Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Siblings Day? Only-Child Day? What about Almost Only-Child Day?

Sunday was Siblings day. Today is Only-Child Day. I think my siblings might understand that I identify more with Only-Child Day. What I really want though is Almost Only-Child Day. When I was young, somebody asked me where I fell within my siblings. I answered: “I’m the youngest of three and the oldest of three.” The answer was not as crazy as it appears on the surface. In fact, I can narrow it down to my having said this sometime between age 5 and age 7 just from the logic of the statement.

Many parents worry when a child is about to arrive about making sure there are emergency babysitters in place for the older siblings. My parents did not worry one bit in this way about my brothers just before I was born, I’m sure. Perhaps making sure my one brother had a car to get him somewhere might have come into consideration at the very most. You see, he was a senior in high school at the time and was the younger of my two brothers. My older brother was a senior at college. I am the youngest of three.

The youngest of three
When I was three years old, that older brother made me an aunt when his oldest daughter was born. Two years later, my other brother gave me a nephew. I am the oldest of the three.

They and my nephew’s brother who came along two years after that were often my playmates growing up. That is how I know approximately how old I was when I made that seemingly crazy statement. I never did know where I really fit in.

The oldest of three four.
My mother referred to me as an almost only child. And that was what I was. My brothers were much too old to be traditional siblings growing up with me. We have two completely different reference points. When I mention home, Jim, the oldest, thinks first of a house in Auburn and then realizes I mean the farm that belonged to our grandparents while he was growing up. We agree that in a way we belonged to two entirely different sets of parents. Although they were the same two people, he had the “young” parents and I had the “middle-age and early retirement” parents. Two different time periods and completely different emphasis on how they spent their time.

I think that this situation has something to do with how I got involved with genealogy. As a child I was around people that were older. While my friends’ parents were in their 20s and 30s, mine were in their 40s and 50s.

Not only did I not have brothers and sisters to hang out with, but also I felt almost like I didn’t belong. I heard about cousins, but almost never saw them. They were all much older than me and really of the previous generation. From hearing stories of the older generations and looking for that place that I actually fit into, the urge to search for family began. Through putting together the puzzle of the family through many generations I began to see where my place in it was. So when is that Almost Only-Child Day?

No comments: