I never did. I went through a phase, around age five, when I constantly wished my best friend, Sarah, could be adopted as my sister, but that was less a wish for an actual sibling and more a desire to have a sleepover every night.
Maybe some people would have been lonely or bored growing up without siblings, but I was far too busy playing with my vast collection of toys, sleeping in my enormous bedroom, bathing in my private bathroom, and domineering my parents' undivided attention to really notice. I was not just my parents' only child, but my maternal grandparents' only grandchild as well. I was received like a messiah of innocence and joy.
I've only encountered one aspect of adulthood for which being an only child left me wholly unprepared.
When you're an only child, you mostly play board games with your courteous, respectful parents. When you have siblings, board games are a cutthroat competition for dominance and your parents' love, a desperate attempt to defend your fragile sense of self-worth, fraught with gloating and betrayal.
The first time I played a board game with Hubs, who grew up with an older brother, I was nearly reduced to tears.
You could say that I lack the healthy sense of competition and ability to cope with failure that are fostered by childhood sibling rivalries. You could say that the survival skills taught by sibling relationships prove an invaluable tool throughout adulthood.
Yet somehow, through brazen self-assurance and sheer stubbornness, I have an uncanny ability to negotiate a solution in even the toughest situations.
|This is how we play board games in our house now.|