Perspective

It’s far too soon, I think, for much perspective on our decision to stay with only one child. When I say it like that, I’m reminded of my monthly poker game wherein we all have code names and I never stay soon enough causing my to lose all my nickels and dimes. Accepting the cards dealt and making the most of them isn’t my usual strategy (in life or in poker). In this case, however, going all in wasn’t a financially or emotionally (and possibly even physically) feasible.

That said, the evidence is mounting in favor of having only one child. I’m sure, if I were pregnant, I’d be finding similar optimism. I’m reminded frequently how wonderful RR is and how much I value life as it is. I value my sleep and my emotional reservoir that means I can be patient even when the situation is spiraling away from me. But I see little cracks here and there that make me grateful we stopped when we did. This morning I snapped at the dog for panting too near me. I can only imagine how I’d handle a second human hollering for breakfast.

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t had moments of awkward instability. Every day for six months I’ve thought about what my body is doing and how it is feeling in relation to being pregnant. I noticed when I must have ovulated and how odd it was not to have tracked it. I sat there, considering my underwear and contemplating trees falling in the forest. It turns out everything happened as usual, even though I’m not watching it happen.

It’s amazing how much time assisted conception takes. I’m envious (always have been) of couples who can take a quick roll in the hay and turn up pregnant. Whose medical intervention only begins once the stick turns positive. Instead there are phone calls and blood draws, ovary checks and IUIs, medicine check-ins and follow-ups. This month, without the punctuation of the fertility clinic, feels both endless and fast-paced. A combination that wreaks havoc with my mental state (another plus one for the only child route).

Every morning I wake up and remind myself to stay in the moment. My wife’s strategy, a good one I think, in theory, is to plan ahead, identify moments of happiness and interesting events. Meanwhile, I’m torn between reminding myself to take one thing at a time so as not to be overwhelmed (this has nothing to do with children or lack thereof but has to do with my own internal balance, which I suppose you could argue is directly tied to the former) and acknowledging that looking toward the future is a good thing to do. Debra is right, the dark days of winter are coming and it’s unwise to plunge into them without a list of things to be excited about.

That said, here’s a bit of now and it’s absolutely beautiful.

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12 Responses

  1. Beautifully written, Meredith. And that Debra is a wise one. She’s a keeper.

  2. If I don’t have something on the calendar to look forward to, I go insane. That view is absolutely gorgeous!

  3. Beautiful. I think there are many benefits to having one child. She gets your undivided love and attention, best of all.

    Remembering to stay in the moment is a tough one for me, but like you, I try to practice it daily.

    • I suspect she’d agree on the only child front. Unlike some of her peers, we’ve only ever heard “maybe a stitzer” once and she’s never mentioned it again. She enjoys her personal space.

  4. Beautifully written. Sometimes life forces you to slow down and take things one day at a time. Rightly or wrongly, it’s the best way to go about things. Because you can’t enjoy those bits of now if you have your eyes constantly, always on what’s next.

    • True and very hard to remember some days. I find it easiest in the fall though, there’s something so transient about all of it – leaves falling, holidays whipping past, grass fading, icy mornings and warm afternoons – that it’s easy to stay in the moment.

  5. Yeah, boy. We sure do live in heaven here. xo

  6. I’m an only child and I never answered the only child question. I guess my answer would be “you get what you get.” But I don’t mean that in a negative way, I mean it in a “be the river” kind of way. I’ve never understood the urge to have a baby in order to give child/ren a sibling. That could turn out wonderfully or horribly, there’s no way to know. I have no regrets about being an only child, and the only onlies I’ve personally known to hate being onlies grew up in lonely/grim homes. Best things about being an only-lots of sleepovers with friends (also onlies) because our parents would trade childcare, spending a lot of time with my parents, getting to go out to eat and go to movies with my mom while my dad worked nights).

  7. It does sound like you have some good things to look forward to (this winter and in your lives in general). And NOT having to do any more of the poking and prodding and early-morning doctor appointments is definitely one of them! There are lots of great things about getting to enjoy RR without all of the physical/financial/attentional demands of a sibling.
    And it’s not surprising that it will take some getting used to, especially after months of trying to create a family that looked different from that. Thinking of you all.

  8. I suppose I’d have to ask K about our decision to have only one child and it’s impact on her. I know for me, it was an easy one. But, your writing this is beautiful and brave and you have so much emotion put in it. I hope that in time the decision you guys have made will be one of less questions and disappointments and more of enjoyment of RR and the end result of the family you have created. ((HUGS))

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