Writing and talking about Deeper than the Sea has led to a lot of interesting conversations about parenting and families and how they’re composed. I’ve had these conversations with strangers, friends, and within my own family, ad infinitum. This suits me fine, because I find the subject fascinating. But, even though I had some pretty firm convictions about what makes a family in DTTS, I’ve still got some lingering, persistent doubts when it comes to the makeup of my own.
This week, I read an article that brought all these doubts pushing their way to the front of my brain-space again. It was about whether or not it was okay to have only one child, and I think that I might only have the one child.
At this stage, it seems pretty likely that my little family is complete and rounded off at just the three of us. This causes me no end of heartache, and it’s not even set in stone – my husband and I were fortunate enough not to experience any difficulty conceiving, and physically, there’s no reason that I know of why we couldn’t have another baby, if we wanted to.
I just don’t know if I, or we, want to.
I love the shit out of our little boy. I love parenting him, even when he’s being a devil. I love the unit that the three of us make. I understand that we are so lucky to have him. I have dear friends who haven’t ever been able to take their babies home. Babies who were born still and quiet, and babies who were never born - I’ve seen how easily they slip out of this world, and how all the love and anticipation waiting for them on this side can’t bring them back.
I’m lucky enough to have a happy, thriving little fellow who eats all he can of life in great, big gulps. He’s a noisy and energetic lightning bolt of a boy; a current of electricity; happy, strong and full of wonder. It’s enough for me. He is enough for me. But, I worry that he’ll be lonely, without siblings. I worry that he won’t have a mirror to reflect him back to himself, I worry that he won’t know the frustration and intimacy of a shared childhood that nobody else could ever understand. I worry that when we’re old, he’ll feel even more alone.
But, then I think of the undivided attention we can give him. The investment of time and energy that we can give him, and the other experiences that we might not be able to afford or arrange or stomach with more than one. The continuation of these golden days we’re in now.
And I end up where I started, with no bloody idea.
Lonely only kids, talk to me. Do you resent it? Do you love it? Do you feel deprived or grateful for the childhood you had?
Kids who are one of many, same questions. Has it changed what you want your family to look like?
Read the article that made me revisit this particular quandary this week here.