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My One And Only

My One and Only

I had previously written a piece about how E was asking (begging, really) for a younger sibling. Although my dating life is definitely picking up, I do not expect to be pregnant anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure that I want to be. And that in itself is quite a change from my mindset a year or so ago.

Even after my marriage fell apart, I desperately wanted another baby. Craved one, actually. In the fall of 2004, while I was still a married woman, I became pregnant with a second child. I had a miscarriage at about ten weeks. It devastated me beyond all belief, but I thought that I would recover after I got pregnant again. That never happened, and I became separated in September 2006. That was well over three and a half years ago, and E remains an only child.

Growing up, I always said that I wanted an only child. Of course, I probably made that statement every time my little sister stole my Holly Hobby doll. As I got older and that skinny, pigtailed girl became one of my best friends, I realized that I wanted more than one kid running around the house. I know that not all siblings have the same close relationship that my sister and I have. (She drove to my apartment with candy when I was freaking out about the breakup of my marriage… and even offered to brush my teeth and put me to bed. It’s true — she rocks.) However, I also know that I can count on her to pick out the perfect birthday gift for my mom or to talk candidly about family members’ health issues.< I worry that E will have to do all those things alone. He has no one else to lean on when I get older. Or if I'm pushing him off the deep end. (My sister and I often call each other to declare, "Your mother is driving me crazy!") I realize that it's pretty early for me to worry about my senior years; however, that seems like a big responsibility for one person... especially since I picture him as a perpetual seven-year-old boy. Aside from the concern that my kid will be alone in dealing with the ways of the world (I am, after all, a Jewish mother), there are other reasons that I regret the fact that I never had another baby. Don't get me wrong — my kid is absolutely incredible, and I marvel at him every day. But sometimes I think that if I knew that E was going to be an only child, I would have appreciated his early years more. I was so very tired when he was a baby and toddler. Maybe in the throes of new mom exhaustion I didn't treasure those times as much as I should have. Perhaps I would have cherished those moments more if I had known that all his "firsts" were going to be my "lasts." It still saddens me to think that I might never again see a baby's first smile, or a stumble across a room, or hear "mama" from a mashed banana-covered mouth. I know, I know. There is still time for me. The ripe age of forty is certainly not too old to have a baby. And I haven't started replacement hormone therapy yet. But I have come to the point that I'm not even sure if I want a second child. I feel like E and I are finally in our groove — spending time and living together, and really enjoying each other's company. I'm finding my own way as well — teaching yoga in two studios, writing a bit more, and enjoying what little free time I actually do have. Life shifts wonderfully when a baby is born; I just might no longer be ready to make that shift. Part of me mourns that fact. And another part rejoices, "I might never have to change another diaper again!" (My grandbabies notwithstanding, of course.) And then I realize that I am the mom of a fabulous single child, and that the two of us make a pretty good pair. So, for the time being it's just E and me. I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I have a kid who takes breaks from his homework to give me hugs. (And, yes, I am going to continue believing that has nothing to do with procrastination... so sue me.) I love that child beyond belief; E fills my life in so many ways. When I look at it from that perspective, I realize that I do not need to keep wanting more. He might be an only, but he's my everything. Author: Stacey Linden

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