I wonder if being an only child on Siblings Day is anything like being childless on Mother’s Day.
I doubt it, but there is a feeling of being left out.
Social media has a way of broadcasting everything to everyone every single day. I was not even aware there was such a thing as National Siblings Day until I saw it on Facebook. Who knew?
When I was just a child and the apple of both my parents’ eyes, I didn’t mind being an only child. I was the center of their attention. I was content to play by myself, play with my mother, or play with the neighbors.
And then there were my cousins. My double-first cousins, the ones who lived next door for most of my growing up years. They are the ones I played with most of the time. We spent the night at each others’ homes. We ate breakfast together on many Saturday mornings. We went to church together on Sundays and on vacations together often.
We’ve been close all of our lives. They have included me and my family in so many celebrations and family gatherings. And for that I am so grateful.
But as I’ve grown older, I know that there is a difference in cousins and siblings. I see it between Sweet William and his brother. They share those intimate growing up stories of their parents, their everyday living experiences. Sweet William calls him on the phone and says, “Hey brother.” And it’s just a sweet greeting.
I’m not naive enough to think that all siblings are close or enjoy each other’s company. I’ve heard people say that friends are closer to them than family. I understand that. It’s just that sometimes I wonder how it would be to have an older brother or a younger sister.
So what’s an only child like me to do?
I gather people around me. I collect friends. I stay close to my cousins. I reach out to other family members. I treasure the dear people in my life as much as I know how, while not perfectly by any means.
There are my sisters-in-the-faith, women who do life with me. We don’t call daily or see each other every week, but we stay connected. We have lunch once in a while. We check on each other. We pray for each other.
An only child only has to be lonely if she wants to be. I don’t want to be.
I am grateful for all those relationships God has given to me, cherished people who have come into my life for a season and for a purpose. Their signatures are written on my heart.
And I don’t feel alone at all.