My family goal always included a houseful of kids. Growing up with a big brother, and very close with our cousins, often we were four – or more. We learned from each other – social culture – independent play. The parenthood dream, for me.
Alas, as you’ve seen on this blog in “Fertility Road Pt. 1”, my struggle to have just one, was real. When my boy was born I felt incredibly lucky. We could talk, at great length, about the up/down side of having an “only”, not to mention the pressure to have “multiple” kids. Today isn’t about that.
Simply put, today, we celebrated the singleton. No plans, no playdates, few kid-only distractions, just us. Me, my boy and my partner. We walked the dogs 5K in old growth forrest (in pouring rain), did major spring cleaning chores, got groceries – and OK, hit the dollar store for crafts and silly string – most of all we were just together.
At one point I asked my, highly social, son if he wanted a play date and he said “nah, I like this.” At that moment the mom in me, who loves a full house of screaming nerf-gun wielding 9 year olds, said, “Me too bud, me too.”
He’s hit the age where we can really do stuff that matters. Safeway wasn’t just the adults shopping, this time it was him hunting for specific items we need during the week. He’s able to run around a store solo and find these things. Obviously, it would be faster for me to “just do it”, as I have for his entire life. I felt so good watching him venture out and come back successful in his task. Life skills.
We are a busy family and often we just need chill time. Evenings we often default to “you go watch your show, we will watch ours”, this time (after short protest) we chose together. Planet Earth II is free on demand. We watched and discussed — the kid regularly exclaiming “how did they get this footage?!” (that’s my boy)
Today, hanging with the singleton – without distraction – punctuated how fast he is growing up. If I’d had a friend along to happily distract him from our tasks (as I’ve often done) I would have been distracted from the fact that he is quickly becoming quite capable. He loved showing off his latest life skills.
We all loved it, at the end of the day, and at tuck-in it was decided that we would carve out more of this in future. I’m in. (and yes, I still do story time – chat – tuck in.)
Only child sounds lonely – but that need not be the case. They have their village, as they should, they also have the same family dynamic opportunities – without sibs. Fostering that is my new Mom lesson.