Saturday, June 9, 2012

One

I have "written" versions of this post in my head many times. In fact, if I went back and looked, I would probably discover most of it in an older post. But since I don't feel like trying to figure that out and because this is what I am thinking about now, I am just going to put it out there now. Not well written, but, to quote one of my favorite sayings, it is what it is.

I cannot seem to go more than a few days without lamenting that I have only one child. This was a mostly intentional decision, mind you. Brian and I had said we would have another child once we sold our house and moved into another. But we tried the house selling in 2007 and 2008, and got nowhere. By the fall of 2008, I really did not want another child, so I gave up that thought. I still don't want another child. Really.

But much like some (many?) childless people, I wonder if I won't regret having an only child down the road. There are many days when I think about it. My kid is stuck with me all summer long; she does not have a sibling to play with. And as much as I love being with her, I can take only so much Barbies, babies, princesses and games of tag.

My mother sometimes reminds me that she never played those things with me, and since I have two brothers, as you can imagine, Barbie, Ken, and I were on our own. But still, I had brothers to do some things with, whether it was run around outside, go swimming, play board games, or just fight. The only person J has to fight with is me.

I am pretty close to my brothers; although I don't see them more than a few times a year due to distance, we do chat on the phone a few times per month. But my kid will never have a sibling to talk to on the phone or visit. She will never be able to ask her brothers for advice as I often due. And when parent issues arise, they will all fall on her. That can be a big burden.

J and I recently spent a few days with my mom and six-year-old nephew. Unless J and Ben were watching TV, I don't think they were able to go more than 10 minutes without fighting. During most of the visit, I found myself being glad I have only one. But even with all that squabbling, there were moments when I thought that it was sad that J would never have someone to love and despise like that.

How do other parents of only children make peace with that decision, whether intentional or not? And, more importantly to me, why can't I?

Oh, and I did go back to see if I had written a similar post. And. surprise, surprise, I found a post I had written over a year ago that sounded an awful lot this one. Yep, still fretting over the same old thing..

3 comments:

Lynnette said...

I would say stop fretting and think of all the good things that go along with having your only child. First, you said that you're close with your brothers. But since Jordan doesn't have siblings, perhaps that means that she will be closer to you as she continues to get older. Maybe by her not having siblings, it means that she'll have an even better, deeper relationship with you and hubby, than a child with siblings would. I know you're close to your mom, but maybe you and J will be even closer. And that's a lovely thing to come from having just one child. Also, as you said, you don't have to deal with the squabbling among siblings. And she still has cousins. I remember being very close to my cousins when we were kids, but once you hit junior high and high school, in my case those relationships just faded. I would try to help nurture those family bonds as the kids get older so that they remain close as adults. My husband is still really close with two of his cousins... just as close as he is to his sister.... and I think that's a sweet thing. Anyway, having an Only, the thing I feel bad about is that she doesn't have anyone to play with. But I try to make play dates with her friends frequently, and she goes to a sitter twice a week that is truly like a 10 hour play date... they go to the library, go swimming, play outside, play inside, etc., etc. And often I'm happy to not have to share my love with anyone besides her. I love being with her. It makes me happy (well, most of the time). :)

Anonymous said...

My cure for concern about having one one child? Spending time with my siblings. Or talking with them on the phone. Or should I say trying to get OFF the phone with them while they whine and moan about every single thing. They caused me strife at many of the most meaningful moments of my life, and continue to bicker, bring unwelcome opinions, and generally wreak havoc for the family. Did we sometimes play together? I guess so. Would I have been able to entertain myself? Probably. Just b/c there are sibs doesn't mean they'll be companionship, love, or even anything in common.

Just my opinion, of course. Some people will likely sing a very different song. I envy them the good, healthy relationships and normal, caring family members they must have.

Facie said...

Lynnette: I knew I could count on you to help me feel better (just as you did last year!). I know there are so many great reasons to have just one. I do hope Jordan and I end up as close as my mom and I.

Anonymous: There are times when my bros drive me crazy. In fact, my husband reminded me that my little brother and I had a not-so-great relationship for a number of years (9/11 really helped us turn the corner). I realize that just because you have a sibling, there is no guarantee that you will be close or even like each other, and I know people who don't even speak to their sibs. Sorry your relationship with yours is not great. Hopefully you have good friends, which can often be better than sibs anyway!