An Only Child on Sibling Day

Today is apparently Sibling Day… Or yesterday was.

Or at least that is what a ton of my Facebook friends are pointing out.

Sibling day doesn’t really matter to me.  I don’t have any actual siblings.

I don’t really think we need a day to appreciate people that happened to also be birthed by your parents.  It isn’t like you picked them or wanted them, or for that matter even like them.  Just saying.  I am sure your siblings are great and you love them very much or at least it is in vogue to say it today.  I just don’t get the whole it has to be said on a randomly selected day thing.

It must be the only child coming out in me.

Being an only child isn’t bad.

People have told me I didn’t turn out too spoiled or odd relative to what they expect only children to be.

I don’t know.  Sometimes, I feel like I am.  I really don’t fully grasp the whole sibling thing and internally struggle with things like wanting to get my own way (but doesn’t everyone?).

Being an only child has its perks.  I got to go on vacation with my parents.  I didn’t really have to share my stuff.  I had lots of one on one attention.  Nobody else was at home to get me sick or fight with me (except my Dad, who at times liked to egg me on and acted as an excellent sibling replacement).  As an adult, I am fortunate to have parents who are flexible with family dinners and such because, well, it is just the three of us to schedule around.  It is pretty cool.

Some people have asked me if I think it is good or bad to have only children where I was one.

I have mixed feelings.  I think it depends on the kid.  I did benefit from the attention and it is pretty sweet.  But, there are some things you miss out on.

I had to play by myself a lot.  That meant I learned to entertain myself.  It also meant I struggled with people who didn’t follow rules that existed when I played games with my parents or on my own.  I played a lot of board games with myself.  Things like frisbee and catch suck when you are alone.  You throw and then you chase… Then, repeat.  And sometimes it would just plain have been cool to have another kid around.

I was jealous of my friends with siblings.  I made up siblings in my head.  I often imagined I came from a family with like 10 kids.  As an adult, I also get jealous of my friends with siblings. Partly because some of them have become great friends.  But, moreso because I have come to the realization that when my parents are old and demented, I will be on my own to take care of them.  There won’t be anyone to take shifts with me (at least no blood siblings).  I feel like that is a big stressor in only children that I have noticed more and more, especially working in health care.

I also am aware that some only children turn out super spoiled.  And some might argue I can be that way too.  I think it depends on the parents and how you take care of your kid.  I know some people with siblings who are super spoiled.  Personality and parenting play a big role in that stuff (in my naive opinion).

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t trade my childhood or my adulthood.  I am happy to be an only child and I likely wouldn’t be quite who I am today if I had siblings.

I do not want to just have one child, though.  I used to think I did when I was younger because my parents are huge fans of the one child thing.  But, knowing what I know now, I want to have a few kids so that they get the sibling experience because it sounds cool to me (and here comes yet another generation of a parent wanting something for their kids that they didn’t have, even if what they had was perfectly good).

Realistically, I pretty much have siblings.

Because my parents had just me around, I feel like they had more time to take in my friends.  In fact, I have a few friends who share my parents and I theirs.  They are like my sisters and their parents are my “other mothers” and “other fathers” and vice versa.  It works.  I am grateful for having kind-of siblings.

My kind-of sisters and our mothers.

My kind-of sisters and our mothers.

Patrick has a brother and a sister.  So, I at least have siblings-in-law now.  It isn’t the same.  And I totally don’t grasp the dynamics of family dinner scheduling, rules about gifts or all that good stuff, but it is still cool.

I guess that means I have a lot of a good thing.  I don’t have any “real” siblings and I think that worked out well for me overall.  Being an only child has its challenges, some of which I am convinced can only be understood by other only children, but it also can be pretty cool.  I am also lucky enough to have some great “kind of” siblings and they mean the world to me and will support me and my parents for years to come.  Sort of like the best of both worlds.

2 thoughts on “An Only Child on Sibling Day

  1. I have a brother 14 months older then I am. My best playmate until around 10 or so. Then he hated me and I was the whipping girl from then on. We hardly speak now, he is still so condescending and superior to me that I just don’t have much to say. I see him if we are at our parent’s together, once or twice a year. Our eldest son’s have the same birthdate but it is never celebrated. But I still remember the boy I practically idolized when I was a child, and in those moments I see 3 decades of waste. In all practical respects, I am an only sibling. I just give lip service to a brother.

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