When I was pregnant with my younger son, I remember my husband and I playing on the floor with our one-year-old and me thinking, “By having another baby, I’m changing him forever.”
Had we done the right thing? It scared me a little how much our decision to have another child would affect our first son. With that not-so-simple act, we were altering our family unit, how we’d interact with each other, and how much attention we could give him.
I’m sure some of my concern stemmed from fear that I wouldn’t know how to handle two kids, how to treat them fairly, or how to keep from having a favorite.
I was an only child, and while I enjoyed many aspects of it, I also longed for someone to hang out with when we moved or took long trips, to rehash family outings and events with from a fellow kids’ point of view, someone else who’d remember “that time when.”
Heck, I even wished I’d had someone who would force me to stand up for myself with other kids, because I never had to do it at home, and I was so, so timid.
When I married a man who was going to be in the Air Force, I knew I wanted at least two kids. Even if they hated each other—which they don’t—having someone to fight with seemed better than the sheer boredom of not knowing anyone your age.
Would my oldest prefer to be an only child? I’m afraid to ask. But from my perspective, I think my kids are better off for having each other. They have different personalities and interests, but in the end they have a shared history that binds them together.
If I’ve changed my son forever, I hope he’ll agree it was in a good way.
At least someday.