I have an aunt and uncle.
They have a son, like we do.
Their son is an only, like E. is.
That their son is an only was their choice, unlike us. I once asked my aunt about it, back in the winter, after we’d lost the baby, and she told me that she had been worried about her career. She had seen first-hand what could happen to a woman when something happened to her husband and she had no career to fall back on. She didn’t want that to happen to her.
So they have only one child.
They are in their mid-fifties now.
Their son has finished his undergraduate degree and has found a job that he enjoys.
He just moved in with his girlfriend. My aunt and uncle helped them set up their new place.
My aunt and uncle built interesting careers. My aunt is retired now. My uncle isn’t quite ready to go.
They travel to interesting places.
They have hobbies.
They take good care of themselves.
They make time for each other.
They are smart and funny and joyous.
They don’t look like they feel they’re living a second-best existence.
They don’t look like they feel that something or someone is missing from their family.
They look, not to put too fine a point on it, like they are having an absolute blast.
I looked at them this Christmas and thought, They could be US.
And that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.