Facial distortion is a common side effect upon the receipt of information that I have Just One child over the age of four. Friends and family are usually respectful and supportive; it’s the random acquaintance or stranger in line at the grocery store whose facial muscles attempt to straighten out as the information from their brain travels in lighting speed through the mouth, “When are you planning on having another one?”
The questioner holds their breath waiting to let out a sigh of relief upon the sane answer that Just One will be joined by And Then There Was Two in the near future. A millisecond after I inform the questioner that we are not planning on adding to our odd numbered family, I can see a slight twitch above at least one eye. Here are ten actual responses I’ve heard:
1. “Aren’t you afraid she will be lonely?” (Yes, because I lock her in our home and shun her from society.
2. “I knew an only child once, they were spoiled rotten and unbearable to be around.” (Oh, I know! I have never met awful people with siblings.)
3. “I’m sure you will change your mind especially when she gets older and won’t want to be around her parents much.” (You’re probably right. My child’s purpose is to fulfill my loneliness.)
4. “Are you unable to have more?” (If I slap you on the back right now will your scrunched up nose stick?)
5. “What about adoption?” (Oh, yeah I heard Walmart carries kids now! I should quickly run in and pick one out.)
6. “Well, I have five you see. It has been so rewarding watching them grow up. I just got back from visiting my youngest. He’s incarcerated, but he’s learning. My second daughter’s fourth husband lives with me and his kids. They’re not my daughter’s kids, but a grandchild is a grandchild. He hurt his back and…….” (Lane five is open.)
7. “When you pass she’ll have a big burden on her hands trying to sort out your belongings.” (How’s the lawsuit with your siblings going over your dad’s will?)
8. “Your daughter probably only relates with adults, huh?” (Yeah, that’s why it takes me an hour to get her to leave her friends at school at every pick-up. She can’t stand other kids. Plus, conversing with adults is such a useless skill.)
9. “Does she usually get whatever she wants? I bet it is hard to go to Target.” (Oh, I was not aware being a parent of one meant I cannot say “no.”)
And my all time favorite:
10. “What if something happens to her?” (Hmm? I hadn’t thought of a back-up. They are practically all the same. If I stock up on enough back-ups they are practically free!
Our choice to have just one child was thought out. We know our limits and are choosing quality of life for the long-term. Our family of three does not make us less of one with missing puzzle pieces. It does not make my husband less of a father, me less of a mother or our child less of a daughter.
Our family of three is perfect for us, and that’s all that matters.