My uncle had gallbladder surgery today. Twice in one week he had been rushed to different hospitals due to complications. My dad was there the first time in Carroll, my aunt was there the second time in Omaha. My other aunt took care of him until yesterday when my dad went back again. Word on the street is that the man is doing a-ok. I mean, he is a priest. I suppose he’s got connections.
All the familial caregiving pointed out that I’m an only child. When I’m 60, I won’t have siblings there to look after me if something gets difficult. I won’t have a family to go have Christmas with. It’s a really weird thought that I wasn’t expecting to have at 23. And it got me thinking about my life as an only child, which is both a blessing and a curse. The blessings are simple and obvious. My parents are together and have financially and emotionally supported me my whole life (not like they pay for my shit, but that they’re there when I need help). I tried everything I wanted because my parents could afford (time and money) to let me do it: art, swim, dance, tennis, softball, theater and even a season of soccer. I don’t (always) mind being alone. I value friendship and loyalty. I long to be helpful to the people I care about–whether it’s money, a ride, advice, or a shoulder to cry on. I can entertain myself. I’m motivated, accepting, and flexible.
The curse is easy to see, but hard to tackle or change. My admittedly cushy life means that when things don’t “go my way” I can take them really hard–even if they are little things that hardly matter at all. I tend to take things too personally, I need a lot of encouragement and support, and I have little confidence in myself. I’m indecisive, timid, and somewhat reserved. When I’m hurt, I hide rather than admit it and seek comfort from friends. When I finally do, I feel like a burden. I apologize a lot, and think my own feelings are irrelevant.
Surely, the benefits outweigh the curses. A lot of my closest friends are only children and we’re all intelligent and usually well-adjusted individuals. I guess I’m just realizing the effects of this single kid status in a more mature (adult?) light.