One and Done | child photographer
If you've been following my blog, then you know that I love children, but only have one child. Just last week said child turned 12. I'm still trying to get over that, as well as the fact his voice has gotten deeper and he's almost as tall as me. Anyway, I've always said how much I love children, but I only have one for a reason. Because it would take another blog post to explain that one, I decided to do it in this blog post. Yes, I am finally going to tell my story about my only child. Actually, I was going to write about my impending visit with my mother-in-law (who actually arrived today), but I will save that for next week. At least that way you can find out how it turned out.
The reason I switched blog topics was from a Facebook post of an ex-coworker. He was lamenting the despair in the world because of the Manchester bombing. He was wondering how was he supposed to raise his daughters in this kind of world with this kind of danger. Before I go any farther, I absolutely feel for those victims of that heinous act of terrorism. I have been praying for those who have been injured or murdered, and their families. His post got me to thinking...you are just now feeling despair? When I commented on his feelings of despair, he stated that he had been feeling despair for years and if I hadn't been, then I wasn't paying attention. Oh really?
At that point I clarified my position, even though I had explained to him previously that there have been people who have been experiencing the despair that he feels for decades, not years. I told him that I was born into this despair and with domestic terrorism. Hence the reason I only have one child, which I almost didn't have. When my parents were married, I was the youngest of four children. As I grew up, I wanted four kids just like my parents. Then my parents got remarried and they had more children. As time went on, the number of children I wanted went from 4 down to 0. Life was not always easy and I was confronted by how difficult it was to "adult". My rationale for not wanting children was "It's hard enough taking care of myself, let alone someone who is totally dependent upon me."
My reason for not wanting any children was fear. I was afraid to bring a child into this uncertain and volatile world. Would I be able to provide for them? Would I be a good mother? Would I be able to shape them into the best people they could be? Would I be able to protect them? Those are all questions that I worried about. I've had my struggles, but I was able to overcome them with my family's support and lots of hard work. I, like many parents, do not want my child to struggle, but I know he will. I believe it is actually in his best interest to struggle at least a little bit because it will help him to be self-reliant. This is also a blog post for another day.
Anyway, when I met my husband we discussed having children. I told him that if he wanted children we would have to be married because I wasn't planning on being anyone's baby's mama. If you're a baby's mama, go 'head and you do you. Being someone's baby's mama is not necessarily a bad thing, it's just not what I wanted for myself. I was raised to want to have a child in wedlock and I want to know that the person I marry will be by my side as we raise the child together. So we talked more and we ended up getting married and the fear snuck up on me again and I decided that I didn't want any children. My husband would vacillate between wanting and not wanting a child until finally he broke down and said he really wanted one. The only reason he went back and forth is because he knew that I didn't want one.
Welp, what could I say? I couldn't say nope because I knew, even though he loves me tremendously, that down the line he would come to resent the fact that I didn't give him a child. Plus I didn't want to do that to him. So I agreed, but it was going to be a one and done deal. After the one child there would be no more. I told him to give us at least 5 years to do what we wanted to do and hopefully when the time was up I would be ready to have a child. Five years came and I never experienced the "I want a baby" feeling. Not once. Even though I had loads of fun with my nieces and nephews, the feeling didn't transfer to me having my own child. Regardless of how I felt, I made a promise and I planned on sticking to it and I wound up getting pregnant. I prayed for a boy because I figured he wouldn't ask me for another child if he had a son, but I was wrong. To be honest, I was not nearly as benevolent with my answer that time. His exact words were "We've made a cute little boy, I bet we could make a pretty little girl." My response was "I bet we could, but we're not."
So far, all of my questions have been quelled, except for one. Will I be able to protect him? So far, yes, but as he gets older we'll just have to wait and see. Right now the only way he gets anywhere is via me or my husband, the school bus, a family member or family friend. He's only 12, so he's not driving yet and doesn't venture outside of our neighborhood by himself yet either. I'm trying not to hold onto him too tightly, but it's hard when I keep seeing these young black boys dying all around us. This is what I thought about when I read that Facebook post. He's a white guy with two white daughters. I'm not saying he doesn't have any fears for his daughters, but I don't believe he has to fear his daughters being shot by a police officer just for trying to take their wallet out of their pocket.
I don't mean to be Debbie downer, but it's something that I have to think about. Being the person that I am, I do choose positivity and hope over negativity and despair. But just because I make this choice, doesn't mean that those two things automatically go away. I don't want my son to walk around in fear, but I do want him to be aware. We do live in a cruel world, but there is also love in the world. There are wonderful people with whom we can commune and enjoy their company. Even though there are tons of things that are not good, there are even more things that are. My husband and I will continue to instill all of the knowledge we can in him and try to make him the best person he can be. Provide him with a good foundation so that he will succeed in spite of what's going on in the world. We will continue to pour all that we are in him and pray for the best.
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