Some recent news articles have made me think about my status as an only child. My mum, asked me a few months ago whether I felt left out because I was an only child. I didn’t then and I don’t now. I loved being an only child. I’m sure I would have loved siblings too but being an only gave me advantages I wouldn’t have otherwise had. That’s not to say that I was spoiled. My parents took great care to avoid that. For starters I had a bunch of cousins within a 10 minute drive from my house who were over a lot and tortured me like siblings. They took my stuff and roughhoused and generally had a good time.
I was also involved in Guiding, hockey, and swimming lessons plus occasionally other things like a little chefs course. I was well socialized and I’m not sure that I could have done all those things if there was a sibling in the mix.
I wasn’t lonely. I was the type of kid who was happiest reading a book, and in books I found all sorts of wonderful people and stories. I also had a lot of friends who I could go and call on and play with after school or on weekends. Yes… go out and play – around the corner or, when i got a little older, down the block and through the walkway. I played with my friends, got annoyed by their siblings and returned to my cozy home.
I am both my father’s daughter and my mother’s daughter. Mum and I would sit and do crafts and she would patiently teach me how to knit day after day when I forgot. Would we have had all that 1 on 1 time if I had siblings? Dad treated me like one of the boys – I got to watch sports with him. Hockey, Auto racing, and football. Dad loves football and as he put it, they were pretty sure they were only going to have 1 kid, there was 1 tv, mum tolerated football but didn’t love it and he wanted to make sure the vote would be 2 vs 1 FOR football. Hence my beginnings as a football junkie. I wonder if I had had a brother, if my dad would have spent as much time explaining all the nuances of football to me? I’d like to think so but I’m not sure.
I know i missed out on things by not having a sibling. Mum’s big worry is that I won’t have family to support me when they die. I told her that I have friends and that just because people are related by blood doesn’t necessarily mean that they can stand each other. I feel loved and supported by the friends I have made and that is enough for me.
I wouldn’t have minded to have had someone else to blame things on either, come to think of it. When there was trouble in the house or something got broken, it was almost always my fault and I took the blame. If I’d had a younger sibling, I could have blamed them. There’s only so much you can blame on a dog.
Overall I feel like I had a well-rounded, happy childhood. I don’t think that I missed anything huge by not having biological siblings, I have a few friends who are as close to me as they are to their biological siblings if not closer.
I know quite a few only children, and none of us feel like we were deprived in any way of part of our childhood. I’ve had friends worry that they don’t have a sibling for their child yet. Relax, I tell them, even if you don’t ever end up with another kid, your firstborn won’t be horribly scarred. I may not get the mushy “sister” cards, but that’s ok with me.