Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 2:37:49 AM
I grew up wanting an older brother or sister. Sandy may have received a list or two from me with the ask of an older sibling. Even though Santa was a good friend of mine, he never brought me a sibling. He brought me everything else on my list. If only he would have brought me a sibling, he would have been my hero.
It wasn’t meant to be. No one ever told me I wouldn’t or couldn’t have an older sibling. When I was old enough I figured that out all by myself. The topic of a sibling for me no longer comes up. I don’t know why my parents considered one child enough and at this point in my life, it no longer matters.
My mom is the oldest of three and my dad is the oldest of seven. They graduated in June, 1964, were married in October, 1964 and guess who was born in April, 1965? My dad went into the United States Air Force after graduation. Money or the lack of it may have something to do with the size of our family.
Mom and Dad married years before their siblings did. When cousins were born, I was much older than any of them. I have an aunt two years older than me and another aunt two years younger than me. The age difference between me and my cousins was too large to overcome when we were younger. Sadly, it’s no different today. Alone in my immediate family and alone in my extended family.
Growing up without siblings wasn’t all gloom and doom. With both parents working full-time, money was more readily available to buy the things others I went to school with could only dream of. We went on vacations. No exotic destinations but I still saw places and attractions others did not have the means to see. My parents decided to take a vacation to Florida; we packed our suitcases and started driving south. It was still dark and the snow had started when we reached Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As far as I know, that trip was planned that night in the bar. Crazy!
Unfortunately some bad came along with the good and fun. I was labeled spoiled. Parents of my friends forbid them from playing with me. They feared their daughters from playing with me. They feared their daughters would want everything that I had. How dare those parents treat me as though I had some contagious illness? They didn’t take the time to get to know me.
Would I still have been labeled spoiled if I had a sibling? Honestly, I don’t believe I would have. There was so much emphasis put on me being an only child and that being the reason I was spoiled. It’s important to remember that when I was growing up in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s people were still having multiple children. It was so not like today where having one child or no children are more the norm.
I learned an important life lesson during my spoiled period; never judge someone by what is on their exterior or as the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Something else I learned that really didn’t come full circle until my oldest daughter applied for financial aid is that kids do not always benefit from having hard working parents. With both my parents working, we had the means to live comfortable. Disadvantage – Bobbi Jo is spoiled. Me and my husband both work and have the means to live comfortably. Disadvantage – Eisenreich girls do not qualify for grants and are overlooked at scholarship time. It’s ok though; I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I grew up fairly quick as a result of the things, people, and places I was exposed to. I remember many times being told how mature I was for my age. With that presumed maturity came responsibility and opportunity. Responsibility and opportunity would have eventually come to me if I’d had a sibling, but not as soon as they did without a sibling. The responsibility I felt years ago will not come close to the responsibility I am anticipating as my parents’ age. Decisions regarding their care will fall solely on me. Maybe having a sibling would relieve some of the responsibility but then again, maybe not. What if my sibling didn’t want to share healthcare responsibilities? I see other families go through those issues; even families with several children. It will be me bearing the responsibility of my parents as they age. Hopefully my husband will be supportive and lend a hand when I need him to.
I have convinced myself that had I grown up with a sibling, I would be someone else. My personality would be different. I doubt I’d be an introvert as I am today. I would have had someone to talk to. It’s very possible and more likely probably we wouldn’t have been best friends. Even if we didn’t get along most times, there would have been times when we were buddies and there for each other.
There are times when I wish I could talk to someone who is living what I am living. A sibling would be perfect. My options are limited; my husband, my girls, or a friend. It’s heartbreaking for me to trust someone with my thoughts only to watch them run the other way. I don’t believe a sibling would do that. Could that be why I have trouble trusting people?