To the Mother With Only One Child
Dear Mother of Only One Child,
Don’t say it. Before the words can even pass your lips, let me beg you: don’t say, “Wow, you have nine kids? I thought it was hard with just my one!”
My dear, it is hard. You’re not being a wuss or a whiner when you feel like your life is hard. I know, because I remember having “only one child.” You may not even believe how many times I stop and reflect on how much easier my life is, now that I have nine children.and continues later on:
So now? Yes, the practical parts are a thousand times easier: I’m a virtuoso. I worry, but then I move along. Nobody pushes me around, and I have helpers galore. Someone fetches clean diapers and gets rid of the dirty ones. When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night for the ten thousandth time, I sigh and roll my eyes, maybe even cry a little bit for sheer tiredness—but I know it will pass, it will pass.
It’s becoming easier, and it will be easier still. They are passing me by.
I’m broken in. There’s no collision of worlds. We’re so darn busy that it’s a sheer delight to take some time to wash some small child’s small limbs in a quiet bath, or to read The Story of Ferdinand one more time. Taking care of them is easy. It’s tiring, it’s frustrating, but when I stop and take a breath, I see that it’s almost like a charade of work. All these things, the dishes, the diapers, the spills—they must be taken care of, but they don’t matter. They aren’t who I am.