bruthas and sistas

April 11, 2011

Let's talk siblings, people. And I say 'talk' instead of 'read' because I'd like to hear your perspectives too.

I see a lot of chatter among the mom crowd of the wonders of having multiple children, of brothers and sisters. People wax eloquently about 'having a friend forever' and 'companionship' and the magical relationships their children will have and all that jazz. Rather than beat around the bush I'mma go ahead and put it out there: I don't buy it.

There are lots of people in the world with siblings. Some have siblings they adore, some have siblings they ignore, some have siblings they hate. The ratio seems about even of all three outcomes so there's a fair chance that your precious darling will hate their brother rather than love him, or best case scenario as adults they'll never be very close. I'm not discounting at all the importance of those close treasured sibling relationships but let's be real, not all siblings end up that way. By a long shot. There's no guarantee that your children will get along and be best friends forever. I would call that naive. Hopeful, positive, lovely, but naive.

Now's the time when I have to let you in on a huge caveat to this discussion on my part– I'm an only child. I admit, quite readily, that I understand virtually nothing about sibling relationships. Nope, just can't fathom them. Can't. Intellectually I can imagine what it's like, I can read about what it's like, but I haven't experienced it. What I do know is this: I've never felt lonely. I had quite a happy childhood, just by myself. I don't keenly feel the lack of someone to always be my friend. Quite the reverse, I don't understand why you would need that kind of relationship.

I don't want to sound like I'm down on siblings because that's not really true. I just don't get the idealized perception of magical friendship. There are plenty of other reasons that make more sense to me, things that make having multiple children sound appealing. Shared memories, traditions, someone to bitch together about 'your crazy parents' to, etc etc.. And if your kids do end up with an awesome relationship, and I don't just mean they share toys in the sandbox, if they share a meaningful connection {not obligation} through adulthood, then that's something pretty damned special. But is it special enough to roll the dice?

I've never had siblings. This is the only type of existence I've known. I have no complaints about it, things were/are fine. On the flip side, those who have siblings have primarily never known a life without them. It's the only life they've known. In that way it seems like you just make the choice and go with it. You can't know what you don't live. Is one better than the other? Meh. No. How can you even compare the two? They're just different. The onlies can't understand the multiples, the multiples can't understand the onlies.

Beyond my general mystification over the whole sibling "thing" this obviously comes into play with our own family planning. Will there be more than just the Jude? Can an only make the jump into brothers and sisters? Would I even want to?

(And wow is that a huge topic with so many factors that I'm not touching it with a ten foot pole outside my head. Yet. Sorry. Pretend that paragraph never happened. No, seriously.)

Let's talk. Do you have siblings? Do you get along? As children? As adults? Would you/did you have more than one child? How did your own family history impact that choice?
Help the ONLY girl out. I'd like to hear about your experiences.
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