A couple weeks ago, I shared a picture of Luke and Eden hugging to my Instagram account. I captioned it: “Growing up an only child, I never knew what it was like to love a sibling. THIS is everything.”
The picture really had me thinking about my somewhat unique situation. Growing up an only child and now raising a “mini-herd” of siblings.
It’s not that my parents sought out to have one child. My mom often told me she and my father planned for a large family. When I was 2 years old, complications arose.
Years of heartbreak, attempted adoption, and rounds of fertility treatments took a toll on my parents financially and emotionally. Of course, I was too young to understand any of this and I only made matters worse.
Every night I’d say my prayers and ask God for a sibling. I had a notebook filled with baby names I liked. Suggestions I would show my mom when she announced she was pregnant again. My letter to Santa was filled with the normal requests for My Little Pony’s, craft sets, games…I would sign it and add “P.S. please bring me a brother or sister.”
I think I was 9 years old when I finally realized it wasn’t going to happen.
I remember my mom sitting me down, without shedding a tear, although I can only imagine the tears she shed in silence. She told me sometimes God only plans for a mommy and daddy to have one child, I was the perfect combination of both her and my dad and they could never ask for more. I remember sadness, but also a sense of relief knowing this was just how it was going to be. Contentment had finally fallen upon our little family, as I would always remain their only.
I never wanted to have just one child. My husband comes from a large family, so the thought of having just one child was never on his radar. However, much like my parents, and millions of others, sometimes…there is no choice.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was terrified. I simply did not know how to interact with siblings, let alone raise them. Silly and ridiculous, but it was completely foreign to me.
Looking back now on my childhood as an only child and now a mother of two children with one more on the way, all families are wonderful in their own way. I no longer feel having one child is a negative thing, and the same goes for not having any children. We are all different and come from different backgrounds. Some families with two parents, some with one, some with adopted or fostered children, one child, 7 children it all really adds up to LOVE.
My parents loved and continue to love me unconditionally, the same way I love my children. An only child will miss out on certain things like, sibling rivalries and having a constant playmate and best friend. They also have to deal with loneliness and some unnecessary teasing about being “spoiled”. However, only children are also able to share an incredibly unique bond with their parents.
God listened to my prayers when I asked for a brother or a sister, it just wouldn’t be answered for 20 years. I do now know what it’s like to love a sibling. And, honestly, watching the relationship unfold through the eyes of my children, really is everything…to me.