Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do I Really Have to Mention, She's the One

The grocery-store line was long so I had plenty of time to admire the infant being snuggled by the woman in front of me. The baby was small enough that she was still in the stringbean phase, long spidery legs and vineline arms; I guessed she was no more than three weeks old. I commended the woman on her lovely daughter and her ability to shop with a newborn and have her pants on the right way. The mother looked to be in her early thirties and the Bjorn was unstained, so I guessed, “First child?” I prepared my little quiver of helpful advice for first-time parents.

“Oh no,” she said, kissing her daughter’s head and adjusting a tiny frilled sock. “She’s our seventh.”

I commended her for her correctly-worn pants with even greater sincerity and stared resolutely down into my purse as if to look for something, possibly my other six children.

It’s not rational but when I, as the mother of a single child, meet a mother of a big family I start feeling inadequately maternal. It’s as if they’re mothers and I’m one of those people who swear they know what motherhood is like because they have a frilled lizard. I'm Marie Antoinette, playing at my little faux maternal farm. This is brought home to me each time I talk to the mother of a big-family and we start comparing notes.

Is your only child, when ill with anything, prone to vomiting? The mother of a big family has a vomiter, a nose-bleeder and at least one who gets strep before every major holiday.

Is your child going through a difficult phase? The mother of a big-family has been through that exact phase multiple times already and has one child going through it right now along with two children in other challenging phases. She tends to say supportive yet vaguely worrying things like, “Ooh, if you don’t like three, wait until she gets to be eleven.”

The school run, the sports schedule, the after-school activities? The mother of an only child might be tired but the mother of a big family doesn’t have the luxury of being tired because before she picks up her middle kid at hockey practice she has to take her older daughter to Michael’s to buy art supplies and stop at the pet store to pick up pinkies for the twins’ snake.

It’s just a degree of difficulty and one I’ll never fully comprehend. If my kid is having a good day we all feel pretty good. If she’s having a bad day, that affects the house. Barring the discussion about how I might want to maintain healthy boundaries between my kid and myself, it’s pretty straightforward. If you have five, one can be having a great day and one can be coming down with something and one is fighting with her best friend and one is convinced he’ll never understand factoring and one is in the bathroom cutting her hair. How on earth do you decide which mood to have?

Sometimes I think I haven’t fully parented because I’ve never had to drive while someone in the back seat whispers “I’m...not...touching...you” as the other screams “MAKE. HER. STOP!!!” On the other hand, I’ve had parents with big families tell me my job is harder, because their children entertain each other and never have the expectation of unadulterated parental attention that only children do.

Now, I’m opening the floor. What do you think? Tell me about your family and the challenges and joys of whatever size it is. This is purely selfish on my part because I happen to think my readers are so really fine (and fun) writers.

If you have a really big family and manage to find time to get a comment in, know that I will be extra-impressed.

37 Comments:

Blogger Kate said...

I'm part of your frilled lizard club. We have one 4.5 yo girl. I feel like I barely (or maybe not even that much) do a good enough job with her. I can't fathom having more... not that I sometimes don't think about it. Lately she's been in this needy phase which makes me almost wish we had already had one so they could amuse each other. The joy of this situation is only buying 3 international plane tickets instead of 4 when seeing the in-laws and being able to eat out sometimes and pay for the nice school.

4:05 PM  
Blogger TheHappyHomemaker said...

A mother of many once told me it doesn't really matter if you have 1 or 11. All real mothers give 100%.

Hence, I was even more uncertain whether I was a real mother.

All kidding aside, I think having one is more difficult because of the aforementioned attention needs. I, therefore, have two. Also, everyone knows parents only have children so someone will do the chores...so the more the better, right? ; )

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Lynn YouKnowWho said...

As one of five siblings, whose sister has ten kids, I say, "adopt adults!" It's really cool to know a lot of people who can already tie their own shoes.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Cat Connor said...

Okay so I qualify to speak here... I don't actually think of us as having a BIG family until someone says "You don't see many big families these days."
I usually grin and mutter things about how there was never anything on telly to watch...

We have 7 kids. The baby is 4. Our oldest is 27. So I've pretty much seen it all. (and yet the baby is 4 - so either than means I truly LOVE being a mom or I'm that stupid.)

My kids don't dictate the household mood. I do. I'm the barometer.

