Being an Only Child

By Carley M., Age 18

I just have two words – only child. Spoiled? Exciting? Absolutely amazing? Oh no, no, no. When I mention those seemingly good words to a stranger, their first reaction is "Wow, an only child. That must be great!" But I have news for all those with siblings… it is not as magnificent as many people perceive it to be. Everyone always assumes the "only child" life is a blessing from God however; it has as many negative features as it does positive. First of all, I do not usually get everything I want, which may be the first thought that pops into the heads of those strangers. I would prefer a more polished vehicle than I currently have, although, my parents, of course, think otherwise. I would love to know that I had the most current, updated, most fashionable wardrobe ever, but I "have to spend my money wisely." And, to be honest, I would love to be unemployed, but I think we both know the pattern forming here. My parents "aren’t made of money," and do not willingly dish out as much cash as I would like them to. Second, and most ironically, I do not have as much independence as some would imagine. Those late hours of the night start rolling around and my parents are not thinking of anyone else… except me. I receive phone call after phone call. "Where are you?" and "What time will you be expected home?" At that point, I am regretting the fact that my argument for getting a cell phone four years prior was so that they can check up on me and know where I am at all times. And last, but not least, there is no one else to blame for your own mistakes. It is, unfortunately, always my fault. So when the computer malfunctions and I know that neither one of my parents can hardly turn the machine on, the blame is automatically dropped on me. It is a shame that I do not have a brother or sister to take one for the team. I always have to bare a troubled situation on my own without any support, or a way out. There are many other reasons why this "only child" position is not as stimulating as others portray it to be. My children will not have any blood-related aunts or uncles on their mother’s side. Therefore, I may just have to depend on some good friends and my future husband’s vast family to fill those roles. I do not learn any life lessons from an older brother or sister. I experience everything first hand. And sometimes I find myself getting impatient with young kids, because I never had constant interaction with them while growing up. However, believe it or not, after all of the complaining I have done, there is – I think – one positive outcome of being an only child. I am the one who solely receives the best gift either one of my parents can give, their unconditional love. I may not get every materialistic thing I want, but any affection, forgiveness, compassion, or emotion I need I can get from my mom. Any necessity (and a few more) that his daughter needs, my dad will give me. I may also hate that I have a hard time breaking away from my parents and gaining a little respect for the fact that I can take care of myself on my own, but it is good to know that I have parents who care. I have parents that will always be concerned of my well-being and never leave me alone to falter. And just because I did damage the computer (I confess), someday I am going to have to learn to admit to what I have done was wrong. I might as well start now. I appreciate all the life lessons my parents have given me. When I leave for college, I am sure that my mom and dad will continuously worry about how I am and if I am taking care of myself properly. And that anxiety only makes me want to work harder to prove my independence to them. I will show them that I can carry a job for longer than a few weeks. I will show them that anything I want I can earn myself. I will live my life with the morals they taught me. Hopefully showing them in the end exactly what they will be so worried about; they raised me to be a great daughter, friend, and human-being. And I am sure that that is all that matters. There are some common misconceptions about being an "only child". But the best perks are the ones that strangers or my peers cannot always see, my parents. Do not be fooled, however. All of the examples I mentioned earlier in this essay are true and many of them probably get more annoying than a brother or sister ever could. Though, we all learn to live our lives different. My life was just a variation of my own parenting. I did not have sibling role models. I "only" depended on my parents to teach me how to grow up as a decent, well-behaved kid. Of course I had my friends, but I was the "only" child. I still am the "only" child. And I will always be the "only" child. But, with my parents, it is good to know that I am definitely never alone.