One is the loneliest number

On more than one occasion, I have blogged about my having only one kid and the grief that has caused me. Grief is really a strong word, but I don't know which word is the right word. Having one kid was a mostly intentional choice. Years ago we had decided that once we sold our house and moved into our larger one, we would try to have another kid. But we put our house on the market a year later than we anticipated, and by that time, I had gotten over the desire for another kid. Good thing, because we are still here in this same smallish house, in this crappy, crappy school district!

Most days I am glad that I am able to devote myself to my one child; she does not have to share my affection with anyone else. But, as I have mentioned countless times here and to others, it can be difficult being your child's playmate. I can take only so many Barbies, babies, and princess play times. I can never say, "Go play with your sister." But I love reading to my kid and enjoy most games with her (except when she is a sore loser, which is becoming a bad habit). I like taking J to the park and especially swimming with her, though I am not the biggest fan of playing tag at the former or mermaids at the latter. And it is nice just to hang out or run errands together.

But this week, I felt awful in many ways. The illness that kicked my butt pretty much left me unable to spend any time with my kid. Instead of running around the park or swimming at the pool, the poor kid was stuck at home. Yesterday, I finally felt well enough to take Jordan to the park, but I could not do much of anything but sit there. And of course, she wanted me to be her "customer" for her "bakeshop" which involved my getting up and pretending to order stuff, when I really just wanted to sit there and do nothing.

Fortunately, some kids from school showed up after almost an hour, but prior to that, I once again felt guilty for not giving Jordan a sibling, someone to play with, someone to hang out with. Someone who could have helped to occupy her time this week when I was stuck in bed or just feeling to lousy to do anything for or with her.

I have friends who also have only one kid, and they seem perfectly content with their choice. Why can't I be? Why must I worry that down the road I will one day regret this decision?


Lynnette said…
Not that this will help, but I know several only children that are adults, and none of them seem to be the worse for it. They all feel that they had wonderful experiences growing up, and they have strong relationships outside of their families (with their spouse or other friends) that makes them not yearn for a sibling (mind you, I ask this question a lot of only children, since I also have an only child and am hopeful that being an only child doesn't negatively affect her as she gets older). And I have to tell you, being the youngest of 5 and the only girl, I feel that I was deprived by not having a sister. Should my parents have continued to try to have more kids so they could give me a sister? No way, right? Do my parents feel guilty for never giving me a sister? I doubt it. I mean, we do what we can with what we've got. J will turn out just fine, in spite of not having a sibling. She'll find someone else to form that bond with, and who knows, she may end up with a deeper, more lasting relationship with a friend than she ever would with a sibling. Not all sibling relationships are golden either. In other words, having a sibling may not be the right solution either.

Oh, and I'm sorry you were sick. I wondered why I hadn't heard from you in a while (via email or blog). I'm glad you're starting to feel better! :)
Bill Applegate said…
Hum, I don’t want to make you feel any worse…honestly I don’t but I was an only child and I hated it! I use to beg my parents to have another kid when I was younger for many of the reasons you mentioned. That lasted until about 9 or 10. Lucky for me I had a ton of cousins to play with but rainy days and being stuck in the house always sucked.

My parents did not have any more kids…for two main reasons. We were poor…and my parents were very unhappy with each other.

I like to think that I am a well adjusted person and learned many lessons from the two reasons mentioned above. Take away 1 - I worked my butt off to make sure to go to college so that when I was older I would never be poor. Number 2 – I work hard to make the person I am with happy. I want my kids to be in a happy household.

I don’t want you too feel bad…being an only child had many positive things as well. My Mom and I were and still are extremely close because we spent many hours together. I was very independent, responsible and out going and learned how to do many things at an early age (I didn’t have a younger sibling to do things for me OR blame things on).

Don’t beat yourself up for only having one kid…enjoy the time…love her…teach her and make her an intelligent member of the world.
Facie said…
Thanks for your comments.

Lynnette, what you said does help a little, and I know you are right that siblings are not guarenteed buds.

Bill, pretty much every only I know, with the exception of my hubby(!), has wanted siblings. I still have not ruled out adopting a toddler or preschooler, but I should probably decide that before too long.

I am sure we will make it work as best as we can, just as I am sure I will question it many more times!
Anonymous said…
I am an only child and I can relate to everything about how I used to want my mom to play with me.I also love to play by myself and grew into a confident person who still enjoys time alone. I did want a sibling when I was younger and but slowly came to accept my situation. I did find a friend when I was 14 that was also an only child and we seemed to bond and call each other the sister we never had to this day. Hopefully your daughter will find a lifelong friend like that. I don't think you should feel that having another child would be for your daughter to have a playmate. I have two children that have a love hate relationship and if I had one for the other I would be disappointed more than pleased everytime that have a fight. Adopting would be an amazing opportunity for your family to grow in love and acceptence as well as giving a child a loving family. I have a few friends that were adopted that have such a great testimony and they owe everyting to their adopted families. Good luck in your journey, whatever it may be!
Facie said…
Anonymous, I too hope my daughter find a good friend. She kind of bounces back and forth at school, and though I am glad she is pretty kind to everyone, I do wish there was that one gal (or even two people) she could really bond with as she had done in preschool and kindergarten.

Glad to know adoption was such a good thing for your friends. I have several relatives and friend who have adopted/been adopted. Time will tell.

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