Due to my father's current continued steadfast refusal to give me a sibling, I have been an only child for 42 years.
During those years, I've been asked a lot of questions, here are some:
1. Don't you wish you had brothers and sisters?
Haven't you ever wished you were an only child?
Sure, we all fantasize about what we don't have, however, not having siblings has not disrupted my psyche in any way.
It was disrupted by lots of other things.
2. Weren't you a spoiled brat?
How does one answer that?
I didn't have to share things at home, mainly because there was no one to share them with.
I had friends, I went to school, and, I went to camp, so I think I learned some basic social skills.
You? In the back row? Shut up.
Did my parents over-indulge me?
I think it depends more on your philosophy than theirs. To some people I had more than enough, to others, I suppose I was deprived.
Did I have opportunities that I wouldn't have had if I had had siblings?
You betcha. I had some wonderful opportunities by virtue being an only child.
One child, or, ten kids, I think all parents try to provide the best opportunities for their children.
There was only one of me, so, my parents efforts and resources simply didn't have to be divided. There's nothing wrong or bad about that.
3. Weren't you lonely?
It's not like I had siblings, and, someone took them away.
Being an only child was simply my reality, I knew nothing else. I had friends, I interacted with adults.
Like any other kid, I'm sure I got bored, and, my parents probably had to work a little harder to provide for my entertainment, but, loneliness wasn't a pervasive feeling.
4. I could never be an only child.
That's not a question. Follow the rules.
Besides, there is one way, you'd just spend your only child-ness in jail, though.
5. Is being an only child the reason you had 3 kids?
No, silly. The reason I have 3 kids is that when a husband and wife love each other...
Certainly both of our own upbringings were a consideration when planning our family, but, choosing to have 3 kids is not any sort of negative statement about my experience as an only child.
6. Won't you be all alone taking care of your parents when they get old?
Why yes, I already am.
I freely admit that this time in my life has been the hardest thing about being an only child.
I have no siblings with whom to share the experience of my mother's illness and death, and, the resulting worrying about my father.
But, I look at other families, and, I realize that having siblings is no guarantee of anything. There are plenty of people caring for aging parents without help from their brothers and sisters.
Though it's been hard, to wish it any other way would be to deny what my parents did to raise me.
I've had to learn big lessons about asking for help, something I'm not very good at doing, and, I've come to realize that "family" doesn't always have to mean your relatives.
So, there you have it.
I'm an only child, I may or may not reinforce the stereotype of being a singleton.
Some of you may be raising only children, and, wondering if it's the right thing to do.
Only you can decide that one, but, I just want to let you know that it's not quite as wrought with angst as the media would lead you to believe.
Some of us turned out quite normal.
I'll see if I can get some names for you.
Recent Entries on Busymom.net:
- Dorm room planning, or not quite a college mom blog
- Summer's here
- Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Renfest
- Sing. Fly. Mate. Die.
- What do cicadas sound like?