Nice kid! When are you planning the next one?
A few weeks ago my family participated in a charity walk—we do a lot of them. For years, my wife and I have been running, riding, and walking for many causes.
Finishing the walk we ran into a cousin we haven’t seen in a few months.
We caught up on how she’s been and what’s new with various aunts and cousins as she played with the baby. We answered the usual baby-related questions: how’s he sleeping? Is he walking?
Then came the curveball, are you planning another child?
When my son was born I knew he was one and done—although the nurses and medical assistants had other ideas. Waiting for my wife and baby to be released they planned our next child as I was online researching vasectomies.
In my mind’s eye, I always pictured two kids.
I’m the younger of two, most of my friends have two—except for my Aunt Carmen, who has seven sons—she kept trying for the girl. If I suggest seven children to my better half she’d handle the vasectomy herself.
Old schoolers insist one child is easy, providing no challenge—real parenting starts with (at least) two. I come from a big family, Mom is the oldest of eight—but those were different times, children doubled as indentured servants. I can only imagine what Aunt Carmen would say if I asked her opinion.
My wife and I are both experienced multi-taskers. Professionally we’ve mentored and trained employees and managed the expectations of the most difficult clients. Outside of work we’ve run over 250 races including 24 marathons and two ultramarathons (races over 26.2 miles).
We’ve never lacked energy, but toddlers are the great equalizer.
Over the past six months, our fragile newborn developed into a full-blown toddler—funny how that happens. Crawling and walking were replaced by climbing and exploring. Temper tantrums are now part of his personality and bedtime is a nightly challenge of who can outlast who. So far we have the upper hand.
Becoming a Dad at 50 meant the baby is probably one and done—this concerned me and still does a little. Raising an only child is different than raising several children. With no siblings to play with we enrolled him in classes at My Gym, twice a week he goes to storytime at the local library, and we are always inviting cousins over for playdates.
Parenting at any age and family size is a challenge, most things worth having are. Taking care of my son as I work from home affords me a luxury many parents don’t have—I experience many of his firsts instead of hearing about them—although some days it doesn’t seem that way.
Raising a child is a lot like running a marathon, energy is required, but pacing is important as well. I’m still at the beginning knowing there are hills to climb and challenges to meet, but the end result will be worth it.
Photo: U.S. Army/Flickr
This essay originally appeared on
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