I was an only child and I loved it! I felt bad for all those poor kids with siblings who had to share rooms, toys and above all else, parental attention. The world of my parents and grandparents revolved around me and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. When I decided to have a second child, I was pretty much in the dark about what it meant to grow up with a sibling and how a parent was supposed to handle this, to me, alien situation.


When I was pregnant with my second child I worried how I would handle sibling tensions. I wondered if I could avoid identifying with the older child who had been an only child for almost five years. I felt guilty about destroying his monopoly on adult love and attention and also about bringing a child into the world who would never experience being the sole center of the family’s universe.

In the early years, juggling the needs of the two children turned out to be easier than I had imagined because of the large age difference. For example, for several years I could give exclusive attention to my baby daughter when my son was at school. In fact, my kids got along amazingly well throughout their childhoods so I was spared a lot of the sibling rivalry and hostility I was so afraid I would mishandle.

Then they grew up and all Hell broke loose!


They reversed the usual sibling process. Just when they should have stopped fighting and butting heads, they started doing it. I don’t know if it’s easier to be in the middle of this bickering and sniping with young adults than with young children. I know I obsessed about what I had done wrong that prevented the great sibling bond I had heard so much about from forming in my children.

It took years but the anger and tension seem to have ended. Lo and behold, my children have found that incredible adult sibling bond that surpasses parental approval and attention in importance. When one of them has a problem, the other is there in a flash with unquestioning loyalty.



They have very different interests and lives, but at 30 and 35, they have a connection I envy. For the first time I my life, I wish I had a sister or brother to share memories and family responsibilities.

I wish I had the special bond you can only get from growing up with someone, day in and day out, in the same house with the same family, sharing pets and friends, secrets and jokes. I don’t have that special person who shares my genes and childhood. The person who will always be there for me in a unique way no one else can.


My long deceased parents and grandparents made me the center of their world, but now I have no one with whom to share those memories of my cherished only childhood.


  1. Ellin, I love the post. Sure as heck resonates with me. I’m the oldest of 3 sons. I’m 5 years older than my middle Brother and 14 years my baby Brother’s senior.
    I was the “surrogate” brother with Mom and Dad working to ensure we had the necessary things and more. I did a lot of the household, domestic chores and looked after my brothers as best as I could.
    I remember sometimes feeling cheated because my friends were outside playing while I was inside doing “stuff”. Ironically, it grounded me in the domesticity that I tossed to the wind later in life and am now relearning in my “golden years”.
    We were never big in showing feelings or “talking it out”.
    After my Parents passed, I tried to become the patriarch. It’s been difficult. I’m still not big on talking things out with my brothers. Geographical locations make it even harder. I usually initiate communication but confess to procrastination.
    Final thought: I’m lucky to still have my Brothers. Gotta remember that.
    Thanks, Ellin!


  2. It all depends. I had an identical twin sister and I hated it – she used to snitch on me all the time and was and still is very competitive with me. Another of my sisters used to beat me up a lot and tried to kill me (seriously – Dad had to rescue me). My youngest sister was the spoilt one. I don’t have much contact with any of them.
    I have a daughter and son 14 months apart – they were and still are very close and talk a lot of skype and messaging. I love the way that they talk things over with each other and help each other. My son even does down to visit his sister at her university and loves to hang out with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know many people who have horror stories, like yours, about their siblings. This makes me feel grateful and relieved that I don’t have to deal with any of that nonsense. Then I hear stories about wonderful sibling relationships, like with your children, and I deeply regret having had to go it alone through life. I guess the same thing can be said about marriage – some people have good relationships and some have bad.


  3. Ellin, my brother is 5 years older than me too. He still knows how to make me mad, but I do love him dearly. We have four children and the sibling support and bonding is what gives them a lot of satisfaction. It’s a tough world out there, but it is a little easier to approach it with a team effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is what I regret most missing out on – the bonding and “team” spirit. Even if relations between siblings are not always great, there are usually at least some times of bonding and sharing. As I get older, I also would love to have someone to talk to about my childhood, my parents and grandparents. It would also be nice to have someone who has known me through everything and has seen where I started and where I ended up. And maybe understands how I got here better than anyone else possibly could.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are lucky to have good memories about and good relationships with your siblings. It must be so much easier when you are dealing with aging parents too. I had to deal with everything on my own. I have had incredible support from my children though, who are also there for each other. A very comforting thought.


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