Why I Want More than One Child

My hairdresser tells one of those stories that are hysterically funny with the gift of time. She calls it "The peeing night" story. You can imagine why. As said hairdresser was about to completely lose any grasp on her sanity, child-the-older daughter looked at her and said "Mummy, why did you have child-the-younger." I suspect that my hairdresser was wondering why she had *any* children, but her immediate thought was "Because I didn't want you to be alone when mummy died". She didn't answer with this.

I went to my mother's to feed her cat on Sunday. Not speaking to her aside, I'm the only child, and the cat has to be fed. It's tricky. Don't ask too many questions. I'm surviving with this strategy.

And I went into mum's apartment, and I walked into the kitchen, and all the cupboards were open. And thought I: "Wow, she must have been in a hurry to leave". Then I walked into the dinning room, and the buffet drawers were open, and yes, that was when the penny dropped. The house had been tossed and robbed. So, I phoned the police. And waited for the forensic team. Who agreed to meet me at 12:30 am. I remembered my hairdresser's story.

And as I was waiting in the rain in the middle of the night, I thought, "I am going to have more than one child." Because, more than anything, I wanted a sibling to call and say: "I slept at the hospital last year, when she had the heart issue. You know, the one where she collapsed at my favourite restaurant and then woke up and puked on their floor. You know, the one I have never been back to?". And I drove her around and worked from her house when she had the stroke two years ago. I got four cups of coffee in 30 minutes, when her hand couldn't grasp them, and she kept dropping them, and my pride for her lost and wounded soul wouldn't let me get her a cup with a lid. I held her hand and dried her frustrated and frightened tears, and told her that we would get through this too."

And more than anything, I wanted to say:

"I don't mind, I am her daughter, and I will do this, and it's my job, and I will spend three hours cleaning up, in the middle of the night, and then I will take all her unmentionables home and wash them, and I will call in sick to work tomorrow to be with her, so that when she comes home, she doesn't go into a house alone, even though I have completely cleaned it all up, and you would never know it had been broken into. I will do these things, because it is my job, and it is bad enough to have your sanctuary invaded without cleaning finger print powder off your empty jewelery box, and thinking of Nana's jewelery that wasn't worth much, but was precious anyway. And I am this family, and I am hers, and she is mine". But more than anything, just because I was weary, I wanted to say:

"Sibling mine, it's your turn now."

And there is no sibling. It's just me. It's always been me.

And more than anything, I don't want that for my children. I pray there will come a time that an older child asks why the younger child had to be born, and I will think:

"I had another child, so that when I am 90, and stark naked on the roof of this house, for the fourth time in a month, and you cannot convince me that there are no aliens, and they are not going to take me home, and I can get off the roof now. . . "

Then you have someone to call, and say:

"It's your turn now."

Because, children of mine, you will not be alone. There will be no only, no last. You will not be the last of a long line of women who take control of an impossible situation, you will not be the only person that understands how to correctly set a table and seat the Queen at a dinner party. You will not be the last to use your great-grandmother's china, that came from a Boston Ship Captain, sent to a young woman, so many years ago, that he was not allowed to marry.

Because you will not be the only person to weed a flower garden, grown for the express purpose of flowers for the Altar on Sunday. And you will grow those flowers for the altar, because you will be in Altar Guild, just like the rest of our family, and you will know the flowers that your great grandmother liked, and you will not be the only person to plant iris's for your Nana, because they bloom for her birthday, and you will not be the only person to plant lilies for your mother.

You will not be the only person to toast the Queen on her Birthday. You will not be the only person eating Colette's Tourtiere on Christmas Eve. And I will tell you the story of Aunty Gen, and her mother Colette, whom I call every year to get the instructions about what to with the potato; because I never remember, and it wouldn't be Christmas without calling Colette and Gen. And you will remember them too. You will not be the only woman to bake Yorkshire pudding in a 400 degree oven, in the heat of summer, because that's what you have with a proper roast of beef. You will not be the last to hold up a baby's finger, to check for the crook in the left ring finger, that we all have.

You will not be the last, my children.
And when I am gone from this world,
you will not be alone.