Such That We Are

Saturday morning, Sean’s soccer team played against the German Nationals and it was no surprise that they were thoroughly trounced. Those German’s are good at soccer and not nearly as tall as you might think.  The score was something like 782 to 0, but our guys took no notice thusly living out the principal that it’s not whether you win or lose, as long as there are snacks.

There’s no sorrow that a Moon Pie can’t sooth.

In spite of the loss, Saturday afternoon turned out to be fabulously beautiful, sunny and mild, so after the game Sean and AD took off on foot around the neighborhood looking for someone to come out and play.  They rang four or five doorbells but everyone was busy or gone, so they returned home in the second defeat of the day.

Not wanting to miss the glory of the day, we drove to a nearby park that has a big playground and a trail that runs alongside a nature preserve and a creek.  We walked the trail together, the three of us, pretending to be explorers. We hopped back and forth across the creek and in and out and through the brush, stopping occasionally to dig treasures out of the mud.  In Sean’s world this kind of outing trumps Six Flags and Disney World all rolled into one.

As we walked back to the car in the glow of a fading sun, I watched Sean gallop ahead of us.  He had a short rope that he had found that he was swinging over his head like a lariat.  He was singing some church song off key in little boy falsetto. Yellow leaves rained down around us and the warm November air smelled sweet of damp earth and decaying leaves.  And it seemed in that moment, that we were complete, that we lacked absolutely nothing.

As older parents of an only child, sometimes we are hyper-sensitive to the fact that Sean’s primary playmates are us, two middle-aged goofballs who adore him.  And that seems a little sad.  Sometimes we feel sort of sorry for him that he doesn’t have built-in playmates in siblings or that he can’t open his front door to find a mob of kids to play with as we did when we were growing up.  These days, it seems that everyone is at lessons.

But the fact of the matter is, the sense of loss is felt only by us. For Sean, in this season of his life, he would rather be with us, such that we are, than with anyone else in the whole world. And there is nothing in that to count as loss.

29 thoughts on “Such That We Are

  1. We have a lot in common. Older mom, one son, lost soccer game this weekend and I worry about his dad and I so often being his most frequent playmates.
    One positive thing is that I feel blessed that I have the time and perspective to play with my son and enjoy him so much. My mom had four kids and we all played together but she always seemed to be working around the house and not playing with us and I didn’t spend the same kind of time with my mom that my son and I now have.
    I think we, you and I and our husbands, are pretty lucky.


  2. This was such a beautiful post. I needed to hear this today.

    I will admit that I have often worried that my boy will feel lonely or cheated because he is an only child. I have never questioned God’s decision to only give us one, but it hasn’t stopped me from agonizing over the implications.

    Your words were a gentle reminder that the opposite is in fact true. My son happily accepts his life as it is, without question.


  3. You’re right. That’s all he knows and so it seems perfect in his world.

    We all worry about things like that. Did we have too many kids? Not enough? Did we spend too much time doting on him? Not enough?

    You’re right about the “lessons”! Ugh!


  4. There is a lot of luck in each of our situations, as my DH was explaining to my son (who wishes he were an only like me, most days)- ditto the choking observation. My mom also went to a lot of effort to make sure I was not the center of the world and worked hard not to succomb to the only-guilt. Sounds like you guys are doing a great job balancing things for him, and he’ll appreciate all the luck that is his!


  5. God puts each of us into whatever type of family He wants for us. Sean is so blessed, and I do not feel the least bit sorry for him, even though I have six children myself. 🙂


  6. I do feel bad sometimes that my little one just has us to play with most of the time. There are slightly older neighbor children, but they’re always off playing soccer or softball or whatever on the weekends.
    But you’re right, she doesn’t seem to miss it when they’re not available, she’s just as happy to play with her two weird, old parents!


  7. Great post! As an only child I was constantly asked if I missed having siblings or had people act like it was so sad. I got so sick of the “lonely only” stereotype. The reality was I liked being a group of 3 with my parents and as I got older I really enjoyed being alone. I had plenty of friends but as I got older I realized I was one of the only people in my age group that was just happy to be alone on a weekend afternoon. I always could find something to do, some way to entertain myself.

    Sometimes I find myself feeling sorry for my oldest since he often only has brother or me and dh to play with. Since we homeschool he doesn’t have a ton of other friends (he has a few but not as many as if he went away to school). But I often have the same realization as you, that there is nothing to feel sorry for. Right now, his best friend in the world is his brother. That may not last forever, but really that’s a great thing for now.


