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Katy England Katy England
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Edge Mom: Singleton envy

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When I'm cuddling you, your brother and sister are wreaking havoc When I'm cuddling you, your brother and sister are wreaking havoc ThinkStock

I'm not a big fan of complaining it accomplishes very little and makes me feel like a whiner. Also, I find a positive outlook is helpful to my mental state (which is fragile on the best days). However, in the interest of perhaps helping people who may have multiple children or even people who have a lot of children (just maybe spaced them out a bit) I thought I'd be honest about something that I'm afflicted with. It's called singleton envy.

I may have touched upon it here and there in past columns, but every once in a while something will hammer the point home about just how weird my situation is.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, we found ourselves without yet another car. In addition to getting into an accident with our first vehicle, our second vehicle was totaled within three months of purchasing our wonderful new minivan. That left us in the unenviable position of needing a second vehicle quickly. My parents were in the process of purchasing a new vehicle and sold us their minivan, because they're awesome. But part of the purchase price involved a road trip they came up and dropped the van off on Friday, and I drove them back in Saturday and returned to Maine on Sunday. Throw losing an hour of sleep to the evils of Daylight Savings time and you have a real party on your hands.

I ended up taking my boy with me and the girls stayed home with their dad. Why? Because even with a minivan, taking everyone was logistically impossible without strapping someone to the roof. And two, the girls still get carsick and aren't capable of announcing that fact enough in advance to avoid a Hazmat situation. Plus, we've noticed it can be really fun to split the team up every once in a while. And this proved to be no exception to that rule.

The boy listened, held hands and was delightful about getting ready to go when it was time to move on. Whether it was leaving the Play Place at McDonald's or the sandy beach at Old Orchard, he was perfectly content to take off if we let him know the game plan. And I had sudden insight at what it was like to only have one kid at a time. You could easily hold one kid's hand and no one whined about having to double up on hands when only with one parent. We could eat, use the bathroom and get back in the car with minimal fuss. It was mind-blowing. Even picking up the kids from school every day requires some precision planning. You have to repeatedly tell them the order in which they can get in the vehicle, making sure you can, at any given time, reach out and grab one of them in case they make a break for it. And your odds of having a quiet ride home depend on the mood of all three of them.

So, after the long trip, we got to my folks' house and I called home to see how the husband was faring with two out of three children. We both expressed our disbelief at how much easier everything was. The girls apparently played quietly together for much of their time with Dad. They actually napped, since one fell asleep in her brother's room and they didn't work each other into a lather.

But this sense of 'easy' is only an illusion. Try pressing your arms outward against a door jam, as hard as you can for a full minute. Then step away and your arms will rise up, seemingly of their own accord. Because your muscles are easily doing someone that seemed hard just a moment ago without even thinking. And after time it would fade away only to be replaced by other obstacles.

It's just a reminder to enjoy those quiet moments because they're easy to miss.


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