Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Less is More

As often as possible, I take George in the car with me, which isn’t easy now that it’s hot outside. In the winter he can sit in the car and wait for me wherever I go, but now we’re limited to air-conditioned travels through the Starbucks drive-thru and shopping trips to Home Depot. Riding in the shopping cart, he gets attention from all the customers and salespeople who sweet-talk him and pet him. (He can’t just be on a leash because he would happily pee on things.)

I can take George with me because he is an only-dog – if I had more than one, I know I wouldn’t be so quick to take them with me. But because he is by himself, we go to the park and on trips and to people’s houses and to the mountains, all because it’s easy to load him up and go.

Like George, I was an only dog/child. (?) I remember my mom telling me that she liked having only one child because it meant we could do more. She could afford more, therefore we went on trips together and I had experiences and opportunities that I never would have had if I had siblings. And Mom and I were so close that it’s hard to imagine the different relationship we might have had if there were someone else in the house.

Going through life as an only child, I often received criticism or assumptions from people with siblings. “Weren’t you lonely?” No, I’m actually more secure doing things by myself than most people seem to be. “Didn’t you miss having brothers or sisters?” Nope, except when my Mom died. Then, I could have used someone nearby to share what I was going through. “I bet you were spoiled!” Well, I don’t think so, but it depends on your definition of the word. Yes, Mom’s attention was focused on me because I was her only child, but I definitely didn’t always get what I wanted!

For this post, I looked up statistics regarding only children, and I found that my experience was comparable to the average only child: I did well in school, felt comfortable with adults, and easily enjoyed time to myself. While I wasn’t as social as those with siblings (like first-borns), I had the same amount of close friends as most people. And while I wasn’t involved in as many social groups or clubs, I was often a leader in those I did join. It’s always strange to me when I read statistics and see that I fit right in. The non-conformist in me wants to rebel.

My husband and I plan to have only one child, for many reasons. And I have to admit that I like the idea of having only one to focus on, having only one child to take places, having only one so we can do more, have more, be more. I can just see us now, jumping into the car with George, on the way to Starbucks, or Home Depot, or beyond. Christmas in Hawaii? Summers in Europe? Or just quiet nights at home, with us all doing our own separate things. Less is more, right, more or less?

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