Kids are noisy, they fight and bicker, "Not touching can't get mad" get's old real quick. BUT - they're awesome. They don't want for anything. They do well at school. They qualify me to comment on kid stuff.
Sometimes I would like to pick a few and bang their heads into something hard until brains kick in... but usually they get there without me resorting to drastic measure!
One of ours has Aspergers (number 6) - now that is challenging and admittedly drives me up the wall - sometimes.
Today - I'm reveling in the silence... kindy/school/University went back today after a 2 week break.
:-)
kids are for enjoying - people often forget that. They keep us young and make us laugh!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous alyson landers said...

I've got 4 (2 girls, 2 boys, 13.5 down to 8). Depends on what day you ask me, but today I'll tell you that I'm really tired and I'm not at the top of my game. (Asked a doc friend today if I might like parenting better if I took a big antidepressant. He said, perhaps, but in 3 weeks.)Dad's out of town on an extended business trip, so there's waaay too much Mom vs. them time.
There is truth in all you write -- that they entertain themselves, that I'm often too busy to be tired -- but what resonates with me is your line about wondering which mood to be in....That's spot on. The sad truth is that lately, sh$% floats, and I end up being in the worst mood out of all choices.
I'm mindful of the "fake it til you make it" rule...and maybe I'll start faking that happy mommy mood tomorrow. Yep, tomorrow. They're all off to school.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

When my son was 2 we added a little pink plastic person to our Game of Life car. Our work load didn’t double….I think it quadrupled. There’s her “stuff”, his “stuff”, their “stuff” and of course, the lovely synergy of 2 kids sharing the real estate of the back seat. We know families with 6 kids and families with just one. Honestly, I think the columns of pros and cons come out about equal but the contents of those columns are VERY different. The more backpacks you have blocking your door, the more your kids will learn many of life’s lessons from their siblings. Not better or worse than an only child, but different. The chaos around here is always in need of management (either with yoga or wine) but last night I noticed a strange silence in the house and wondered where my little noise makers were. I found them in the yard, my now 11 year-old son teaching his sister the finer points of throwing a baseball. Staring out the window, my heart deliciously broke. (Fear not: within 20 minutes they were fighting loudly over what to watch on TV)

5:17 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Ditto what Kate said. I'm an only, and so's my son. Drives me nuts when people shake their heads knowingly, when they hear that, as though That Explains Everything. Onlies don't know how to share. Onlies don't know how to relate to other people. My husband even once said to me that I didn't understand what it meant to be part of a family, because I was an only. Huh?

I'm convinced there are pros and cons both ways. Yeah, I missed out on some stuff by not having siblings, but I got some other stuff that I never would have if there'd been a passel of us, too.

And as far as parenting an only. Someone would have died if I'd had more than one. I don't know if they'd have killed me, or I'd have killed one of them, but either way, it wouldn't have been good!

StDebb

5:39 PM  
Anonymous MidLifeMama said...

My husband and I have one child. My husband has two other children, but they are over 18 and have never lived with us. I have only been a parent to one child, and three dogs, so sometimes I am dealing with poop and vomit from multiple sources at once, but not often. And you can shut a dog in a crate legally and not be reported to anyone. Kids, not so much. That whole "siblings will entertain each other" idea works unless you have kids who would rather set each other on fire than play together. Which is how my step children were growing up. I don't feel inadequate compared to mothers with large families, I feel LUCKY. I watch my neighbor with 3 kids and she is barely adequately dressed most days never mind able to remember her kids names. And besides, I was over 40 when I had the first one, so I wasn't really on the big family tract to begin with. No offense meant toward moms with large families, by the way.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Sherri said...

I have one 15 year old daughter. There was a time when I desperately wanted more children, but that ended about the time my daughter started school and I started getting a life back. So, rather than feel inadequate because I only have one, I'm enjoying the idea that I only have to pay for one college education, only have to deal with junior high once, and only have to drive one kid around to kid activities.

6:04 PM  
Blogger sherry stanfa-stanley said...

I raised two boys, the youngest who's just finishing up his first year in college. I always figured I deserved a multitude of merit badges for handling two, especially as a single mom. My best friend, however, raised four kids, with her ex-husband living three hours away. Left me little room for any self-congratulation or self-pity. Damn her.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

We're a his/mine/ours family of five. Of course, it helps that his and mine are now in their mid-thirties, but there for a while it was touch-and-go.

