Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Child #2

When are you having another child?" I'm asked. My wife casts a disapproving glare in my direction. It's one of those questions on my growing list of "questions I have contempt for," joining the previous favorites of: 1. when are you getting married? and  2. when are you having children?  And an all-time favorite, what's wrong with your face? This annoyance, this pestilence of innocent curiosity, has made me realize that I need to be equipped with an artillery of responses.

"I think we’re a one-and-done family." I respond confidently and honestly. This is how I always start to respond, but I am not so good at hiding my feelings. I've been told I have a very expressive face. This single-child decision that my wife and I have made came after much discussion. Admittedly, we are open to the idea of a second and are not completely ruling it out, but it is unfathomable, at this time, to think of adding more chaos to the upheaved life we currently live.

"You can't just have one child. You need to have two." I am baited. Who the hell are you to give me this directive? I fume, I turn red, my eyebrow likely raises, signaling I am engaged; my ears flush red. Need. Someone else has determined for me that the addition of another child - all before my first son can even walk - is necessary. We have heard it argued that we need a second in case, morbidly and God forbid  "one doesn't make it" or because "only children have mental problems." Inclined as I was to ask that person if she were an only child, I did not. The best argument I can make advocated for kid number two is that when Louanne and I get old and crazy, Ezra should probably have someone to talk to, but we have a plan for that. My son has a college fund and a therapy fund - I wish I had had either.

I'll have a second child when you pay, I think to myself. Children are expensive. Before I can respond, my wife, always the kinder of we two, speaks up:

"We will have a second when Ezra goes to pick it out from the pound." Winning, I think. This is why I married her.

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