Yet again, our almost daily walk with Luna produces another memorable Peanut moment. On one of our routes, we walk by a rose garden that is a focal point of the park that our street dead ends into. Recently, the people who take care of the garden dedicated a new statue to one of its benefactors. It was a particularly hot day, so Luna found a shaded patch of grass near the rose bushes and laid down. I sat on a bench as Peanut played on the statue, a little boy pushing a wheelbarrow. She then put her arm around it, and said, "Look, daddy. He's my little brother."
She had struck a chord. So I asked her, "Are you ok if me and mommy don't have another baby?"
Then, in typical Peanut fashion, she eased my concerns saying, "Daddy, I'm just pretending."
This is a very sensitive subject for us. And while we never say never, for now we're saying we only get one shot at this. I only get one shot at this. At the whole being a dad thing. This is my shot:
So everything I do, every decision I make, every choice is a BFD. Because everything involves Peanut.
My daughter is an ONLY child and will likely be our ONLY child. And I have heard enough of the backhanded, condescending comments in my five-plus years as a dad of ONE child. News alert: Having one child doesn't make me any less of a parent. Maybe it's just paranoia or insecurity, but sometimes I feel unfairly judged or underestimated.
Then I remember actual conversations, like this:
"We've always made Peanut eat what we eat. Luckily, she's a good eater and likes pretty much anything I cook."
(Dismissively) "Yeah. But you ONLY have one. I have to worry about two picky eaters."
That's just one of many exchanges I've had. The mere suggestion that our days, our lives, are somehow easier is insulting. My Director and I don't have it easy. Walk a mile in my shoes. Wake up when I do. Do my job and love my child for the two hours a day I get to love her. Then tell me how insignificant it is. Look, I'm not looking for a pat on the back or for someone to validate me as a dad. The only person who needs to think I'm a good dad as far as I'm concerned is Peanut. Her love and respect is all that matters. But the persistent, underlying judgment we feel as "only-"parents is sometimes exhausting.
I don't love her any less. I don't stress about her any less. I don't play king to her princess with any less gusto just because she's my ONLY child.
Sometimes one is enough. Plenty, in fact.
We have one child by choice, and by circumstance. For the same reasons I am sure other families may have more than one. If you ask me, we are all more than blessed.
A couple of weeks ago, My Director and I were watching the Olympics. More specifically, we were watching women's swimming. We watched a profile piece on 17 year-old phenom Missy Franklin and her family. She is smart, personable, outgoing, funny, and adorable. Oh, she then went on to win the gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke. (Then three other golds and a bronze, thank you very much.) She is also an only child.
|The Golden Only Child (photo from here.)|
Peanut is also smart, personable, outgoing, funny, and adorable.Yet, sometimes we still feel the need to defend her, to justify her actions and our decisions, to ourselves and others. Well, the justifying stops today.
|She probably won't be winning any gold medals in swimming|
since she still doesn't like getting her face wet. But I love
her just the same.
For a time, we went back and forth about having a second child, weighing the pros and cons. I wrote about it almost a year ago. You can click here if you want to read it. But our decision to stop at one was not an easy one. Circumstances helped us make that decision. Someday we'll be ready to share that story.