Having more does not prepare you for anything other than insanity. Yes, they had each other to play with, but all five were so very different personality-wise that it was like raising a completely different kid each time.

Which we were.

His kids spent their formative years together. My single kid spent his alone. Our kids spent theirs with all of them together. They all have their quirks, and I was never the mother I ought to have been.

Having said that, I'd do it all again. Only this time I'd have epidurals with every single one, even if I didn't give birth to them.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Sara J. Henry said...

Great post. I'm childless (but with too many dogs) and am amazed that parents function at all. It's all I can do to manage my dogs and myself.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 2. They are 5 years apart. I feel like I had an only for 5 years and know that experience and have had the whole siblings thing and now I know that too. The five year age difference is a bit rough and they do the typical bugging each other but they really do adore each other. I can't imagine not having my younger son.

What the mothers of big families amaze me with isn't their pants on forwards but the fertility that they posses. Our pregnancies were such a long struggle that I just can't relate to uber-fertile women.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I have three. They are all married adults now. I LOVE this stage.

Actually, just as the youngest one was leaving home, I opened the front door and let in the first grandchild.

Then another. And another. Not to LIVE with me. No. They go home at night. It's a lovely arrangement.

If I remember correctly, and that IS if-y, I think I spent a good portion of my children's childhood wishing them away. When it got to be time for me to get on with my life, I discovered that there wasn't anything else I wanted to do.

Not so much the nose and bottom wiping, but watching a human being BECOME. I find that amazing. Exceedingly tiring, but amazing.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I am a second wife and I became a stepmother to two wonderful girls when I got married. I was 29 when I was blessed with a nine-year old and a 14-year old. Wake-up time.

The girls were with us part-time at first, although both eventually moved in with us. It was a tremendous learning curve, and it was one of the most rewarding and difficult periods of my life. It started with learning that when you now have two children in your house, meals change, schedules change, you shop for things you've never bought (or even thought of) before. Laundry quadruples and you realize that if you don't get a new water tank, you'll never have a hot bath or shower again. You also have to start to remember that a child needs to be TOLD to get clean and go to bed. I'd forget and then be embarrassed when the older child or their father stepped in. I felt that I ought to be the one to orchestrate such activities.

I think my lowest moment was when I took my youngest daughter to the doctor for the first time. I didn't know her medical history and had no idea they'd ask questions. No, I didn't know if she'd had her tonsils out. No, I didn't know how long she'd had asthma symptoms. No, I didn't know if she was allergic to penicillin. Measles? Mumps? Height? Weight? I hadn't a clue, except I could probably have said she came up to, about, my shoulder.

I have never felt more inadequate, ignorant, stupid and foolish in my life and I can still see the look of disgust on the nurse's face. How could a mother not know these things about her own child? So now, I'm thinking, do I explain that I'm (only) the stepmother? Do I confess to this woman, who is eyeing me as if I'm something nasty stuck to the floor, that she's lived with us for only a few weeks? How much do I have to confess in order not to be considered a failure and a horrible person?

Pride won and I lost and I ended up confessing everything. I don't know what was worse: going through the humiliation of not knowing everything, or knowing that I'd just told a total stranger far more than she needed to know in order to change her (obviously, very low) opinion of me. I lived.

The girls are grown now, have their own families and turned out pretty OK. I can't take responsibility for that, but I helped. They know I love them totally. They know that although I didn't bring them into the world, that they still are my world and that counts for something.

I may not have been as organized, knowledgeable or efficient as other mothers, but I loved them and I tried and I learned.

So, my take on this is that if you have love and you try and you learn, you're doing pretty OK.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Savtadotty said...

I raised two (alone) and now they are each married and raising onlies. They both say the adult-child ratio should be in favor of the adults. I say "I want more grandchildren!" Thank God we're all healthy.

4:06 AM  
Blogger cndymkr / jean said...

I have only one child. It wasn't supposed to be that way and sometimes it still bothers me. Fortunately we are very close and most days I feel like I'm raising him to be a good man. There are times when I seem to be raising a barn animal but from what I've heard that's normal. I envy people with lots of kids simply because they will grow up and have a large family support system. Silly really. There are plenty of families that don't speak to each other, right? I'm not sure there is one correct family size.

5:36 AM  
OpenID kinderny said...

