I watch my son from the window at the kitchen sink, he lines his cars up one after the other, a long multi-colored lineup of shiny toys, broken only by the pilfered dustbin, his ramshackle ramp. He is wearing navy blue pajama bottoms with boats on them and his hair has a snarled, comical tangle at the back, his signature unruly bed head. The birds are chirping and it’s barely dawn and he seems cognizant of this, whispering imaginary conversation between the red truck and the yellow car.
“I’m going to the supermarket,”says the red truck.
“I‘m going to the beach,” says the yellow car.
He is so good at playing by himself, my son, and I am both proud and saddened by this. He has to be good at it; I have even less time than most Moms to play with him; I’m on the computer firing off urgent emails or I’m cleaning the bathroom sink, or I’m wandering around trying to find his right flip flop. In another life, I imagine that I might be pregnant again around this time, brewing a sibling for my golden sun. Then he’d have an instant playmate: someone who would both infuriate and endear him, who would be the only other person who would understand what it’s like to have a Mom like me.
But I’m not about to become pregnant anytime soon, and as it stands, it looks like Nolan will be an only child. I am 33, and even if I do get married in the next two years and get pregnant immediately (highly unlikely) - I am ambivalent about the thought of a half sibling. And honestly, I don’t trust my instinct like I once did. In order to decide to have another child, I would have to be certain. I would have to be married and and confident it would not disintegrate, at any cost. And a deep part of me believes that my heart has splintered in such a way that that kind of confidence is impossible for me to obtain ever again.
Having just one child allows me to have a career; a second child, I think, would force me in another direction and now I always think in terms of having to do it alone, by myself, just in case. Even with one son, I rely on my family to facilitate my career. Even with one son, my hands are so full. As Mama of one, my life is rich enough.
But still. I watch my only son in the dappled sunlight of this July summer morning, whispering softly to his trucks, contentedly solo. I hope he won’t blame me for not being able to give him a sibling, I hope he will be fulfilled and content on his own. I hope to learn this myself, too.