The Only Child

iStock_000003426364XSmall[1]The other day I clicked my way around Pinterest, as I do on many occasions – I think if you are gone from there for at least two or three days, it gives the old pictures a chance at being replaced with new stuff, so to speak. This way, you get an entirely new collection. I have shared with my twitter followers, but I don’t think I did with you, the readers of my blog; I am soooo hooked on Pinterest. But, don’t let me ramble on about that – it is an entirely different post for another day. Okay, moving on. As I surfed the site, there were many pictures, inspirational quotes, and other things having to do with “only children.” Whenever I hear that phrase, it immediately takes me to comedian Bill Cosby. I recall a joke he used to do about the only child. He spoke of families on road trips, going anywhere, those parents only heard one thing from the back seat.

“Will you stop touching me.”

He went on to say, that if you have an only child and they are doing such a thing, then you definitely need to take him/her somewhere to have them checked.

I know I took the long way around to say that I too, bear the mark of a lone child. When I think about it, I realize my two best friends in the world are lone children. One I’ve been friends with since childhood, and the other I met as a very young woman. I think people automatically envision the single child as spoiled; mother, father, or the entire family makes a fuss over this little individual, giving them the mindset they need not do much in life. Why would they need to work hard for anything, all they have to do is snap a finger, or flutter an eyelash, and whatever they need will automatically be handed over.

Well, as far as myself, and my two best friends, our parents taught us not to look to anyone but ourselves. I’m reminded of a wonderful line from the movie,  The Descendents, which by the way, came from a short story called The Minor Wars.

“….I agree with my father – you give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing.”

As I give it more thought, I think I may have been blessed with a humbleness gene. I have to say, even today, I don’t know where this came from. But, when in high school and at night, before I went to bed, my mom would always ask me if I had enough money for the next day. If, I needed…let’s say $1.00, and I had $0.63, I would say to her –

“Ooh, I need $0.37.

And, every time she would get flustered, look at me, and say,

“Would you stop doing that.”

The worse part is, I never intended it as a joke, but she knew that. Regardless, she could not break me of that habit.

My husband had six siblings, and my co-worker also has six or seven. However, if you’re not close with them that’s when problems arise. At times, in the past, I’ve had a little pang of jealousy when I heard of someone talking about having dinner with their sisters once a week, or they’re going on vacation with their sisters. But, I get over it, because I know there’s just me, and I don’t have anyone complaining that I’m touching them. Also, when my mom passed away, I didn’t have to deal with anyone over her estate.

Even though I happened along as a first grandchild, and the first and only child to my parents, and although there were times she could be dotting – she taught me independence. I’d also have to say, my two friends are go-getters; never expecting anything to simply be handed to them. Also, like me they are more than comfortable being alone. I recall, once at a new job, at lunch I sat in a park  in front of my building. One of my co-workers walked by and commented,

“There you are, looking quite comfortable with yourself.”

Why shouldn’t I have, I had had many years of practice. My advice to other parents with one child – allow them their alone time, it will serve them well in the future, creatively as well as learning how they operate. But above everything else, you must teach them independence. Let them know you’re there for them, but be certain to allow them to do it on their own. Yes?

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

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8 thoughts on “The Only Child

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