I’m An Only

So I made sure my kids weren’t!

I’m an only child. At times in my life, it’s been a good thing; at other times it’s been a not-so-good thing. Like most of the rest of life, it’s just something you deal with, and as my friend often says, “it is what it is.” That’s a trite way to put it, but it’s quite true. For all my wishing to change it, especially when I was younger, it’s something way beyond my control.

I married a man who had two brothers and a sister, so at the time, I remember thinking “Viola! Instant siblings, at last!” And while it’s true that I do feel a kind of deep kindredship with them and even their spouses, it can’t ever be that kind of sibling relationship that I always have longed for. So maybe that’s the reason I was adamant about having more than one. And… more than two. I wanted to see that sibling interaction up close and personal. For me, it’s been a fascinating journey, but often quite frustrating at the same time. All those years of wanting to have someone to see the world from close to the same vantage point as me, and my perceptions have been a bit shattered by watching my own children often fight, degrade, and manipulate each other like a pack of starving dogs. I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this! Maybe my ideal was driven by all those hours spent watching The Waltons or Little House on the Prairie: always, even if John-boy and Jason disagreed, there was the warm “Goodnight!” at the end of the show. It left me with this glowing, heartfelt model of the impenetrable bond between brothers and sisters. And that’s not to say that that kind of camaraderie won’t shine through at some point in my kids’ lives. My husband says that when he was growing up he and his brothers and sister didn’t always get along. Imagine that?! Now however, it’s not unusual for them to call each other several times a week.

So maybe there’s hope for my kids yet… Sometimes I catch little glimmers of them enjoying each other’s company. They play together, watch movies together, laugh together at something stupid I did. Still… for what I lacked in my childhood, and still lack, I want more for them. Much more. I want that Laura and Mary, or Mary-Ellen and Erin love-each-other-at-all-costs kind of affection and respect for them. Is that too much to hope for?

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