It wasn't that we didn't know our daughter. It was that Only Child Week gave us a chance to bring her into sharp focus, without the distractions of work and school and French horn practice and babysitting commitments.
This Halloween season, I have to be honest and say that I have my own ideas about the costume he could wear. I wished there was an I'm-a-kid-from-a-large-family-costume that would adequately disguise his very real "only child' status. Let me explain.
I keep reading because I'm scared. I have no frame of reference for a sibling in my life and it seems in this case, I'll have to follow my daughter's lead, loving unconditionally, sight unseen, and just open my heart and share everything I have.
For years I've anxiously been waiting the day I have my parents, house, car, and basically everything else to myself. But for the first time (one of the many firsts that seem to be coming hand in hand with next year), I might actually find myself missing my siblings.
During the process of deciding whether or not to have another child, I heard often from people that it was "wrong" to have only one if it was possible, health-wise, to have more. One person even called it a "disservice" to my first child.
Being an only child taught me the most valuable skill of all: the ability to be alone. Sure, I had friends growing up, but I was just as content to sit in my bedroom alone, playing with my Playmobil dollhouse as I was to have a friend join me.
"Only," as an adjective, modifies the word "child." He is your "only child." We don't ask of lottery winners: Is this your only million? That would seem to be looking a gift horse in the mouth, questioning an obvious surfeit from a position of condescension.
I'm worried that by the time my son turns seven, his dad and I will both have to take on additional jobs just to handle the expenses. And new research shows it's not just us -- it's the new reality of having kids.
More often than not being an only in NY means you have your own room, you play with friends, and if your parents have the opportunity you are thrust into a sea of onlys at every minute of your formative years.
It's not like she can't get one dad or the other to sit on the floor and enact elaborate serial dramas involving Barbie talent shows. But there comes a point when pretend-play fatigue sets in. And we adults reach that point long before she does.