"Her name is Heather and she is my new baby sister", I announced to my first grade classmates.
But the truth was I didn't have a baby sister, a lie that was humiliatingly revealed when my mom showed up for parent teacher conferences the next evening.
Mrs. Sullivan, noticing my mother's flat stomach, threw mom for a loop when she said, "I'm surprised you're out and about already." "Huh", my mom replied. "But didn't you just have a baby? Andrea announced to the class she has a new baby sister!"
|First Grade Photo|
The truth was, even at the young age of seven, I desperately wanted sister, or even a brother for that matter.
I was an only child. While very much loved and cherished, still I was alone. To this day, I wished baby Heather had been real.
My parents have known, since my desperate attempt at an expanded family, that I wanted a sibling. It simply wasn't in the cards for my parents. Yet, I still tried. To my mom I would ask; "Are you sure you didn't give up a baby for adoption?" To my dad; "Are you sure no one is going to show up on our doorstep and call you Dad?"
My sweet mom when asked why she only had one child will say, "Well, when you get it perfect the first time, why try again?" Plus she makes it known when the stereotypical "only children are spoiled" topic comes up, that I was definitely NOT a spoiled brat. Yes, they only had one to buy for and devote time to, but it was done so with lessons of giving and compassion. Genuine "Thank You's" were taught to me very early and to this day, I'd rather be the giver. For the things I do receive, I am grateful and have never once felt entitled .
While growing up, no one can deny the advantages of being an only child. My own room decorated the way I want, my parents undivided attention and a doggie I didn't have to share. Yet, I couldn't help but ache a little when witnessing my friends and their sibling camaraderie or their shared family memories.
The only child life didn't bother me as much in high school and college. Friends, dating and activities kept me busy. I'd become attached to a best friend like a sister. It was when that chapter of my life started to fade that the yearning for a sibling grew stronger.
Who's to say as an adult, I would even share a close bond with a sibling? However I do see friends bond deeper with their siblings over life experiences and I think about the future. I fell guilt because I worry about my parents own loneliness.
While I may not have a sibling bond, what I do have is an amazingly close relationship with my mother. She is my closest confidant, my partner in crime, my dearest friend and her concentrated love lifts me up. People even ask us if we are sisters. If only we were, I think, because then the inevitable might not be so bad if I knew I had fifty more years with her.
As I age into mid-life, the idea of facing my parents mortality alone is frightening. I think the cruelest is that when your parents die, you have no one left to share your childhood memories with, no one to say "Remember the last Christmas you believed in Santa?" Or "Remember making snow ice cream?" There's no one left to remember.....only you.............
|My first Christmas 1971, Aren't my parents gorgeous!!|
While I'll always wish baby Heather was real, and at times feel like a lonely-only, I'll focus on what I do have and be ever so grateful for that!!
"When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone."