When I’ve told people that I am an only child, I’ve had a few different reactions. While it’s not something that I’ve necessarily brought up in the beginning stages of getting to know someone, it is still surprising to many. Some have told me,” What? No way! You don’t act like it.” My response is usually confusion: what way do we act? Was this a compliment or a snarky comment? It was the first time I had considered what other people thought about only children.
What’s strange is that growing up, I never totally questioned my existence as an only child. I always had people around me, whether they were my parents or friends. Many of my friends that I grew up with had siblings, and it was so interesting to me how they got along. It’s a relationship and bond I’ll never get to have. I’ll never get to fight over who gets the last cookie or what movie to watch. I’ll never get to have inside jokes and share parents with people who see them the way I do.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never resented being an only child. In fact, I’ve felt pretty indifferent towards it my whole life. I was always happy and loved.
But, I think the main reason why I have always felt so comfortable being an only child is that it has taught me to have a greater capacity for friendship and love.
I love my parents and friends with much more heart than I think I would have had I had another sibling to rely on 24/7. I feel like in my closest friends, I’ve found brothers and sisters. While we may not share the same parents, we get each other, fight with each other, and share all the inside jokes.
It’s these connections that have filled the missing puzzle piece that I never acknowledged.
So while others may look at me differently after finding out I am an only child, I realize that I’m not alone. I have friends who are also only children, but it doesn’t make me view them any differently. In fact, I don’t view my friends who have siblings any differently. I think it’s special to be an only child and it is equally special to have siblings.
I guess what I’m trying to say is whether or not they have a sibling, it shouldn’t matter how you view the person’s demeanor and personality. I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that having or not having siblings is the sole cause for a personality type or certain behaviors. I believe the way we are able to connect with people should be more important and valued more sincerely.