Being The Only Child


Last week I found myself complaining to my friend about not being able to get my hair rebraided. My work hours and school hours didn’t allow for me to set time apart except for weekends, which I stubbornly didn’t want to do. My friend wondered why I didn’t just braid my hair myself. When I said I didn’t know how to, she said, “Oh, I forgot, you’re an only child. You didn’t have anyone to practice with growing up.”

That was the first time I wondered if being an only child had prohibited experiences like that.

Some time later, I had another conversation with a different friend that made me think about my child status. This friend had graduated the year prior, and as I was bringing up how I should probably start looking at dresses early, she commented how actually I’m a little late.

Graduation would be in four months. I was shocked at how I was late, but she said “when you live with two other girls, this topic would’ve already been brought up.”

I didn’t ever put any thought into being an only child before. It was just something I was. I never stopped to think, “hey, maybe I’m missing out on valuable life experiences by not having any siblings.”

Growing up I was always content. I never felt isolated or disconnected. I heard adults whisper to my mom about how I never seem bored or lonely, while she had hour-long meetings. Afterschool, before I had enough freedom to go to the park or library, home was never a place of sadness for me. I always found something to do with myself.

And to be completely honest, if I remember right, I was never mad about it.

It was always just my mom, me, and the cat.

But now, since those two random conversations back to back about moments I missed being an only child, it runs in the back of my head.

Are there specific moments I missed by having no siblings?

I hear conversations in real life and on tv about siblings who no longer speak due to falling outs. Or how their sibling is their other half and they wouldn’t know what to do without them.  

Would I have liked to have someone else to guide me? A teacher in the same household without the unbiased eyes of a parent. Or, would I have liked to be that teacher? Someone to steer my younger blood in the right direction so they wouldn’t make the same mistakes I did?

I have a cousin who is pregnant with her second child. At the baby shower, she made a comment about how two is enough and she wouldn’t be having any other children. She’s only having this one for her daughter, so she won’t be lonely.

I wonder if I’ve been hiding my feelings since I gained consciousness of the world. Have I been lonely and just been masquerading these feelings with my Monster High dolls?

Because, before I could go to the park or the library, it was me and those dolls to the end. There was nothing else I’d rather do but play with Frankie, Clawdeen, and Dracularua. But would it have been nice to have someone to play with..?

I guess, when I really think about it, I’m a little sad that my child, or children, won’t have any aunts or uncles. No one to run to behind my back when I’m being too strict to beg to be nicer. No one to swoop by and say, “hey I’m spoiling little Timmy today and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

In a lot of ways, I owe most of my qualities, best and worst, to being an only child. I’ve been reflecting a lot on my personality these days. That could possibly be due to the pending graduation in que.

Was I spoiled? Definitely not. And I have a feeling that regardless of our money status I would’ve never been. My mom knew when enough was enough and too much was too much.

But still, I got a lot of toys.

Maybe I didn’t have anyone to play school with my Monster High dolls, but I still had my best friend who’s parents let me come over to her house to play together. I appreciate quality time with others, because I know it won’t happen often. 

Additionally, I’m not as shy as I think I am. I am still shy, but not that much. Being by myself, I’ve had to learn how to get by without help. Mom can’t always be there. And, well, who else would be, if not her?

Still, I’ll never have those moments that people share with a sibling and no one else. It’s a different kind of bonding, learning how to be in the same household. 

A bond that I won’t ever get to share with anyone. 

I appreciate my mother. She gave me so much with all she could. I’ll never be mad at her for only having me. 

I do think, though, that I might’ve just been a tad bit more confident if I had a sibling. Someone to bully me just enough where I had a stronger back bone.

Because, sibling rivalry. I’ve never been in a “fight” with someone that I knew would come back in the end. 

I once saw a conversation on Twitter about how girls with female siblings are more caring and personable but girls with boy siblings are more closed off and less connected. 

It’s crazy to me that I’ll never actually know what they’re talking about. Because I’ll never experience either side of the spectrum.

But I think I’m content with that.