Monday, January 7, 2013

My One and Only

I'm finally getting smarter with this whole youth sports thing.  Finally.

Once upon a time, I would attempt to be friendly---not will you be my new best friend friendly, but more along the lines of if we're going to be here for the next 16 weeks, it would be nice to smile and say hello while we watch the kids friendly.

That effort came to a screeching halt a few months back---right after the first day of soccer practice, which is also known as the day when I was totally shunned by the soccer mom clique.  While I do have a teeny-tiny tendency to be ever-so-slightly overdramatic, this was not one of those times.   I saw a group of women talking, and I smiled and said hello.  In response, the group stopped speaking, started at me, looked me up and down multiple times, said NOTHING, turned their backs and resumed their conversation.

Yeah.  That was AWESOME.  Kinda like 7th grade all over again--only this time, I don't need braces.  Whatever.  Some of us actually leave cliques behind in middle school.

I chalk up that magical experience, along with numerous other parenting mishaps, to the fact that Little M is my first child and I'm still learning the rules of the road.    The problem with this logic is that Little M is also my only child, which means that I won't get to experience that "senior parent" moment with a subsequent child when I get something right on the first try because I have at least a partial clue as to what the F I am doing.

Luckily, Little M and I are on the same page.  We've agreed that neither one of us knows what we're doing, but we're going figure it out together.   I've also agreed to try my best not to embarrass her most of the time, though I have reserved the right to act like a complete bozo in places like Target if the background music warrants.  I can't be expected to behave all the time.

Soccer wasn't my best moment, but I'm much smarter at gymnastics.  This is fortunate, as gymnastics runs all year and it would be a loooooooong year in Social Siberia.   I smile and say hello to the fellow parents, and then I sit down, put on my iPod and zone out while watching Little M do her thing....and then I smile and say "see you next week" on the way out.

I may be a slow learner, but the good news is that I do actually learn.

While observing yesterday, I realized that I couldn't get a tune out of my head and was actually humming it.

You're my one and only
My one and only true love
True love

Moments like this are totally inconvenient when you're consciously trying to not embarrass your child at sports practice.  Even worse, I realized that this song came from my late 1980s New Jersey middle school era--so it was both understated and classy.

Only I couldn't remember the title and artist.

Cover Girls?  Expose?  God help me, Samantha Fox?

(Pause for moment of silence for S-S-S-Samantha Fox.)

I realize that I could have googled this mystery song, but c'mon.  Where's the fun in that?  Instead, I conjured myself up at a 1988 middle school dance in NJ---all decked out in the finest clothes that the Echelon Mall offered**, a mouth full of metal, and hair that looked like it belonged in a Bon Jovi video. And then it hit me---the elusive song was Seduction's "You're My One and Only."  Bought it on the spot and threw it on "repeat" for the rest of gymnastics.

**Note:  Those would be the finest clothes that my mom would allow me to wear and were also available for purchase in the children's department of Strawbridge's, as I was all of 4'7" and about 65 pounds.  As far as I was concerned, Strawbridge's Echelon was actually the height of sophistication.  Please do not try to sully that fine memory.

As I jammed out, reliving the joys of middle school (and decided that if my child was on the other side of a glass wall, I wasn't embarrassing her in the technical sense), I started thinking about my one and my only.  Child, that is.

Being the mother of an only child is kind of an interesting place.  There are all sorts of questions and comments; mostly raised by well meaning people and many of which border on entirely too personal, but are brought up anyway.

For the record, I despise the question "are you planning to have more children?" I like its follow-up, "why not?" even less---not only due to their personal nature, but also because I'm fraught with some level of worry that I may regret this decision sometime later in life.  I also hate these questions because there is inevitably some level of judgment that follows---the judgment which shouts that a woman who chooses to only have one child must  have something wrong with her, be it physical or mental, but she's somehow less of a woman.

That all said, there are 2 questions that drive me completely up the wall.  In no particular order, they are:

1.  Is it just Little M?  (usually said IN FRONT OF my child).   Now, I'm the first to admit that I'm a bit touchy about this one; however, unless the word "just" is followed by the words "awesome", "perfect" or "terrific", let's not use it to describe my front of my child.  It's kind of rude.  It's more than a little dismissive.   And I'm pretty sure that I would never go up to someone with multiple kids, point at one, and say something like "is that just your youngest?"

2.  Don't you want to give your husband his son?  I fully acknowledge that my education in the sciences ended with Biology for Business Majors, which I believe is one small step above Rocks for Jocks in difficulty at the collegiate level.  Even with my limited knowledge base, I'm pretty confident in saying that I don't actually get to pick the gender of future children.  X chromosome, anyone?  Sarcasm aside, I'm not a fan of the implied insult of both my husband and my daughter.   That little girl, my  little girl, is the absolute greatest joy in both her parents' lives.   I'd say the same thing if my only child were a son.  Real men love their kids, regardless of gender.  Real men teach their kids to ride bikes and to throw a ball.  And yes, real men play tea party and My Little Pony.

The ideal family size is so personal and should be decided inside the family--and not be a topic of debate or criticism.  And I don't think that criticism is squarely directed for families with one child---for every time I've heard feedback that my family wasn't quite "enough", I've heard my friends with larger families saying that they've drawn comments about their family being too big and too much.   Whatever happened to all families, the big ones and the little ones and the ones in between, being beautiful and sacred?

And to my Little M, you are not just enough.  You are everything.  I couldn't be luckier that you were chosen to be my one and only.

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