Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Monster Within is an Only Child

My birthday was Monday and it was not a good day. My grandma was sick and had to be taken to the ER, interrupting plans my mom and I had for the day. I was stuck at home with two small children who had been dressed and geared up to go out for "Mommy's Party Day". They were disappointed and the youngest couldn't understand where Mommy's Party went. We ended up at the grocery store and picking up a nasty drive-through lunch. Their behavior was almost as bad as mine. I was worried and disappointed and at a loss as to how to save the day. I did a lot of thinking and inner dialogue.

Which got me wondering, does everyone talk to themselves in their heads or is that an only child thing? I've always done it. I have really interesting conversations with myself, all in my head. I find myself shushing the kids because I can't hear myself think sometimes. My attention will wander in conversation because I will be discussing the topic with my HEAD. No, I don't think I'm crazy. I just grew up with a lot of alone time, as an only child with two working parents. And don't think this is one of those things where the kids blame the parents for everything...I LOVED being an only child.

I should explain that technically I had a sister. My dad had a daughter from his first marriage but she was rarely present in our home. I'm not sure what the custody agreement was but I remember her there for a couple of Christmases and a couple of summers, maybe a couple of Spring Breaks and once she lived with us for an entire school year. But, mostly, I was the only child in the home and I was always my mom's only child and to top it off, the only grandchild of my maternal grandparents. Can you say spoiled?

I still battle this everyday. In fact, I would say that being an only child is at the root of a lot of my parenting challenges. I don't like noise. Three young children in one small house make a lot of noise. I don't ever know how to be fair or whose side to take. My side was the only side. Usually, I just stay out of it. I do a lot of saying, "Work it out." Even shopping is hard. Who needs what, when, and the most right now?

So, the point is that I am spoiled. I should not have been disappointed that my birthday didn't go as planned. Who cares that I missed lunch and didn't get my presents? I'm grown up now. I know my grandma didn't get sick on purpose. But, maybe I won't make SUCH a big deal out of my kids' birthdays from now on...Oh, we'll still celebrate them but I don't want them to expect perfection like I do. Perfect rarely happens.