Up until about 5 years ago I didn't think anything of being an only child. Actually I still don't think much of it. What's the big deal? Sure it's slightly uncommon, but what's with all of the negative stereotypes associated with only children? Blah blah blah, spoiled and self centred - I get that . . . in theory. But the pity? I'm increasingly surprised to hear pity in peoples voices when they hear I'm an only child. Q: "Don't you wish you had a sibling growing up?" A: "Not especially . . . no." blinking*
This recently tainted perspective was driven home after I read a Globe and Mail article by Lauren Sandler. Being "self centred", I desperatly want to read her book One and Only. Not everyone thinks they have the best parents or upbringing, but I think mine was pretty damn great and I believe part of the reason was that I am an only child.
Sure, I was either very well planned or a colossal mistake. In the mid 70's, after nine years of marriage my folks decided to have a baby. Lucky for everyone I was a girl. As the person who sent me an ExpressPost envelope including the Lauren Sandler article and a handful of Baby-Bels, my mother continues to dote on me (even at age 37). She was a born mother, but only ever wanted ONE. My folks were the only couple in their group of friends who had a child. They were undoubtably those annoying people who took their daughter everywhere. Fortunately I was far better behaved then than I am now. Those were still the days of "seen and not heard". Fine by me. I always had a supply of coloring books or Hot Wheels to keep me entertained should the "adult conversation" extend beyond my elementary ears.
I used to have a friend that complained that I had never been to the end of the island that we lived on. I used to answer: "No, but I've been on safari." That shut him up. As Lauren Sandler mentions, the finacial ease is significant with only one. My parents could afford to globe-trot and take me with them. Plus they knew:
a. I'd be well behaved b. I'd appreciate the experience c. It wasn't going to bankrupt them.
Sadly it's not 1984 and any unequipped moron can have as many kids as they bloody well please. I don't know if I'll have one, three or zero children. All I know is, only children are people too . . . except smarter, more independent and better looking.