Being an only child almost always sparks an interesting conversation. Oftentimes people who are only children simply can't imagine having siblings and those with siblings can't imagine living in a pit of loneliness. What they don't know is that pit of loneliness isn't actually that lonely and involves a lot of quiet, self-exploration, and being the star of the family unit. Sounds like a party to me! I feel like whenever I tell people I'm an only child they give me a look of pity as if they are imagining me pacing a dark hallway during the Victorian era with a china doll as my only friend.
First of all, the hallway would have been very well lit because my mother is an interior decorator, but I digress. Whenever I tell people I'm an only child they automatically assume I am spoiled and think too highly of myself. I'm not saying they're totally wrong since I'm currently writing a self-indulgent article and expecting people to read it because they are sure to be intrigued by the fabulousness I've been radiating since day one.
Yes, my pink pastel childhood bedroom did house a canopy bed with faux roses strung about the top and a dollhouse my dad built for me (and installed electricity into). Yes, I had the super sweet 16 complete with a ballgown, tiara and matching pink Hummer Limo. But, I don't think being an only child made me spoiled. I got a lot of things but I never expected them. I worked hard in school even though there were no siblings to compete with. I think I am a pretty good sharer.
Now that I've introduced my only childless to you, I am going to tell you just how ~unique~ MY experience was. You're probably rolling your eyes, but I promise you might understand my life a little better after reading this (I am such an only child, why do I care if you understand my life?). I grew up in a one square mile town, walking school district, no stop light kinda deal. And I loved it. My friends became my family. They are still the family I choose today. I always had playmates because of the small size of my town. I especially needed them because I didn't have that childhood companionship with cousins either GASP
Yep, that's right folks. Not only was I an only child but I was also the only grandchild on both sides of my family. Which means I was also the only niece to all six of my aunts and uncles. I was always kind of bummed out that I didn't get that cousins-opening-presents-together-on-Christmas experience, but because of that, I am so close with my aunts, uncles, and grandparents, just like how not sharing my parents with siblings created my profound relationship with them.
As I got older, I realized I wouldn't be a real aunt until I got married. I am so close with my hometown friends that I am sure I will get to be a fake aunt to their kids, but it isn't the same as blood. I started to be curious about what my relationship would be like with my future younger cousins as every year ticked by without them.
As much as I dreamed about what it would be like when I finally had cousins, I never could have conceived of how much my relationships with them would shape me during my young adult years. When I was 14, my aunts who are twins were due one month apart and I went from having zero cousins to two in a blink of an eye. I couldn't contain my excitement. I felt all the feelings people tell you that you're supposed to feel, but even deeper. I didn't know how much I could instantly love someone or how overwhelmed with selflessness I could be. I didn't know how many things that I'd loved and experienced until I thought about sharing all those things with my Aedan and Daisy.
Three years later when I was 17, our family was blessed with another little girl, the sister to Daisy, Miss Lily. Since I am so much older than them, I feel like more of an aunt or mentor. They inspire me to give them something to look up to. It has been the most beautiful experience for me.
I think who you surround yourself with has a great influence on who you become. For me, I surround myself with my family and friends who are like family. As an aspiring writer, I am crafting an identity and I just don't see how I can express that if I don't give you a little taste of where I came from and the people who make me, me. They've taught me how to love and be loved so well. They're still teaching me things every single day.
When I think of all the people closest to me in my head, I picture every one of their faces meshing into a completed puzzle in my heart. That's really cheesy but I'm being real right now. And I guess my final point is this: I'm an only child but my heart holds a whole lot more than just me.