On Siblings

Me, my baby sister, and my older brother.

I am a middle child.

I have an older brother (2 1/2 years older) and a younger sister (5 years younger).

I also have an older stepbrother and a younger stepsister, but I was in my mid-teens by the time they came around. Also, that still makes me the middle child.

The thing is, when I was younger, I wasn’t always a fan of my siblings. My brother endlessly harassed and teased me about everything. In later elementary years, we would walk to school together and he would push me into bushes. These really evil scratchy ones. I still take caution walking by them, remembering the needles poking me, worried somebody is going to push me in. He was some kind of genius, never challenged by school, and so he required a lot of attention from my parents.

My sister always seemed just out of reach for friendship. Also? I think I wasn’t a very good big sister. I don’t remember teaching her any “sisterly” things that I have seen in sister-friendships in the movies. I can’t think of anything I’ve taught her, except that her Barbies should share a bed if they want a baby. I think I resented her too much for being the baby of the family (read: kind of spoiled). She required a lot of attention from my parents.

The thing is? Even though I wasn’t a big fan of having siblings, I always imagined I’d have two or three kids. Sometimes being an only child sounded like a fantasy life I was enviable of, but for the most part having a sibling or two wasn’t such a bad thing. Despite none of us forging any meaningful relationships with each other, I still love them and it’s not too difficult to come up with happy memories. Just a few months ago my older brother was driving through town and stopped by. He only had a few hours, so we just stayed up all night talking. It was weird. And I totally had to go to work the next morning, but I was so happy to just be sitting there with my big brother talking about life and our shared past and how we both totally think we missed out on some weird relationship that other brothers & sisters seem to have that we never had but it’s okay because we love each other even if we only talk once a year.

Or whatever.

So I always imagined that I’d pop out a couple of kids. And I would force them to be best friends. Or I wouldn’t and they would have a totally awesome if not at all close to normal relationship like I have with my siblings.

And then I had the first kiddo.

And I would always (in fact, still do) tell him: You are my favorite. Just don’t tell your brothers and sisters.

And I would laugh because haha! he doesn’t have any brothers and sisters to tell. Yet.

And then I got divorced.

Now I am 27 years old, only 3 years away from that weird deadline I placed on myself to be done having kids by 30 for some reason that’s not entirely clear except I definitely want to be done by 35 because that’s the magic number they say that once you hit it your chances of having babies with problems increases. (pause) (deep breath)

And there is a huge part of me that keeps saying That’s it! I’m done. Rip the uterus out because I am not popping out anymore babies. Ever.

Because I hated being pregnant. And the baby stage was rough on me.

And, truth be told, this kiddo really is my favorite. I’m finally at a point where I enjoy his company (almost all the time) and watching him learn new things and grow into a real person is really kind of amazing. He’s freaking fantastic. He is my favorite person in the world. And not just because I made him, but because he is this awesome person who makes life so enjoyable.

Also, I am divorced. I am not dating (yet? ever? who knows). And I am not strong enough or financially stable enough to be one of those women who go to sperm banks to have a baby all by herself. Single mother to one is hard enough. Single mother to two? Maybe if I was a multi-millionaire. With nannies.

But then I wonder: Is he going to miss out on something if he doesn’t have any siblings? My friends are starting to pop out babies of their own, so it’s not exactly like other kids won’t be around. Plus, I have this enormous extended family (we’re Italian and mostly Catholic, if that gives you an idea) and a few of my cousins have kids that are his age. So as long as I stay in touch with my cousins, he’ll have those playmates. And, you know, there’s always school. Schools are always filled with potential BFFs, right?

I’m not saying I’m going to pop out another kid just so he has somebody to play with at home. He does quite well with me as a playmate, and has learned to actually play by himself quite well (yes, he is extremely clingy to me, but even I have to admit that he does disappear into his room more often than he used to). I am just constantly curious what makes people have the decision to have X number of kids. I’m totally happy with just the one kiddo, but every once in a while I still find myself wondering…what would it be like to have another one?

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