The Only Child

Amy Dunkin

Less than two weeks ago, I blogged about the mixed emotions I felt as my 9-year-old embarked on his first sleepaway camp experience. Fortunately, he's had a fabulous time, and tomorrow, we'll be going to the camp to visit and bring him home.

I've missed him terribly and I can't wait to see him. Yet I confess to now having some mixed emotions about his return. Why? Because for two peaceful weeks, his younger brother has reveled in the chance to be the only child--and I'm sorry for him that it has to end.

It's not that the two dislike each other or don't generally get along. But for the first time in his life, my 6-year-old has gotten our undivided attention from the moment he's woken up to the moment he's gone to sleep. When it came time to decide what activity to pick, what book to read, what food to eat, what show to watch, he got to choose. No fighting, no negotiating, no bossy big brother to get in the way.

Life has been easier for him without the sibling rivalry--and in some ways it has been easier for me as well. In the mornings before I left for the train station, I'd have only one other person (besides myself) to get up, dressed, fed, and out the door. When I'd get home from work, only one child would be demanding my attention and putting just him to bed was a cinch.

Please don't get me wrong. I love life with my two boys and I'll be very happy to have them both back under one roof. But having one away made me see that every child deserves to be an only child now and then. And every parent deserves to spend time with one child alone.

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