What question does Keri loathe above all others?
“When are you going to have another one?”
Holy crap, do people LOVE to ask that to parents of single kiddos.
This past weekend, it was asked at the grocery store, by the friendly checker Jr was giggling with as she scanned our Memorial Day picnic supplies.
Never mind that I could have a football team worth of kiddos back at home, or even trolling the isles on their own, as it seems that it completely acceptable in the “burbs.
Why… OH why, are you asking me that?
Why isn’t one enough?
In my heart, one has always been enough – one was THE one. One was the last piece of my whole wide wonderful world. I knew it as soon as I was pregnant with him – this was the member of our family we were waiting for.
Since joking is what Keri does, I have a tendency to go the tee-hee route in an attempt to derail the conversation : “Oh he’s the little emperor, all our eggs are in that basket,” or “Oh goodness, I am lucky if we all have on matching shoes when we leave the house each morning – we are busy enough with one!” (I didn’t say good jokes – but among the MANY feelings that make me go straight for attempts at humor, feeling backed into a corner or defensive is right at the top.) Sometimes it is too irritating to even try to be polite (which clearly the person is NOT concerned with,) and I just snap “maybe you should have another baby then!”
Beyond just the question, be it from a well-meaning friend or family member or (way more often than I could imagine,) a random stranger we come in contact with at some point during the day, what blows me away is the list of reasons why my answer is unacceptable that always follows my response.
I have been repeatedly informed of exactly how awful, and selfish, and clueless I am in my decision to have a single child. I am frequently “reminded” that when I realize how very wrong I am it will be too late (because I am not just selfish and clueless, I am old as well, TYVM,) and I will be filled with regret.
Poor Jr will be equal parts entitled, and self-centered, and lonely, and resentful of us all the days of his life; right up to the day he has to deal with the logistics of our coming illnesses and death all by himself – because no siblings were provided to be an assured support system.
It’s always special when a trip for some bananas and milk ends with a lecture about your eventual death from your favorite a checker at the local Piggly Wiggly. (Ok, we don’t have Piggly Wigglys here. But still, come on, Eileen! None-ya!)
By the way – it works, kind of. Not because of whatever the inquisitor-of-the-hour has to say, so much, but because I have considered all of these things too. (Not REALLY so dense, I promise, people.)
ANDPLUSALSO – I know that I feel our family is complete. I know that The Mr. says he agrees. Judging by Binky-the-wonder-dog’s jealous reluctance to completely accept Jr, I assume that he is in the “no room at the inn” camp of thinking. I also know that this decision is, in reality, predominately on me to make. My guess is that if I got all “Ok, time for another one,” about things that The Mr would probably be good to go with that plan too. I imagine that Jr will go through a period of questioning why he is a single child as well.
Any conversations that take place around the feelings of my family are obviously very worthwhile. WITHIN OUR FAMILY.
I don’t want to share the awkward silence while swinging Jr next to another kiddo at the park because I refuse to justify our family planning decisions to never-even-met-you-before neighbor mom.
Maybe it is just a perception thing, but I do feel like the pressure to fill a mini-van to Von Trapp family proportions is much more intense in the suburbs than in the city. Not once have I been at a gathering of families in the city (let alone a dang grocery store,) and been asked about when my husband and I were going to start getting busy (literally and figuratively – I mean think about what you are REALLY asking me,) on another baby.
I know the houses are bigger – but that doesn’t mean we need to stick a kid in every room just because it exists! (BTW, we drove Awesome Alyssa the Realtor CRAZEH trying to find a house small enough that still met our needs, because we knew the size of our family.)
SIMMER DOWN, SUBURBS!! I think my kid, and my whole family, will be ok just as we are. I see no reason why Jr won’t continue to grow as the generous, sweet-natured, loving kiddo he has shown himself to be. Additionally, I see no reason why I will wake up one morning and think that everything he is to us is somehow less than enough.
I am a “never say never” kind of gal – it is true.
But I damn sure know that any updates to family planning decisions that get made aren’t going to be made as I am waiting for my debit card to go through because a smiling granny tells me “my grandson is SO happy to have his little sister, you’ve just GOT to give him another one to play with!”
What am I going to do? Scream “OH MY GOD – I’VE BEEN A FOOL! GOTTA GO FIND MY HUSBAND AND START BABY MAKING – NOW!” before abandoning my purchases, chucking Jr in the cart and bypassing the penny horse ride thanking her for fixing my life as I go?
So how about we just stick with “sure is hot outside, isn’t it?” or “is that the new Bluebell flavor”? and leave the possible future residents of my uterus out of it, m’kay?
(Also, SERIOUSLY – I really am lucky if we all have on matching shoes… hell I feel proud some days that I remember to put on shoes at all. And pants. Really.)