  8. Beautiful, AM! Thanks for reminding me to look for the perfect moments and embrace them as I live them, rather than wishing for something else.


  9. Thanks for posting that. As a mom of an 8 yr old only son, I have second guesses constantly about it just being him, I’m his main source of entertainment and the same questions you listed. Thank you for reminding me how blessed we all are, and that it’s truly my issue, not my son’s. He is lacking for nothing, just as Sean is not either. If you were at the same park I believe you were this weekend (very close to my house) it was a wonderful one to be at, one of our faves!


  10. Even at the ripe old age of nine, my only child loves to be with me. I know that will change, I’m getting ready for it, but for now, I’m enjoying these times. I have felt sorry at times for him, too, only having his parents to hang out with but, as you say, the loss is felt only by me. Peace.


  11. I totally agree…we have two little ones. They have the occasional playdate, or at least the older one does. The littel one is in preschool and Sunday Schoola nd whathaveyou, but I don’t load them up with playdates and the like. On the weekends it’s the 4 of us. We all need the time together and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. They’ll have friends come and go from their lives but, God willing, we’ll be the ones there through every season. As sisters, I want them to be one another’s best friend. I want me and their Daddy to be the first ones they come to for fun or companionship. But that’s not to say I just want to be my kids’ friend!

    I grew up in a close family unit that enjoyed spending time and hanging out together. We all still have a wonderful time being in each other’s company. I’m in no hurry to enlarge their circle of friends. That may make me sound like some sort of weird, clingy Mama, but the hubs and I want to be the biggest influence in their lives and we can’t be that if we aren’t right smack dab in the middle of them!

    Great post! Better luck next time against the Germans!


  12. AM, I so needed to read this today. I know what MY dream of a “perfect family” looks like, but God is showing me that He may have other plans — plans that look a lot like YOUR three-pronged family. And that is beautiful and complete. Thank you.


  13. It’s good to spend time just hanging out with little kids. You don’t have to spend a dime or do a lot. Just watch, play and listen. An enriching experience for both child and parents.


  14. Those poor kids who have to do lessons on a beautiful Saturday. I think some parents get rid of their kids on weekends because they don’t know how to enjoy time together. (I know some) Looking out the window and saying “The sun is shining! Let’s go out!” would not occur to them. It’s good for us to write these things, and put the ideas out there for other families.


  15. I was 31 when my only daughter was born and felt much of what you’re feeling now. For so many years, it was the three of us. Now, almost 21 years later, she’s still happy in the company of her best friends (her words.) Her circle has expanded to include other best friends, but she still enjoys time spent in our little circle of three. I consider myself to be hugely blessed.

    I have a feeling it’ll always be that way for y’all, too.


  16. Indeed… my kids are at the age where I battle with the friends. “Please talk to ME for a minute…!” Sean is lacking nothing. What a blessing he is.


  17. The soccer score reminds me of the time our daughter came home from a football game and I asked the score.

    “Like, A LOT to zero.”

    I agree that Sean will eventually feel the need to find his little group of friends. The beauty of it is that it will be on his own time. I know you know how fleeting this phase is and that you are cherishing it. Your posts are so sweet.

    My baby boy has a counter on his cell phone – 197 days until he ships for boot camp. 197 days until my heart gets on a plane to San Diego……


  18. My oldest is at the age where some times he wants to still snuggle and others he just wants to be left to play or watch tv. My youngest still wants to be held and have me wrap my arms around him and hold him tight. Thankfully I still can pick him up because I really miss it with my 95lb oldest.


  19. Enjoy it. It will change and twist and turn as they grow. They want to push away but know they have someone they can always depend on and fall back on.

    I crave having my baby boy Seans age but that just isn’t going to happen. We are so blessed that our son wants to hang out with us and do things with us. He will be 18 in less than 20 days. I could cry my eyes out. But I’m trying to be strong and take that step back and let him go. That my friend is so hard to do.

    Enjoy your sweet boy. He is blessed to have you as a mom. To have parents willing to stop everything for him to go exploring with. That is what every child craves at your son’s age. You are giving him everything he needs. More than friends that fade away. You are also teaching him his father in heaven will always be there for him. That is the most important lesson of all.


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