Hmm, I came from a family of four kids but chose "one and done"- not necessarily because I thought it best but because I started late and husband's disability and my job made having another really challenging. While I could handle the dailiness of having another- I am really, really organized with permission slips, homework, arranging get togethers, making dinner plus have a great spouse who also does his fair share- I don't think I could take the emotional toll. Daughter has always been different but strong, so supporting her in her specialness but also gently guiding her towards proper socialization has been challenging. It just hurts so much when life/people knock the stuffing out of your kid but protecting her from everthing is bad in the long run. Eh. She is good, she is strong, she will survive (cue Gloria Gaynor music) and Mama just sometimes has to get over herself. I think she is happier not having had siblings as we have catered to her interests and hobbies more than if we had multiple kids.

6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think parenting is the hardest job in the world! My hat is off to everyone doing it. And I wish more people who want to parent more than one kid would consider adoption--so many kids who are already here need homes, and our planet is desperately overpopulated---the environmental consequence of our making more and more kids is huge. Let's work on loving the incumbents. :)

9:06 AM  
Anonymous jacquie said...

I have two (2) ONLY CHILDREN!! This was accomplished by marring twice 11 years aparrt. I was divorced from Ist's Dad when she was 18 months so was a single working mom until we met husband #2 whom I had NO intention of marrying because #1 was almost 12 and out of the house. She looked at me after meeting him for lunch and movie and said she loved him and wanted him to be her DAD!!!! WOW talk about going with your child's mood!!!! 14 months later and lots of lnog distance dating ( he was in the army) we married much to her (and my delight) He was a 39 year old never beeen married army man. I told him that we could have the family he wanted IF I got to stay home the 1st year and in those difficult middle years ( like when he met #1) We had a girl in 1997 and #1 was 15 years old and happy to finally have a sibling!! I still however maintain that I have 2 ONLY Children because she went out on her own at 17 and we moved 9 hours away a couple of years later!! We made #1 the Godmother of #2 and Now we also have GRANDSONS 8 & 6 9 hours away and a 12 year old living at home!! and YES I am here at home as promised. cleaning a huge house and reading your blog

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Robin Raven said...

It always seems to me that being a parent to an only child would be harder. I see the pros and cons of each. People who are dedicated and selfless parents have my total respect. The world needs more parents who put their child first for sure!

Anonymous put into words my exact thoughts on the topic. I'm one of the people who are happily childfree and planning to stay that way.

Your lizard comment made me laugh. Is it bad that some of us dog lovers make that claim? I had a dog that I loved (and still love) more than life itself from age 10 to my senior year of college. I tend to consider myself her "parent," and I'm still quite proud of her. She was amazing. She made me an animal rights activist for life.

I have so much respect for parents who are great, like you, Quinn.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Singular sensation every little step she takes.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

I'm with you. I'm an only, my daughter is an only. I'm in awe of people who juggle more than one. But I will also go to my post-teen reward sooner than any of them, because I had the horrible decision making skills to get knocked up at 21. So for that I feel pretty good. Because I am nothing if not an optimist.

When I was a kid, I saw my friends and their siblings torturing one another, and, except for a brief time around 10 where I was probably mistaking wanting a baby sibling with wanting a baby doll, I never wanted siblings. Some of my friends get along with their siblings now, and at least as many prefer to never see or speak to them again, if at all possible. My daughter, who is 13, came to rather similar conclusions. So all you're gonna get from over here is a bit of indifference. I got what I got. But I'm sure as heck not gonna go breed some more to see what the difference is. Especially not this close to the finish line.

And for what it's worth, sometime around 11 or 12 I stopped being the primary source of my daughter's entertainment and now have to resort to coercion to spend any time with her at all. Thank goodness for the underdeveloped decision making processes of young brains, so at least I can ground her. Without that, we'd never have any quality time at all.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an only child and still at 47, I'm the center of my mom's world. Anything I do is considered earth-shattering and generally is overanalyzed since there are no others to share the spotlight. Partially because of this, I knew that I wanted more than one and after many years of trying, have two - one of each. I suppose that no way is better - small vs. large family but they're just different. I do think that it's nice that they have a built-in friend for family vacations though.

5:17 PM  
Blogger bcre8uv said...

I've got four, but only two at home. They are 24 (living on his own, with a job and health insurance, thankyouverymuch), 19 (living at college), 10, and 6.

