Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reflections on the Shore

One of the cool things about having a beach house in the family is the history that goes along with it. I have an older brother and sister, Eric and Christy. (Hi Sissy! *waves*) We are very close in age, which translates into a lot of chaos. Some of that chaos was great, some not so much, but looking back, it's all pretty funny.

When I went out to the shed to get a bucket and shovel for Michael, I was reminded of the time Eric and Christy were chasing each other around and one of them tried to hide in the shed. They pulled and pushed on the aluminum door too much and damaged it. To this day, it's hard to close the door.

When we sat down to eat lunch, I was reminded of the lunches my grandmother would make for us. The noon siren would go off and we would head in for soup and sandwiches. One time my grandmother confessed to making the Manhattan Clam Chowder with chicken broth instead of water. Christy was NOT happy about this and complained about the disgusting chicken chowder. She refused to eat her bowl of soup. I echoed her complaints...while eating her bowl of soup. Score!

As we relaxed in the living room, I couldn't help but think back to the year Christy broke her arm on the giant slide at the amusement park. Eric was so upset. He thought that it was going to ruin our entire vacation. Christy - you know, the one with the broken arm- took it all in stride. It didn't keep her from doing anything. I, on the other hand thought I had a new source of older sister torment. I don't know what she said to upset me, but I turned on her and called her a "four eyed, one armed orangutan". It was in the living room that I learned that not only do fiberglass casts bruise, they also scratch. Ouch.

I think my favorite memory of the three of us down the shore is the summer of the jelly fish invasion. We had this great idea. We caught a few buckets full of jelly fish, dug holes in the sand, filled the holes with jelly fish, and finally covered them with sand. Then we sat down to watch as poor, unsuspecting beach walkers stepped into our jelly fish traps. It was a brilliant idea and our execution was flawless. Well, except for the part where we sat five feet away from the holes and giggled as soon as someone approached. So much for that idea.

Last Saturday at the bay, I watched as Michael played in the sand and ran along the water's edge and I felt a pang of regret. We are 99.9% sure that he will be our only child. I realized as I watched him that he'll never have a sibling to conspire with. He won't know what it's like to have a brother throw sand at him or a sister to go crabbing with. He'll never get to climb on the jetty and share tidal pool finds with another child in the family. I'm not saying that having an older brother and sister was always wonderful, but it was never lonely.

For a moment, I really reconsidered having a second child, but than a little girl came up and asked Michael if he wanted to play with her. Maybe I don't have as much to worry about as I thought. Michael's childhood will certainly be different than mine, but that doesn't mean that he won't have meaningful relationships. They will just be different relationships.


LauraC said...

I think there are always going to be some kind of doubts but you're right, their childhood is never going to be the same as ours no matter what we do.

Stacey said...

I was so worried about having #2 because I've always seen myself as an only child kind of parent. Also, I was terrified I wouldn't be able to love two. Well, I was instantly pleased with my decision when Will came along. I can't wait until he and Cole can do more together than Cole smushing him with his "loving" kiss attacks.

I love most of my only child students though. They are generally more thoughtful than their classmates and interact well with adults and other children. ALL of them have wonderful relationships with their parents and several friends. They don't seem any lonelier than their peers.

Have you read any of the Henry and Mudge books? They are our current series of choice and I love them as much as Cole does. You could always get a huge dog :)

Zoey and Ford's Mommy said...

What a great blog!

I love reminiscing about growing up with all of my siblings. There are seven of us all together. I hope my kids can have the same kind of relationship as I had with my brothers.

Beth said...

It's such a hard decision! You won't regret having a second, but that's not a compelling reason to have another. While a lot of me would love to have number 3, there are way more compelling reasons to stop at 2. (Not the least of which being that Ed is DONE!) Seriously--Michael will not lack for anything being an only child. There are always advantages and disadvantages to every situation. Sounds like you know in your heart what is right for your family. (And you still have time to change your mind, should that .01% start to take hold!)

Julie said...

So as I am reading your post I am thinking about how awesome its going to be for Lana to have a sibling. I am reading it like its a window into a world I know nothing about, taking mental notes, as I am an only child. Then I got to the part where you felt a little sad that Michael won't have those relationships, and I almost yelled into my computer to say that being an only child is really really great too!!! Its different, sure, but I have wonderful memories of my childhood, childhood friends, relationships with adults and quiet Sundays at home with my parents.