Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Life is full with a child in it

Brady is an only child. In my Grand Vision for Life, this was not the case. He would have had at least one biological sibling (he sure enjoys his much older step-brother though!).

But life doesn't always follow the path of our Grand Vision, does it?

While there are drawbacks to this, I think there are positives as well. We get a lot of one-on-one time. I can focus on just what his needs are. I have an abundance of time and energy to spend on this wonderfully spirited young man to teach him, to guide him. It's easy to just pick up and go wherever and whenever we feel like. We have the space and time to talk and talk and talk. 

Even though he's an only, when he's not here - like the month he just spent with his Dad in Virginia this summer - things are different. I imagine most parents who share custody can relate to this feeling.

It's not an emptiness exactly because there's lots to fill a day with, especially since we own our own business. It's more of an ache, the knowledge of blank space in my life.

I miss his frequent calls of "Mommy!" or "I have three things to tell you, one is...." or "Come here, I want to show you something!" I miss his voice in the morning, getting him dinner, riding bikes, worrying about his amount of screen time, reading together, and just the sound and feel of him nearby. The house is quieter, tidier, smaller.

When he is here my days and my heart are full, busy, complex, focused, structured, driven. It's not the same when he's away. Eventually I throw myself into the free time I have - to spend with hubby, to garden, to read, to blog, to see my mom and friends. I do appreciate that down time to reboot and relax, and most of all I love the extra couple time.

And I am endlessly grateful he has a strong relationship with his Dad and gets to do and see new things (Washington D.C., how exciting!)

I guess that's how it will be one day when he goes off on his own to college or some other place or gets married. I think I'll be okay when that day comes, but I know that time is not here yet and so his absence is more pronounced.

For now, he's back. For now, he's 7 and we have a ways to go before the world beckons and I face a truly empty nest. For now, I always have an ear and eye cocked in his direction to see what he needs or what he's up to. For now, I will hold him close and take joy in all today brings.

For now.
There's food ready to go in his lunch bag!
We didn't have bananas in the house for 3 weeks.
His bed is rumpled.
There's small-sized laundry in the bin.
Time for limits again! Thank you, God, for him.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Steph. My daughter was an only child as well. I would have loved to have about a dozen, but it wasn't the Lord's plan. So, I understand the amazing relationship you can build with an only child. We never experienced all those difficult years. And we still have an amazing relationship. I didn't have to worry about the blended family issues though. Glad he's back.

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    1. Regina, I would have loved more too, but it just didn't work out that way and I know that's part of God's plan too. We have our share of difficult times, LOL, we're both hard-headed, stubborn, emotional, but we are super super close.

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  2. I have 4 boys, so none of them is technically an 'only', but Peanut is my husband's and my 'only' so when the other three head north for the summer, it's fun to learn Peanut by himself 24/7. He's always had someone else there at some point during the day even if we were alone during school time. I wonder what it will be like when all his older brothers have moved out and he truly becomes an 'only'. He'll be about 13. On the other end of the spectrum is that when all the boys are here (the other 8.5 months of the year, some days it seems that there isn't enough time to even talk to all of them. I make an effort to spend one-on-one time with each on even if it's cuddle time on the couch or my oldest and I talking in the kitchen while making supper.
    I love your photo of the little laundry. I miss seeing my kids laundry in the basket too. To me, keeping them in clean clothes is one of those little ways I show I love them so much.

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    1. Wow, 4 boys, that's amazing! My mom had 3 boys and then 10 years later, me. She said I was worse than all 3 of them combined! Ha! You kind of get to experience a little of both, a full house and then some time with one. Clothes, dishes and cooking are the things we do the most for them it seems, day after day, little expressions of love :)

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  3. I'm glad he's back home with you! Hug him close.

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  4. Ugh. I can't even begin to think of the time that my babies will move out. I miss them after a few hours away from them. I think I'll go nuts. I love your sweet thoughts on him and the sweet pictures of reminders of life with your baby.

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    1. Thanks, Rochelle :) I can't imagine that day either.

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  5. Thanks for writing this. Sometimes I get frustrated with messes or not getting things done--but I would miss the kids so much if they weren't there to make them so be thankful!

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    1. Yes, some days it's hard to remember how thankful we are in the daily grind :)

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  6. oh my I remember those days. When my son went off to college, everyone was watching me to see if I was going to fall apart. Well, all was good until he was gone for a few days and then the falling apart happened. Even though we saw him a couple times during the month, it was still sad. He was my only child. After the year was over and he came home for summer vacation, it had been about 2 weeks, and I finally asked him, "When are you suppose to go back to school?" :)

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    1. Awwww, a glimpse into my future, I think. A sadness and adjustment, then everyone gets used to the new way of life.

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  7. Beautifully expressed. Mine are grown now and we too have a blended family who live 16 hours away from one another; it's always difficult but we love them all the same. Keep writing Stephanie, you have a beautiful gift.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kathleen :) Blended families present new challenges, but we can get through them if we work at it, love a lot and communicate.

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