When I was little, I thought that being an only child was the most awesome thing in the world. I didn’t have to vie for the attention of my parents and I was spoiled beyond belief. There was no one to fight with or share toys with, or argue about who was going to watch what on the TV in the family room. I grew up thinking that the world revolved around me, and as most only children do, found out when I became an adult that wasn’t entirely true. No one prepared me for the shock I would later feel—that outside of my parents, I wasn’t anything special.
People used to ask me if I got lonely when I was a child and I have to say honestly I never did. I learned to keep myself company and invented imaginary friends and games that I could play solo dolo. I enjoyed having my space and being able to rely on my creativity to have fun. Put it like this—if you don’t know what it’s like, then you don’t know what you are missing. I never felt I was missing out on the connection or bond of a sibling because I had no idea what that felt like.
But now that I am older, I know firsthand the cons of being an only child. Recently, my diabetic father got really sick, and since my parents are divorced and I am an only child, everything fell on me. I had to make sure his personal business was in order as well as keep tabs on the hospital and doctors who were charged with his care. I also had to make sure I was there for my father in his time of need, and that meant being at the hospital each and every day all day for the 11 days he was hospitalized.
And now that he has been released and is home, I have to make sure that he gets to all of his medical appointments and that he is taking his medicine as prescribed and taking care of himself. Of course I don’t mind doing all of this because he is my father and I love him more than life, but it can be a lot when I also have a family of my own that depends on me and needs me as well. It is a constant balancing act that I have to partake in—and sometimes I feel slightly unbalanced and overwhelmed.
Yesterday while driving my dad around on his errands, it occurred to me that it’s not all that great being an only child. There are things I wish I could discuss with someone who would know what it felt like to be in my shoes. Having a sister or a brother right now would really help lift some of the burden off of my shoulders.
It can suck being an only child. When it comes to your parents and making decisions as they get older, there is no one else to consult or no one to help you. Everything is ultimately on your shoulders, and that isn’t always a good thing.
Thank you for letting me vent.