#13: The wonderful gift of an only child

While some might see an only child as a lonely existence, one mom documents the beauty of giving her love to one incredible little boy.

By Deanna McFadden
#13: The wonderful gift of an only child

Photo: Deanna McFadden

From the first whoopsy-daisy moment of finding out we were pregnant, I knew The Fig — as we called our son when he was, well, the size of a small piece of fruit — would be our only child.

Sure, I’m a little worried, and maybe a bit concerned, about the typical problems when it comes to having just one: Will he be lonely without a sibling? Will he end up being spoiled and perhaps a bit selfish?  It seems to me, though, that there are just as many issues around having two or more kids, so it’ll all come out in the wash, right?
I know siblings provide comfort and context when you’re growing up. I have a younger brother; my husband, an older brother and a younger sister. We both enjoy big family gatherings and spending weekends at the cottage with an entire gang. But then, I can also make all kinds of politically correct, environmentally sound arguments about having a one-child household. In truth, being a parent takes up all of your time, and that responsibility for the life now in the world, well, it fills you up completely whether you have one or whether you have many.
Still, we aren’t the royal family, so there’s no real reason for an heir and a spare, and I don’t have a huge farm to run where many hands are needed to make light the work. I wanted to experience pregnancy. To have a baby. To be a good parent. All of this can be accomplished with just one rambunctious, energy-laced, ridiculously cute little boy.
Family is what you make it. So many of us have friends and cousins that are so close that we’d consider them siblings, and more often than not, real brothers and sisters end up being so different that the only bonds that bring them together are forced holidays, guilt, and a never-ending whirl of uncomfortable dinners. For now, my son has daycare for socialization twice a week, his cousins at the cottage on the weekends as playmates, and friends that will become like brothers — without the constant fighting and the jealousy that sometimes rears its ugly head.
We can influence and encourage him to become an independent, self-reliant person who enjoys his own company. Our goal is to work hard to build a family that will expose him to all of the inherent fun and excitement that comes along with living in a big, glorious city, and then we’ll pack him up and cart the boy off to interesting places.
As my husband puts it, we’re going to having a wonderful life with him. All of which makes it clear to me that my job as a parent isn’t to be his sibling, but to enrich his life and then leave him happily well off and well taken care of. Some days, we almost get there. So far, and he’s only almost-two, all of my worries seem a little silly. After all, my son’s a delightful, giving, and outgoing little guy who oozes with love, and our family honestly feels perfect, just being we happy three.

This article was originally published on Jul 20, 2012

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