I was walking downtown with my friend Laela one gray afternoon when she turned to me and asked, “Do you think you’ll have more children?”
Oh, I’ve been asked that question many times since that day, but that was my first time. Laela’s son and my daughter were both 1 1/2 years old (we met at a baby/parent class) and I guess that’s about the time when that question starts to come up.
“I’m not sure,” was my honest answer. “How about you?”
“This is going to sound terrible,” she answered shyly, “but sometimes I’m afraid that if I only have one and something happens to him it would destroy me. If there were two, I wouldn’t have all my eggs in one basket.”
You know, maybe that does sound terrible. But I confess I had already had that thought (and stuffed it into the box in my head where I keep my unwanteds and uncomfortables). Hearing that someone else, someone sweet and good like Laela, also had that fear was liberating. That bad thought looked tiny, harmless and, well, pretty unrealistic once released into the wilds of the real world. I mean, really, a backup? Why did we think that would help?
I remember Bill Cosby had a joke that you weren’t a real parent unless you had at least two kids. With one kid, when something gets broken in the house you know who did it. With two kids, it gets more complicated. Well, Laela did end up having another child and I didn’t. Life just went like that for about a billion reasons. They say it takes all kinds, and I think we’re both happy with the way things turned out.
It may seem odd, but when I was a kid my all-time favorite book was “Cheaper by the Dozen.” What I liked most about it, however, was not the idea of having 12 children. Actually, the part that sparked my imagination was the fantasy of someday, like the parents in the story, having a career as an efficiency expert. Truly, it does take all kinds.