned and asks about Emma if she hears her cry, and she makes sure she gets plenty of goodnight kisses from Emma otherwise it is not a good night. She will literally not nurse but keep saying “Emma, Emma” over and over again until her sister comes over to kiss and wish her goodnight.
I never had a sister growing up, I have a younger brother. But I am very blessed to watch our two girls have the sweetest and such strong relationship even at this early age. I love to dress them similarly and our matching game is pretty strong. I am so glad Emma doesn’t mind it yet. My prayer as their Mother is that their relationship will continue to grow stronger and deeper toward one another, that will learn to forgive and choose to love no matter what. Because they are their best friend! I also know their big brother will be there for them along the way, because of how much he loves his sisters.
And I just want to add one last thing. Our children are not perfect, their are very normal, definitely have their moments EVERY day, they fight and don’t want to share, but at the end of the day LOVE always wins!
Thank you Oksana!
You can see more of Noah, Emma and Ava here.
Emma wears our Amelie dress in dove grey and knee high socks in inky blue, Ava wears our Amelie dress and bloomers in mustard and our blue floral Olive blouse.