Friday, February 20, 2015

Raising an Only - No Do-Overs

I was at an elementary school the other day and a mom walked by, with her eyes all red.  I asked if she was okay.  As the parent of a fifth grade girl, her third and last child, she said, "This was my last Valentine's party."

Miserable right?  Actually, we are in a
park in the middle of the South Pacific.
Not as miserable anymore, eh?
She walked off, crying, to be with her own misery.

I stood there, not even knowing what to do or say.

I didn't get it, so I had nothing to offer.  No words of wisdom.  Nothing.

I walked away wondering of something was wrong with me (don't even go there!).

Then I realized that I am the mother of ONE child.  Well, to be fair, I kinda know I only had one kid, but, what I mean is, I have just one kid.  One daughter, who is now 16 (ohgoodGod).

Everything we have done since her birth is our first and last everything.

The first time she rolled over, that was it.  That was the first roll over we were going to see (that sounds kinda odd).

The first solid food was the first and last first (say that ten times real fast).

The first day of school?  No big deal for either one of us, really.  She just kind of walked in, sat down, and pulled out a pencil.  I went coat shopping.

The first time she drove off on her own (like, last week!) I did video it.  Because of she hit the fence post on the way out, I wanted it for insurance evidence.  There is that "oh, there she goes" only because I think I'm supposed to feel that way.  In reality, I'm proud that she's independent enough to pay her own gas, own insurance, and be able to drive off like that.  And that now she can drive her own self to the 6:30 am ASB meetings rather than me dragging my butt out of bed.

So I had nothing to offer this woman who knew, when her oldest was in fifth grade, that two more were coming down the pike.  She could do re-do's.  The first Valentines box could be done better with the next kid.  By the time the littlest came up for fifth grade, this mom had it down.

Me, I got nothing.  I have to glean every single scrap of information from parents who have done this before me.  Because I don't get do-overs.  I have one chance to do this right or mess it up completely (and we have been on both sides of that fence, believe me!).

So, yes, I will grill you for information about how you did it with your kid.  Sorry (notreally).


There's a whole list of things about raising an Only Child (which is now a proper noun, with capitals and everything).  Maybe that's my next blog series....


  1. Stopping by from Saturday Spotlight. I have 5 so I'm kind of at the other end of the spectrum, so I love hearing your perspective here.

    And I think there is this temptation to think that we SHOULD get all sentimental about the last time, but really it's always replaced by the first time they're doing something else. So funny, I recently wrote about this exact thing at my blog a month or so ago.

    I will definitely be back to check out more of your blog!

  2. I don't think anyone really gets "re-do's" I raised 3 girls, all VERY different temperaments. Life has all kinds of different circumstances too. Making a box for valentines and having a party is the LEAST important thing about parenting, IMO. When your kids move out the first time for good you think your life will end. It doesn't, life goes on, then you get all kinds of free time!!! You can have more time your spouse, etc., and for yourself :) But there are really no re-dos~~~~