While growing up an only child definitely had its perks — think undivided attention, the entire back seat during car trips, forced independence and maturity, and strong imagination development — I always felt like there was something missing, and I still do today.
Growing up, I listened as my close circle of girlfriends — all of whom have older brothers three years our senior — would complain about fighting with their brother over something like having to sit in the undesirable seat in the car (the one behind Dad with less leg room) or that they got pummelled to the floor over whose turn it was to play with the one Game Boy in the house (another perk: I had my own; it was see-through purple and amazing) — and it would make me jealous that they even had someone to fight with.
The times I really felt the jealousy, though, were when I'd be over at one of their houses, and I'd see the tender moments between siblings. How fun it was for them to always have someone to play with and bounce ideas off of. I spent Summer afternoons at the pool with my cousins, praying that someone would mistake us all for siblings so that I could feel part of something, and I would write stories in my head about the most amazing big brother or the cutest little sister and all of our adventures together.
Needless to say, the cons well outweighed the pros for me when it came to being an only child, and these 13 things are just a few of the reasons.
- There was no one to ever blame anything I did wrong on, like forgetting to unload the dishwasher or letting my markers leak through white paper into the wood table (sorry, Mum).
- I had no one who would truly understand to complain to about my parents. Yeah, all parents are alike, but I wanted to talk about my parents with someone else who shared them with me — our parents.
- An older sibling would have carved a path in life that I could have either emulated or learned from.
- A sibling's friends would mean new friends for me, and who doesn't like new friends?
- Even when I could finally get an adult to agree to play with me, their imagination was the worst. I needed a little mind like mine to dream up magic worlds and new games with.
- There would never have been a dull moment in the house. You can only pretend your stuffed animals are alive and talking to you for so long.
- A brother would have been a protector, someone to give me insight into the other half of the world, someone to beat up all of my ex-boyfriends.
- A sister would have been a partner in crime, someone to share clothes with (and fight about said clothes with), to talk about boys late at night with when we thought our parents weren't listening (they would have been).
- I think I would be a much more patient person if I had to deal with sharing and fighting with a sibling. Alas, I am kind of impatient.
- Some of the pressure to be successful and intelligent would have been shaved off the surface and shared with others, which would have made things go a little smoother for me on report-card day.
- I constantly make fun of the characters that are my parents, and let's just say my comments and sarcasm don't always go over so well. It would have been nice to call in for backup once in a while.
- When the unthinkable happens and I need to say goodbye to my parents, I will carry the burden and sadness on my own.
- Friends come and go, but a sibling is tied to you forever — they have to put up with your crap; it's part of the deal.
I think a part of me will always long for the versions of siblings I've created in my head, people who look and act a little like me. I have grown to accept that the closest I might ever get to being called someone's sister is if my future husband has a sibling, but it makes me truly sad to know that I'll never have the real thing. A sibling is like a built-in best friend, so if you have one, tell them what they mean to you, because maybe not everyone would agree with me, but I think you were given one of life's greatest gifts.