Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Siblings


A fellow blogger friend, whom I've never actually met in person but have gotten to know via her blog, recently posted about the bond her two kids are forming. I myself can also attest to this close bond when I watch Jake and Chloe. 

Jonathan & I always knew we never wanted Jake to be an only child. Quite frankly, I'd never want my child to have that loneliness that I felt growing up. I'm not saying that I didn't get attention from my parents, quite the contrary, I got 100% of the attention 100% of the time. It was too much and I’ve noticed that most onlies have that issue. The proverbial umbilical cord is never quite cut and most try desperately to push away. All in vain usually as the tripod type relationship of the child and two parents tends to be codependent all through life. The parents cling and the child clings back, sometimes never knowing how to separate from their parents doting clutches. I know, you can't win can you. As great as the attention from my parents was, I always just craved that camaraderie and closeness that I observed of friends with their siblings. I know not all people with siblings have that Norman Rockwell experience. I'm well aware that some don't even talk to their sibling. You really don't know if your kids will be close or if they won't stand to be in the same room, it’s all a crapshoot. Still, I just knew that we'd have to take that gamble. That said, I draw the limit at 2-3, there will never be octuplets in my future. I DO NOT need a t.v. show. 

As a child, I remember begging my parents to give me a brother or sister, but that just wasn't in the cards. My mom, like more and more moms today, was considered to be at advanced maternal age. She was 36 when she had me and having a baby back then at that age was risky business. I’m sure my toddler years were great. I mean, what toddler wants to share, but about the time I started to play board games, I started to find myself at odds. To help alleviate my loneliness and boredom, my parents got me a cat for a "playmate". About the only thing I could come up with to do with this cat was to dress it up in baby clothes, including bonnets, and stuff it into a stroller for endless walks around the house, hence my fondness for dressing up my cats to this day. That cat, perhaps not as fond of being dressed up, took out her resentment by urinating in my drawers. As like most cats with “issues” of that nature, she soon found a “special home on a farm”. Eventually, she was replaced with a sweet little orange tabby. As adoring and patient as Tuffy was, he wasn’t the companion I craved. Have you ever tried playing hide and seek or Chutes and Ladders with a cat? The holidays were tough because all of my cousins were adults. When going on vacations, I didn't have someone to poke on long car rides. I lived like a little adult, having the same interest, watching the same endless hours of t.v. and the same conversations as my parents. If I had cousins closer in age, maybe it would have been a very different experience. I do actually have a sister who is 16 years my senior, but as great as that is now, she wasn’t really around much in my formidable years. We’ll never have those memories from growing up together. It’s just different. We only recently found common ground as adults.

With Jake, since there is little to no chance for cousins, we knew if we didn't step up and give him a sibling he would possibly have to deal with the same issues I did. So, when I got pregnant with Chloe, we were ecstatic. The holidays and other such events would now forever be different. And as much work as it is right now, I have absolutely no regrets. It's so awesome to see the close bond developing between Jake and Chloe.  They both will have someone to commiserate with on how nutty their parents are all through out life. Chloe will have a big brother to look up to which I already see happening. Jake is simply the bees knees to her. And Jake has proudly taken on that role. He's always quick to show her how to use a toy "correctly" and when she upset, his sole mission is to make her smile. I'm well aware that there will be quibbles but with that they will also learn a lot of important lessons. When Jake was "dethroned" as the sole receiver of our affections and attention, he also learned another life lesson, that he's not the center of all things & hopefully lost the all too horrible sense of entitlement that only children can have. As siblings, they'll learn how resolve conflicts & how life isn't always fair. Most only children have difficulties in their adult relationships because they are not used to the give and take required. Jon & I get along really great which is probably owed to the commonality we share as only children who tend to be, dare I say, selfish?

And at the end of the day, when Jon & I are old and need someone to change our diapers and give us formula, they'll have each other to share that burden with. Maybe this is all wishful thinking. I know many people that will argue that their sibling ended up being an unreliable heroin addict or the Unabomber, incapable of sharing any type of burden or enjoying any type of relationship with. Still, I have my hopes that we did the right thing for us.

Here is a fine example of brotherly love.

2 comments:

The Pierce Posse said...

NICE! What a budding musician.

Aunt Kat said...

I love when he shakes his arm and then after a long pause shakes his head while singing one long note. What a character. And Chloe the perfect audience.