Monday, January 25, 2010

Siblings

Recently I read a couple of posts about siblings (here and here) over on Neurotic, Yet Classy. As I read about the author's experiences growing up with brothers, I felt sad. As a young girl, I always wanted an older brother. Someone to watch out for me at school or give me brotherly advice. For a while I even fantasized about my imaginary older brother, he was sorta like Scott Baio from Charles in Charge. He always had all the answers and would stop at nothing to keep me out of trouble.

As an adult-an only child adult-I would love to have a brother or a sister. There are so many times that I wish I had a partner in crime with whom to compare notes about what it was like growing up in our family. I'm always a little jealous when my husband calls his sister and as soon as she picks up the phone he asks, "Do you remember the time.....?" And almost immediately she knows exactly what he's talking about and usually adds some little tidbit from her own memory bank and the next thing I know they're taking another trip down memory lane.

I have no such lifeline to my past. Sure, there are my parents, but they saw things through the eyes of adults. Adults who were busy with jobs and bills and their own lives. This isn't to say they were bad people, it's just the nature of adulthood to not always be bothered with the little things that seem so monumental to children. So I have to rely on my own memory and my own perspective.

As I watch my own children, I'm so glad that they have each other. Sure they fight and argue and at times it gets so loud that I want to stab myself in the ear just to make it all go away. (Is it possible that this inability to deal with noise comes from being an only child? Hmmm....) But ultimately, they get along well and I know that their relationship will only get better as time goes on and that they'll always be a part of each others lives. Even if for no other reason than to talk about me and their father.

What was your sibling situation? Are you close to your siblings now? Is anyone else out there an only child?

24 comments:

Dani said...

I'm an only child. And there is a part of me that wishes I had a sibling. Especially at times when I need help with family issues: it would be nice to have a shoulder to lean upon. But most of the time I'm OK being just me. Probably because I've always been solo, I am used to doing thing on my own. I'm amazed when I hear people talk about how lonely they get when they are alone for a while...like, the day. I *love* my (rare) alone time. I never wanted a roommate. I am shocked I live as harmoniously as I do with The Mr.

That being said, I'm glad my kids have each other. I love watching their relationship develop. At times it's as if they have their own little language.

Good post.

Tammie said...

dani: i thought you were an only child but i couldnt remember. and i agree, i love my alone time and i rarely ever get truly lonely. i like being by myself.

but yeah...family issues...those are really the times i wish i had someone the most.

alisha said...

my husband and i both have a sibling and are so glad we did. my brother and i are only 10 months apart so we've been pretty close.

one thing we both agreed on was that we would have more than one child so that they would have a partner in crime lol. also, when we pass away, they wouldn't be alone. (a little morbid, i know).

Jenny said...

Wow. This was so cool to read a post inspired by my thoughts. :) I will say one thing - I think I have a third post coming. Just in the past few years I've started to realize the importance of friends - really good, close, true friends. This, fortunately, is something everyone can have. :) The term "family" is such a subjective term sometimes, isn't it?

Penny said...

I have a sister and for us I think the biggest thing has been being able to support each other and understand what it is like to have our parents...as...well. Our parents. There is at least one other person who GETS IT.

Tammie said...

alisha: it is morbid but yet i know exactly what you mean.

jenny: i love those posts. beautiful, simple storytelling. and i agree, i have a few friends that i can discuss anything with and ive begun to think of them as part of my extended family.

penny: i think about you and your sister often, especially in terms of dealing with your mom. im very jealous of the relationship you and your sis have.

Not Hannah said...

I have three little brothers. We are our own club, probably coming from the fact that we were pretty poor growing up. We are all smart and funny and think we know best, so we've spent years fighting like cats and dogs. (Um. Even now, when almost all of us are over thirty.)

I love a big, crowded space with lots of people in it, but I have to say that I'm working really hard to foster more patience between my kids than my brothers and I have with each other. Of course, that's hard with an Aspie and a toddler, but we'll see how it goes.

April said...

Hi there; I found your post through Jenny. I too was an only child and always wanted a brother. As a scrapbooker now, I wish even more that I had someone to bounce memories off of. I think it's also the reason I wanted to have several children, not just one.

It's Me, Theresa said...

I had 3 siblings. I have an older sister, a younger sister, and a younger brother. ALl of us girls are two years apart, and then there was a gap before my brother was born.

I don't think I would have changed it for anything. I often joke with my hubby that I should have my own room because there was only a 7-8 month span in my entire life in which I wasn't sharing a room with SOMEONE. But I think it taught me how to live closely with others without going completely nuts.

I would say that my siblings and I are all close. We have our ins and outs and fights of course. Sometimes I feel closer to one sibling than I do to the others, but even that changes.

But one thing is certain... no matter how much I talk about/dream about moving... part of me knows I couldn't survive without living close enough to my sisters and brothers to visit every once in awhile. I'm glad that my kids will have each other to grow up with.

My hubby has one sister and they are VERY close. People often mistake them for twins. Not just because they look alike, but they seem to share that kind of bond. IN fact when they were little, Tim was such a shy kid that often Angela (his little sister) would speak for him and order his food for him.

