A Banana in a Bunch

The Power of One: Experiment of a Large Family
BY HF Contributing Writer, Dana Pilson

Ophelia the only, says she’s lonely
She wants a playmate at home.
She has toys galore, often asks for more,
But still complains she’s alone.

Would a dog or a cat, be the answer to that?
Would a pet enliven her room?
But dogs bring on wheezes, cats give us sneezes
How to cure such sadness and gloom?

Parties and playdates, visits with playmates
Nothing satisfies our lonely child.
Then we hop on a plane, goin’ up to Maine
To visit with friends for a while.

They have seven already, and expecting one more,
We enter their house and can’t find the floor.
There’s Bella the oldest, with eyes of deep blue,
Jason’s the next, he’s five foot two.

Quinn is so quiet, you hardly notice she’s there,
Rhoda’s so rowdy, with crazy red hair.
The twins Calla and Lily, can’t tell ‘em apart,
And last but not least, is wee baby Bart!

Ophelia’s stunned, where to begin?
She latches onto Rhoda, pulls her into a spin.
Quinn tags along, yet doesn’t say ‘boo,’
Calla and Lily are together like glue.

The five of them tumble around on the grass,
Jason joins in, and Bella is last.
The whole mob of them run and play freeze tag with glee
Ophelia’s in heaven, she runs so free.

Yet later at dinner, when the little ones wait
And wait ‘til someone fills their plate.
And jostle for space, and wait to be heard.
Ophelia feeling very much part of the herd.

“You, over there, please pass the bread!”
Some crumbs tumble onto Ophelia’s head,
And the twins in her lap won’t give her a rest,
She wonders to herself, just what is best?

To be one of many, a banana in a bunch,
Or to be an only, she’s got a hunch
That one’s not so bad, after all she has friends
And after the day, when she’s tired and spent…

Wanting her space, but finding Quinn there,
And the twins fighting over who’ll braid her hair,
And her books have been ripped, torn all apart
By the drooling and blubbering little baby Bart.

I’m ready to go, she says the next day,
It’s been real fun, but I’d like to get away
From all this excitement, this bustle and frenzy,
No longer am I filled with such envy

Of big families and houses that burst from the seams
I want my bed back, I want my own dreams.
I want my own space, to look out at the moon,
Please take me home, to my own peaceful room.

So we pack up and leave, load up the van,
I say thanks to my friend, for she was in on the plan.
She’ll return all those kids now, back to their homes
For they had fun here, but the excitement’s now done.

Onlies each one of them, except Calla and Lily
Who live in a small house at the edge of the village.
They come together each month to play
But head back home after a few days,
Dog-tired and worn out, from so much fun,
Happy again to be the only one.



Dana “Dee” Pilson

Dee lives with her professor husband and young daughter in rural Pownal, Vermont, just over the state line from Williamstown, Massachusetts. She is an art historian and has worked in museums in New York City, Boston, and Williamstown. She has been an avid writer since the tender age of eight, filling journals with personal essays and short stories, as well as mounds of poetry, both serious and whimsical. New Yorker by birth, New Hampshire-ite by schooling, and now Vermonter by choice, Dee writes about art and architecture, the environment, books, food, exercise, travel, and green living. Her new blog, “The Power of One,” focuses on issues related to parenting an only child in today’s child-centric world. dpilson@aol.com

Photo Credit: (ccl) bpende / Brad P.

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