10 Absolute Promises

Ryan, age 3. Safety first. Helmets have always been the rule; even when Ryan first sat on his tricycle in our living room!

“Can you promise me that there won’t be any more?”

That was my son’s question as we got ready for bed last Friday night.  (For my out-of-California readers, we had a couple of big earthquakes here last week.)

As I gave Ryan his nightly hugs and kisses, he asked me to promise him that everything was back to normal.  I couldn’t promise that.  

He asked me to promise him that if there were any after-shocks they would be too small to feel.  I couldn’t promise that.  

But I did promise Ryan the most important thing my husband and I have always promised him – to do everything we can to always keep him healthy and safe.

Throughout the night, I peeked in and watched Ryan sleep.  And I thought about how much of his life, and my life, is out of my control.  

I can’t make promises about earthquakes.  

But, I absolutely can make these promises to my son:

 

1.  I promise to always regard you with a mix of awe and wonder.

2.  I promise to always have chocolate in the house. 

3.  I promise that we will never run out of toilet paper.

4.  I promise that our family will always have money to buy books.

5.  I promise I will always cry at certain parts of certain movies (splash-down in Apollo 13 and the” there’s-no-bathroom-for-me-here” scene in Hidden Figures).

6.  I promise I will always yell at the TV when we watch basketball games.

7.  I promise to always attend your school functions including performances, conferences, and Back-to-School nights.

8.  I promise to always print out pictures, maintain our family photo albums, and periodically update the pictures on our refrigerator.

9.  I promise I will always feel colder than you and will annoy you when I ask you, again, if you’re warm enough.

10.  I promise that long after you’ll probably want them, I will still always have an endless supply of hugs and kisses.

 

My Son Is An Only Child

Our Beautiful Family

It happened again.

A couple of weeks ago, while at the checkout line, the friendly Ralphs cashier told me I needed to have at least one more child.

She said this in front of my son.

This time around, the cashier is someone we chat with each time we see her.  She is warm and friendly with my son.  She comments on how tall he’s gotten and asks how he’s doing in school.  

But this was crossing the line.

While she scanned my groceries and I bagged them, I tried my usual answer.  “We’re blessed with Ryan.”

But she didn’t let it go.  “You need to give him a brother or a sister.  You never know what could happen to you or your husband.  You don’t want to leave him alone.”

I felt a physical reaction, as if I had been punched in the stomach.  I know this.  It is one of my great fears.

As we loaded our groceries into the car, I spoke to my son about this conversation.  “I really like it when we see Dora, but I really didn’t like what she said to us today,” I told Ryan.

I continued.  “You know each family makes their own decisions about children.  How many to have, or if they’ll have any at all.  And each family’s decision is right for them.  Our decision is right for us.  Daddy and I feel so lucky that our family is the way it is.”

“I know,” Ryan said.

But like I began this post, this isn’t the first time a supermarket cashier has commented on our one-child family status.  And even though I’ve dealt with this before, it doesn’t get any easier.

Click here to be re-directed to RoleReboot.org  to read my personal essay, “When A Stranger Told Me I Needed To Have a Second Child.