Growing up with two brothers even though I am a single child

I Have Grown Up With Two Brothers Even Though I Am Technically An Only Child

It's easy to feel lonely if you're an only child, but I have honestly never really felt that way because of two specific boys in my life.

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"Is that your sister?" , "Are those your brothers?"

These are the most common questions the three of us get, whether we're together or people see us in an Instagram post or Snapchat story video. Rahul and I are the same age, while Rohan is four years younger. They have both been in my life since the very beginning. Rahul was at my first birthday party, and I remember holding Rohan's tiny hand when he was just a few months old. Not only that but for the last six years their family has lived down the street from mine. . .

The three of us have done so much together. When we were really young, we created a basketball game involving a trashcan, spied on our parents for no good reason, and spent hours screaming at each other over MarioKart or Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games. Snow days were always my favorite because it meant we could have intense snowball fights, drink hot chocolate, and just lose track of time with each other when we probably should've been doing homework. During the summer we always get into heated basketball games at the pool, usually disturbing whatever lifeguard is on duty.

We've also been on so many trips and adventures, from Great Wolfe Lodge to Disney World, Universal Studios, Hilton Head, Wet n Wild, various weddings, and most recently - seeing Trevor Noah live. Road trips were always the most fun, though (and continue to be). We watched movies in the back of the car, yelled at each other simply for the sake of yelling, and played random games to keep ourselves busy.

When Rahul and I were finally able to drive in high school, the three of us would have lunch together practically every weekend. I'm pretty sure I've eaten at Panda Express, Cookout, Taco Bell, and Wendy's enough times to have a lifetime's worth of free meals.

Rahul and I had a joint graduation party. Rohan made the most incredible speech. I remember feeling scared because the thought of going college made me think that things would change. While that's completely normal and understandable, I am happy to report that basically, nothing has changed. The only difference now is that we're older, play NBA 2K instead of Wii games, have more mature conversations, and Rohan is significantly taller than me.

I could sit here and write thousands upon thousands of words detailing every single inside joke, movies we've watched, funny moments with our parents, belting out our favorite songs in the car, the best roasts, etc., etc. But I don't have to. Over the years I've really grown to appreciate their company, and I do not take any of it for granted. I don't refer to either of them as friends. That word isn't appropriate and does not feel right. Rahul and Rohan are my brothers, my family, and that's all they ever will be to me. I have watched both of them grow into such charismatic, funny, smart, and respectable young men. We have a mutual, almost unspoken understanding that we will always be there for each other no matter what.

They make me laugh until I cry, and I genuinely cannot wait for everything to be the exact same when we're old and have kids to embarrass.

Thank you for all that you do, Rahul and Rohan. You truly are the best brothers I could ever ask for, and I will always be so grateful that the two of you were placed into my life.

Love Your Favorite Sister,

Jaya

PS: beep!

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When You Give A Girl A Papa

She'll learn enough lessons to last a lifetime.
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When you give a girl a Papa she'll have the best adventures.

She'll run around atop his shoulders and learn to fly. Her imagination will never run dry and she'll always be down for a laugh. He'll tell her stories and wipe away her tears. When you give a girl a Papa she'll have memories to last her years.

Papa is German for Dad but in America, it has become a slang term for grandpa. And while it is just a word, for some, it has a deeper meaning. Papa isn't just a grandfather, he's a best friend, the instigator of mischief, a protector, a storyteller, a rock, the strongest man you know and, most importantly, a hero.

Papa can turn ordinary, everyday activities into an adventure. From a young age, I was running behind him as quickly as my little legs could carry me ready for that day's adventure. I was always down for anything Papa was doing, following him in his daily chores and mimicking his every move. Cuddling up and watching sports in his lazy chair was my favorite time of the day because he always told the best stories. Sitting there hanging onto every word he said because it was the most important thing I ever heard.

Papa is full of experience and wisdom. His wise words provide comfort every time I am sad. He can always make me laugh to fight the tears away. I'm not sure how, but he always knows what to say to make me feel better. Papa is a fearless force that never bows and is never broken. He can weather all of the storms while smiling and laughing. I can only hope to have that resilience when facing life's problems. And when Papa was struggling with his own battles, I will stand right next to him, ready to fight and do all I can for him.

Papa can do a happy dance via the phone so he is the person to call when something good happens. He is always there to celebrate life and all its joy. And, even though he tried to hide them, he cried happy tears the day of my high school graduation. I pretended not to notice.

Leaving Nana and Papa's house is always the worst part of the trip. Driving away waving my hand in the air with tears welling in my eyes because I can't wait for the next adventure. Disappointing Papa was the scariest thing you I could think of, but I knew that he would never stay that way for long. There was always a lesson to learn from mistakes.

He is the man I model all men after. If they don't treat me the way Papa demonstrated, they are not worthy of my time. If they don't make me laugh or have that twinkle of passion in their eyes and fire in their soul like my Papa, then they aren't the man for me.

Papa is my hero. I would give anything to be like him, to stand strong and hold the world together when it just wants to fall apart. To be able to make anyone laugh and feel right at home. To fight for what I believe in and work hard to achieve my goals. To have charisma and charm. To deal with people who wrong me with class and kindness. To follow my faith with questions because that is the only way to make your beliefs stronger. To be the person everyone speaks of with a fond memory in their eye.

At the end of it all, he is my Papa and no one can take his place. I can and will drop anything to be by his side. He has shaped me into the person that I am working to be. I will always call him for advice and kind words.

Best friends come in many forms, but my favorite will always be my Papa.

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Goddard

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9 Things You Hear Growing Up As An Only Child

No, I don't get lonely.

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Having no siblings definitely has its ups and downs, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Most people jump to the conclusion that you're spoiled or were an accident since your parents didn't have other kids, but being an only child is actually amazing. While my parents didn't give me every single thing I wanted, they taught me lots and I did earn everything I got.

1. Don't you get lonely?

Well, no, I do have friends. It also helped growing up when technology wasn't quite exactly where it is today. Everyone would play outside or with each other as opposed to behind a screen, and it kept everyone more connected. It also taught me that it's okay to spend time alone and it can actually be refreshing.

2. Do you wish you had siblings?

Occasionally growing up, the thought crossed my mind, but I never dreaded not having siblings.

3. Do you get everything you want?

Haha! Not even close!

4. You must be spoiled

With love, definitely. I might have gotten more than if I were to have a sister or brother, but my parents definitely taught me how to work for what I want.

5. Why didn't your parents want more kids?

When you do it right the first time, why would you need to have more? It just isn't what my parents wanted, but it worked out just fine.

6. Are your parents stricter since there are no other children to focus on?

I wouldn't say that fact alone makes a parent more or less strict. Yes, there were more eyes and focus on me, but my parents still allowed me to do things with friends and have freedoms.

7. What's it like being an only child?

I wouldn't consider it anything special. It was just how I grew up and I think I had a pretty good childhood.

8. You must not like to share

You're right, I don't. Who does? But it doesn't mean I can't or don't know how to.

9. Are you close with your parents?

Absolutely, and I love it!

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