I wouldn't trade my litter of widely spaced offspring. Okay, I might trade #3 for something really cool and tempting, like two weeks at a 5 star tropical resort...but don't tell him I said that.

As you mentioned, I have pretty much every single phase happening simultaneously. It does make for some weird parenting combos, like potty training + shopping for a Homecoming dress, teething + SAT prep, first day of kindergarten + first day of college, etc.

~Tami

6:41 PM  
Blogger Michaéle said...

I really want to go back and read the other comments, but I am going to be selfish and write mine first. This is actually so that I don't forget what I want to shared... :-)

Firstly, the number of children you have doesn't quantify you as a mother. I know mothers of several (Kate Gosselin, anyone)who can't hold a candle to the mom who only has one and loves that child with every fiber of her being.

I also think that there is a lie perpetuated among mother that unless you ARE running from one thing to another, updating your Blackberry as you are homeschooling, you aren't a quality mom. I never bought into that. I kept our kids' schedules manageable for all of us. Now that they are teenagers, their pace is frankly too busy for my taste, but they drive themselves most of the time, never miss curfew and are involved in church and school actitivites that enrich them.

I did chose to have several kids...in close succession. When my oldest was 3, he already had two younger sisters. When he was 2 and his sister was 1, we told him we were going to have a new baby. He burst into tears and I thought I was scarring him for life until he said, "But I like the one I already have!" "New" baby meant out with the old, in with the new and he really liked the sister he already had, thank you very much.

Okay, where was I going with this?

I have two children, my 18 and 16 year olds, who are VERY similar. And by similar, I mean EXTREMELY easy. They were so easy to raise, I kind of feel like I didn't do anything. Until child #3 came along and taught me what different personalities are like. The entire energy in the room shifts when she enters. It's not ALL bad. Just challenging.

I love that I have a son AND daughters. I watch baseball with my son and Gilmore Girls with my daughters.

The greatest thing of all, I have found, about having lots of kids? Now that they are reaching adulthood, I am finding that my children are also my best friends and give back to more more than I could have ever believed.

For the record....I would have had more if Husband would have agreed.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Marie Green said...

The universe never gave me a chance to have an only child, as at 23 weeks during my first pregnancy I found out I was expecting twins. They are identical girls, now age 7. They also have a little sister, age 3. I would LOVE (LOVE LOVE LOVE) to have another (1 more is my upper limit though... 4 is A LOT of children), but my husband is convinced the three we have is enough.

I actually DO think having more is easier, up to a certain extent. Certainly two newborns, infants, toddlers was INSANITY. We were in what we fondly called "survival mode" for those first 2 years w/ twins. But after that, it was great, because they had each other to play with.

And call me crazy, but I think that days when my older kids are at school and it's just me and my youngest are the hardest. I am OFTEN begging off a friend's preschooler to keep her company. She is so much happier and engaged if another child is around.

As far as moods go, I'd say that we, as a family, have good days and bad days. But no single one of us gets to dictate the mood for the whole family, and sometimes this is unfair to the children- expecting them to put their wants/needs aside for the sake of the family. But mostly I think it's good for all of us....

2:37 PM  
Blogger Swistle said...

"Frilled lizard"---ha ha ha ha ha!

I have five. In some ways it is harder than when I had one, and in some ways it is easier. I think it's exactly like stages of development, where the child finally stops doing something difficult, and goes right into a new difficult thing: it's a matter of trading one kind of difficult for another.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Whitney said...

We have two children, 8 and 5. The 8 year old defied all expectations from the moment she was born. I thought I understood children before she was born. She's amazing and I wouldn't trade her for the world. She's very bright, beautiful, sensitive, and creative. But she's requires more work and patience than I ever thought myself capable of. She keeps me humble and sympathetic to other mothers who are struggling. The five year old is amazing, but he's a lot more like what I thought children were like. So he's easier. He makes me feel like I might actually be good at this.
All in all, it's the perfect situation. No matter how frustrated and overwhelmed I get, I wouldn't be able to breathe without those two little creatures in the world.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

I have three, and would have 12 if pregnancy and birth weren't so hard on me physically. I found two was 100% harder than one, and three was not much harder than two. I then understood why mothers of dozens seem so calm. The degree of difficulty might continue to shrink exponentially with each one. We've had misfortunes befall our second child, which taught us two things: People who constantly parrot "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" have no idea what they are talking about, and if we knew what was going to happen to us each day, we'd never get out of bed in the morning.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Drea said...

