Sunday, April 13, 2008

One is the loneliest number...or is it?

Cooper is not technically an only child. The Bob, his father, was married once before and has two children by that marriage. They are 17 and 19 year old boys. Soooo, they are NOT into babysitting (and even if they were, the younger one dropped one of our dogs on its head on the concrete around the pool, AND has actually accidentally fallen in the pool fully clothed, so I am not inclined to put him in charge of much) and they are teenagers, so they are by definition, self absorbed. They don't have any interest in visiting us, and adding a baby to the scenario does not entice them more.

The pool - it was one of the selling points for us when we were looking at this house, in our not yet married, pre-baby days when thoughts of small children falling in the pool and drowning were not even close to the surface of my consciousness. Now it is one of those double edged swords. I LOVED swimming as a child. I could not wait to be able to swim without any assistance. At that time the floatation device of choice was a styrofoam bubble that was strapped to the back of the child with one little strap. They were eventually deemed more dangerous than helpful since if a child was knocked unconscious, while the bubble would keep the child afloat, it would, by virtue of being on the back, keep the child face down in the water and thus assist in the drowing of said child. But all that aside, I am hoping Cooper will want to swim and will enjoy being in the water as much as I did. In the meantime, I need to figure out a way to keep him safe around the pool.

But back to the original point of today's blog. Cooper has brothers, but they don't even know him. It is not for the lack of trying, but they can't see the value of interacting with him right now. So with the age difference, and relative indifference of his relatives, he may well be considered an only child. I know several people who are only children, and several people who have siblings but wish they didn't. I think the answer is very subjective, depending on your own experiences. I have one brother, who is three years younger than I am. He is one of the funniest and most intelligent people I know and I cherish having him in my life. It is hard to have him live 3000 miles away. He is also a person with issues. My family has a history of learning disabilities, mood disorders and migraine headaches. When it comes to genetic bullets, every one of them hit my brother. None of the got me. I am eternally grateful for that by the way, universe. But I value having grown up with a sibling, and also value that he lives two blocks from our parents, so that when things are needed, he is there to help out.

I should at this point clarify that having a second child is not on the agenda. Having the first one wasn't either, but if my doctor did her job when delivering Cooper by c-section, I should not be able have more. I am over 40, and having the first child almost killed me so having a second one is definitely not advised. Although, apparently 1 in 250 tubal ligations fail. It is not outside of the realm of possibility I could end up knocked up again, and I suspect I am married to Fertile Fred. I think that if you are going to be surgically sterilized it should have better odds since I don't want to have to be worrying about whether it worked ever month until I go through menopause.

But if I am NOT the 1 in 250, Cooper is not going to have any siblings provided by me. Will he be missing out on something? Will he resent having to tend to me in my dotage, which is not as far off as it would have been had I had him 20 years ago. Will he wish he had other siblings to share the joys and burdens of life with? Or will he be grateful that he doesn't have to share his room, his stuff, his clothes, bikes, food, dogs, etc. with another person. Will he be grateful that he won't have to be that persons' protector, dragging them out of bars they are too young to be in late at night like my ex-husband had to do for his sister back in their 20's? He is in the camp of people who have siblings but wish they didn't.

I don't think I will know the answer at this time. We are just going to have to the best job we can raising him and hope that by the time we are in our later years, which hopefully is at least 40 years away, Cooper will be in a position in his life to manage on his own. And maybe by then his older brothers will have figured out what a funny and incredible person he is.

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