Jessie said...

I was an only child who had a fulfilling life until my father passed away and my mother succumbed to depression. I had girls that were very close to me as friends, but no one who really understood me. Mom, never recovered and life happened and I always wished I had someone to be 'there' like I imagined a sibling would have been...

Oh well...

My girls have each other now; just in case.

R.H. Ducky said...

i have four siblings: a full brother, a half brother, a half sister, and a stepsister.

i used to be closer to my brothers than my sisters. then i became really close with my half sister.

currently my full brother (who used to be the awesome older brother/protector/partner in crime type) is a complete douchebag. example: he feels that "all gay people should be dragged out in the street and shot"...this little gem of a quote was in direct response to me coming out.

family (especially mine it seems) is complicated and frustrating and just weird. but i love 'em...most of the time ;)

Not Your Aunt B said...

Thank goodness for my sister because she is the only other witness to the CRAZINESS that was my family. In a good way. But crazy.

Daphne said...

I have one younger brother whom I absolutely adore. We're very close and it's one of the main threads of my life. I feel very lucky to have him. I always wanted a sister, and there was a long period of time when we weren't close, but its' awfully nice now. He's the awesomest.

Carla said...

I have one younger sister by two and half years. We are close in the sense of family bond and get along most days, but in personality and interests we couldn't be more different so we don't hang out or talk on the phone too often. Despite that I'm glad we have each other and would do anything for each other.

kraftykash said...

I am the oldest of 3. That is why Im the bossy mama that I am. My brother and sister could vouch for that. :p

Kiley is an only child. He has a different way of dealing things than myself. Thats why we work so well together.

Hotch Potchery said...

Ditto what my sister said! (Penny)

Also, I am very glad my kids have each other to vent about me (and Penny).

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I have two slightly younger brothers. We used to fight all the time. But now, we're buddies. I think dealing with aging parents has pulled us together more. And it's a lot of fun reliving quirks from our childhood that only we remember.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I have an older brother and an older sister. They are 7 and 10 years older than me, so I was the only child at home from a young age (12 yrs old). I sometimes wish we were closer in age so that maybe we'd have been closer.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I LOVE my siblings. My father was an only child and vowed that it would be different for his kids. So he had three. I have one brother and one sister (both younger). I honestly love them so much it hurts. They are one of the lights of my life.

Great post :)
I'm glad I visited today. (I found you through the Book Rat)

Mari said...

I have one sister who is 5 years older and a brother who is 10 years younger. We are not very close. I have more in common with my brother than my sister. When I see sisters with a close bond, I am envious and a little sad. I wish I had that.

My daughters are extremely close, I am so thankful for that!

hester said...

I have a big brothe and a big sister. As children, they were sometimes a bit mean to me. We were reminiscing this week about the time Anne tied me to the fence by my sash in front of a visiting child and I was trapped for ages crying tears of humiliation. And my brother routinely held me down so that the family dog could lick my face. But as adults, we have been a great support for each other. It's great that your two will have each other.

Lia said...

I'm an only, too. I was also the only grandchild until I was about 11. And my three cousins are only children, too. I don't know how/ why it happened that way, but it did. And I never wanted a sibling. I liked getting all the attention and presents when I was little. Then when I was a teen and didn't want all the attention anymore, I just didn't want the attention, but I didn't want a sibling.

I'm pretty damn terrified of what it's going to be like for me (and my husband) when my parents get really old and crappy stuff starts happening to them. I'm scared about being the only one who will be there to be responsible for them. And the only one who will really be grieving through it. I know Lee will be supportive, but he will never truly be able to get it. That's why I was adamant that we had to have two kids. I didn't want my children to be alone as children or as adults, especially when they have to deal with me and Lee in our old age.

I LOVE alone time. I need it and I want more of it and, yes, I whine about it. Just like a true only child. But it's something that I had for decades and I still need it every now and then. Lucky for me, I have a husband who understands that- even though he has a brother.

victoria said...

I have a sister 3.5 years older and a half sister 11 years younger (same father different mother). I don't know, there is definitely a connection there that I do not share with girlfriends, but I can't say that an only child is really missing out on too much. Not with my personal experience as a sibling anyway. I spent an enormous amount of time alone as a child and when my older sister was around, it wasn't much different. We didn't talk much and she didn't treat me very well. We have very different personalities. Our upbringing was very stressful, as well, which I'm sure didn't help our relationship. She was also very jealous which I don't think she ever grew out of. However, with this being said, I consider us pretty close. I don't know. Actually, I'm having a lot of family "issues" at the moment with pregnancy. I think preg. brings up a lot of weird feelings and I'm questioning everyone's inability to respect boundaries! I should post a blog about it!

beki said...

I have one sibling, a brother 6 years younger who is mentally handicapped, so it was pretty much like I was an only child in terms of interaction/sharing/ect. I've always longed for a bond with a sibling. This is why I have 3 children today. It makes me so happy to see them getting along.
As far as alone time - I love it. I've never been one to have close girlfriends or needed someone to hold my hand.