I am hugely envious of all of you who have been blessed with children - one or a dozen! God/fate/the universe had other plans for my husband and I. We adore our two large dogs who do their best to be our "kids", although I am well aware that they cannot truly fill that role.

Interestingly, as I have advanced into my late 40s, I have "adopted" two young ladies who are in their early 20s. They are children of friends of mine, and they aren't even from the same family (nor have they met). Somehow they each have felt a need to have me in their life as their 'pseudo-mom'. I feel greatly humbled and blessed for them in my life, and I do my best to give them what I can.

Again, I have huge respect for those of you who lovingly parent on a full-time basis. Never underestimate your importance; you matter so much in this world.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Marta said...

When my oldest was still an "only" I knew I had to have more, as I was unhealthily obsessed with her! So she got a baby brother when she was 3. I "knew" there was another girl waiting in the wings,,and she came 2 yrs later. And then I was completely satisfied that our family was complete. I don't think there is a magic # of children to have..just what is right for you! They are all grown now and it's funny.. if one of them comes home they hate it that none of their siblings are here!

8:05 AM  
Blogger Ms. Right said...

Late to the party, but wanted to add this about big families (I have one 19-yr-old daughter who still takes every ounce of creativity and patience I have). I grew up in a good sized city in Texas and in my early 20s, dated a guy with 5 brothers and 2 sisters. They grew up in the 60s and 70s. Their mom told me once about her relationship with the family doc-- that she was lucky to have one who was non-judgmental and sensitive because the kids were always breaking, spraining, slicing or concussing something. After a time, when the mom would call about the latest mishap, the doctor would muse, "Let's see, we went to X Hospital ER twice last month, Y Hospital before that, let's meet at Z Hospital ER." Doc didn't want her investigated for child abuse, so spread the ER visits around. I loved that about the doc, looking out for her while looking out for the kids, too. Her management skills were awesome.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Quirky said...

I don't have any children of my own (at least none of the non-furry kind), but I did want to pop on and say something about siblings. I have a sister who is 3 years younger, and she is my best friend in the whole world. And while there might have been a time or two growing up that I would have loved being an only child, I wouldn't trade her for the world now. She knows me better than anyone. So one is nice, but I think 2 is perfect. Not enough to be a clique, but just right to be an excellent partner in crime.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I grew up the oldest of three, as did my husband. We'd always intended to have two kids, have wound up (through various twists of fate, infertility and adoption routes) with an "only" who is now almost seven. As I'm walking up the front steps to the door of my forties, I feel like for us, it is too late to "start over" with a second child. Certainly, when I'm on the phone with my younger sisters, both of whom have more than one kid and have at least one still in diapers, I congratulate myself on how lucky I am to be through with the sleep-deprivation, potty training, teething, terrible twos stages of things.

But still, in the deep, dark, quiet night, I wish that I could wave a magic wand and have a second. Something stabs at me, deep down inside, knowing that my one and only *is* my one and only.

I feel fortunate for every second that I have been privileged to spend as her mother. Every second, including the scary days and nights in the NICU with a sick, preemie baby whose prenatal health I had no control over, the ongoing battles with the school district over getting her the services she needs, even the moments when my six-going-on-sixteen year old is throwing me more attitude and drama than I myself ever threw at my parents (and I was *quite* dramatic). I often say she out-Streeps Meryl when she feels like it... But every, single second is a gift and a joy and I'd love to do it all over again, if it were possible.

Since it isn't really possible, I count myself lucky to have had my one chance and reassure myself with all the reasons why raising an only has advantages. I am at peace and happy with my lot most of the time, except for the moments when my daughter wishes aloud for siblings or those moments in the middle of the night...

My daughter, by the way, can make me laugh harder than almost anyone else on Earth. Just last night, as I was putting her to bed, she had me cracking up to the point that I was crying from laughing so hard. She totally rocks.

7:04 AM  
Blogger JDaniel4's Mom said...

I have only one. I am always asked why I just have one. I had my son at 43. When I tell people that, they seem to understand.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi! I'm stopping by from Kelly's Korner.

I only have one (not by choice) and I honestly would love to experience the craziness of having a few more. I do love cherishing this time with my only, though.

7:16 PM  

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