Thursday, April 11, 2013

Many or One or None

A couple of weekends ago I had my family in to celebrate the Easter holiday. There was lots of eating and drinking, and the bunny made a visit and it was great to be with everybody. But there's one moment I keep thinking back on, as my favorite series of moments from the weekend, when my boy's favorite song came on and we all danced with him and sang along and he loved it so much, when he asked after his bath, before bed, if he could do it again, I couldn't say no. This is usually not the time to get a kid who had skipped his nap and was already ramped up on sugar and attention further excited, but special situations warrant a little flexibility. We did it again, and it was just as awesome. And it was that moment that cemented for me that he's growing up taking for granted that all the love is for him. That there's no other way to be in the world. Maybe this mindset will ruin him, but I don't actually think so. I think there's a way to bask in unconditional adoration and still be able grow into a person aware of the world around him. By making HR an only child, there will challenges for him on the road becoming an upstanding human being. But that's a challenge for every parent, every child, and if our guy has the chance to be the center of that kind of pure love every day of his life, I would never deny him of it. It doesn't qualify as spoiling.

When I was a kid, it never occurred to me that I had less love in my life because I had siblings, or that love was rationed out. Love, to me, is bottomless. Infinite. It's what I was given, what I model after. And though I shared my home and my life with so many people, I always felt that I got tons of attention. There was always time or each of us, there was always room. And that's how I believe I would feel about my own kids, if I had more than one. Having enough love for another wasn't a factor in determining our family size.

HR will benefit in many ways from being the only one, just as he'll lose out in other ways. But the ways in which we're lacking are not things we're going to worry about. I like to think that parents of any number of kids do their best to make sure that each and every one of their offspring don't turn into a jerk when they grow up. It's not solely the dominion of only children. Discipline applies to everyone. Every kid has trouble sharing at first, it doesn't come naturally. We're doing our best, as I believe most people do their best. And in the end, we get what we get.

There's no shortage of opinions about people who have one child. And I have no shortage of opinions regarding other people's life choices. But just as whatever I think doesn't mean anything because it's not my beez, the decisions we make for us are just for us. They're not about anyone else. And I feel good about them. I'm not putting this out here to defend our choices against an invisible attacker or be sanctimonious and say what we're doing is the best. It's only the best for us, and we're the only ones I'm qualified to speak about. I've just been thinking about it a lot lately, as HR plants his feet in some mightily willful preschooler shoes. Basically, we can't spoil our child by giving him all our love. The trick is to love him enough to do the things that sometimes cause him to not want love us back, for his own good.

In conclusion, parenting is parenting. And parenting is wonderful and tough. And not parenting is cool too, provided you don't have kids. I fully support those who are child-free by choice - if you don't want kids, why would you have them? In conclusion, happy belated sibling day, which is a thing, I just learned. After I wrote this.

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