From The Girl Who Lost A Sibling

From The Girl Who Lost A Sibling

My story.
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At only five years old, my world was rocked. September 14th of 2004 would be a day to forever haunt me. A day I could have never seen coming. I had always wanted to be a big sister. I was so excited when I found out I’d be getting a baby brother. It was absolutely a dream come true. As soon as my brother was born, my happiness didn’t stop.

I loved being his big sister. I loved to help with feeding, bathing, changing, anything to be close to him. I loved him. I loved him so much. I can’t remember the 14th perfectly, but I hope I kissed his little head goodbye on my way out to the door to school. Unfortunately, it would be the last time.

The day was confusing from the start. Why was my mom’s friend picking me up from school? Why couldn’t I go home? Why couldn’t I go play with my baby brother? And later, why are my parents in tears? And finally, why did this have to happen? That one had no answer. My mom had been holding my beautiful brother when all of a sudden, he stopped breathing. There was no warning. There was no way to help him. The next few months, years even, were a blur. All I remember was sadness. But the years after? I remember hope.

The Ryan Wolfe Kossar Foundation was founded to prevent this tragedy from happening to more families. While unknown to many, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) takes the lives of over 2,000 infants a year. Infants just like my brother. Infants with loving families just like mine. So, I will continue to share his story - through the foundation, through word, and now through my writing. I will share until no other sibling has to come home from school to find out they were an only child again.

And to my baby brother, I love and miss you every day, Ryan. It’s surreal to me you would be a teenager today. I wonder what you’d be like. I like to think you’d love baseball like me and your daddy. I like to think you’d look like me, with big green eyes and a big smile. I like to think we’d be so close. I know we’d be so close. We are so close.

I can still talk to you. I can still thank you for being my guardian angel. I can thank you for giving me strength through struggles and guiding me through life. I want to make you proud. I want you to smile down on me. I hope you do. I’m proud of you. I’m inspired by you. I live for you. And I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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8 Truisms Of An Only-Child Childhood Everyone Else Should Know, Signed, An Only Child

But really.... do your parents actually have favorites?
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As an only child, I feel it's important to give out a little PSA to correct all the stereotypes we sibling-less children have labeled on our backs.

1. We're not all spoiled

Like... yes, my parents gave me an iPhone. Five years after everyone else got one!! In fact, my parents made it their personal mission to avoid saying "yes" partly for their own satisfaction and partly to avoid raising the spoiled kid. Just because there's only one of us, doesn't mean our parents are gonna splurge their hard earned money on us.

2. It can get lonely

Mom and Dad have to work, the neighbor kids aren't always home, and back in the day, there wasn't Netflix and Snapchat to entertain us all day.

3. We used to worry about our kids not having aunts and uncles

This may sound silly but it was a legitimate concern. Who will spoil my kids since I will obviously refuse to? Will they have any cousins to play with? Will they have the large family gatherings I always wanted to have? That is a lot of pressure to put on your future spouse.

4. Vacations can be interesting

What's a girl to do when her parents want to sit on the condo patio, but she wants to go to the beach? It can be very hard to have back up in these situations, but they almost guarantee you to have excellent persuasive skills later on in life.

5. A lot of people in one place can overwhelm us

Yes, I want to be around people ALL the time. Yes, I also need my space because I was raised in a quiet household. Usually, we'll sneak into our rooms if a huge party is happening downstairs, it's just the way it's going to be.

6. Loud kids are scary but we want 6 of them.

Yes, other people's kids freak me out. Yes, I want a ton of them because first of all, if they are my kids they will be awesome and second of all, I gotta make up for my childhood.

7. We'll never understand what it is like to have more than 3 people living together in one house

How do fights work? Do you all eat dinner together? How often do you share things? Do you hang out as a family often? Do your parents really favorites, and how do you know? These are the questions we want to be answered!

8. And how can siblings fight one minute and be best friends the next?

This dynamic just makes zero sense. Can not compute. We will never understand, probably not even after we have kids of our own.

Cover Image Credit: Kate Alt

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Being The Oldest Child Is Both Liberating And Terrifying, But I Wouldn't Change It For The World

It has instilled in me the power to set an example for my brothers to follow.
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As the oldest of three boys, I have often had to trailblaze a path for my brothers to follow. Every act that lead me to get in trouble, I was the first child to do so. I essentially laid the blueprint for my brothers on what to do and what not to do to get by our parents with ease. As the oldest, I have not had someone that I can confide with on “mature” and “adult” discussions, conundrums and debates. I have not had an individual that I can try and follow in their footsteps.

Personally, I have both enjoyed and had some levels of difficulty. It has dawned on me that not only am I acting for myself, but the actions I display are the ones that my younger brothers look up to and admire. Therefore I must display the best image of myself in order to ensure that they make the right decisions/actions during their development into adulthood.

Growing up as the firstborn has certainly had its perks.

The level of attention I receive is at times overwhelming from both my parents, especially going to a school several hundred miles away from them. They often check in on me, calling me at sporadic periods throughout the day to make sure I’ve gotten up and not missed my 8:30 a.m. class. This is nice and all, but at times it can be a bit much. You can agree with me, right?

At the same time, I am fully aware that my parents are doing it not to be annoying and at times embarrassing, but rather because it is scary sending your first child out into the world without a path to follow. Granted, my parents have both experienced great success in their lives and the path they have created for my family is certainly a bright one. However, they paved their path many years ago and unfortunately, the methods they used to cross this path may be somewhat obsolete for me.

At times, being the oldest is tough.

In terms of discipline, I certainly experienced it the hardest and with the most repercussions. Getting grounded was a common thing for me growing up, not necessarily because my actions were so juvenile, but rather because my parents were learning and adjusting their parenting styles. Now, my brothers rarely get grounded, for acts that would far surpass my mild middle-school phase. All and all I can live with it because, without my help, my brothers wouldn’t have learned the ropes on how to survive in our household.

At times it is liberating and at times it is terrifying, but being the oldest child is something I wouldn’t want to change. I learned how to go through life and grow up on my own accord, without having a big brother or sister there to guide me as I grew. It has allowed me to develop into the person I am today and has instilled in me the power of paving a path for success that one day my brothers will follow.

Cover Image Credit: Chase Gornbein

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