- My mom recently asked me if I dreaded being an only child when I was little, which I didn’t.
- I didn’t tell her that being an adult with no siblings puts a lot of weight on my shoulders.
- Having siblings doesn’t guarantee a good relationship, but I wish I had someone else to help.
When I was born, my parents were considered “old” parents. They were 37 and 38, and their plan had never been to have me so late in their lives. They had been married for 12 years and unexplained infertility led to them being childless while everyone around them had babies.
After trying all the fertility treatments available at the time, without any results, my parents started the process of adoption. Shortly after my mom found out she was pregnant, she was put on bed rest and the adoption agency paused their search because they wanted my parents to focus on their miracle: me.
Throughout my entire life, my mom has joked that I could’ve had a sibling the same age as me had the agency not been so old school. Growing up I really didn’t feel like I needed a sibling, but now as an adult, I wish I had one.
My childhood was amazing
Only children are often asked if they were bored or lonely growing up. The truth is that I wasn’t at all. In true Gemini form, I make friends wherever I go, so I kept a busy schedule hanging out with friends all the time. Those friends are still, to this day, like my family.
We also moved a lot because of my dad’s job, which meant we got to travel the world and explore new cultures. I know that if my parents had had more children, this wouldn’t have happened because of school schedules, the cost of living, and the logistics of a big family.
I could always bring a friend when we went on summer trips, so my parents could have adult time while I had someone to play with.
They were also incredibly involved in my life. I have vivid memories of my mom going tubing with me in Mexico because we needed two people. She didn’t really want to ride it, but also didn’t want to deprive me of the fun. She lost her bikini top on that ride, and decades later, we still laugh about it.
Now, as an adult, I wish I had someone to help me out
I’m still incredibly close to my parents; we talk almost every day on the phone and text around the clock. While I don’t consider them my best friends, I have a more open relationship with them than most of my friends have with theirs. I also live on the other side of the world to them, and not seeing each other as often as we’d want to means we communicate frequently to make up the difference.
Recently, my mom shared that my dad had lost three of his friends in one week and was feeling sad. A wave of emotions engulfed me: On one hand I wanted to hug my dad, and on the other, I was full of dread over what would be coming up for me.
Though I didn’t mind being an only child as a kid, now as an adult, I’m filled with fear of being the only one to take care of my parents. And while I fully know — from seeing how my own aunts and uncles didn’t take care of my grandparents — that a sibling does not equal more help with aging parents, I don’t even have someone to talk to about it. It helps that my husband is incredibly supportive, but he has his own dad to take care of, so I feel guilty throwing even more onto him when I know he’s already dealing with so much.
I also carry immense guilt for having left my home country to chase my dream career. If anything were to happen to them, I am over 15 hours away by plane. I bounce between wanting my own life and wanting to be there for them as they become older and need more help.
Recently my mom asked me if I ever had wanted siblings. I told her, “No.” She said I had just removed the biggest weight from her shoulder; I didn’t have the courage to tell her all of this.