In a perfect world, our parents would always take care of us. They would offer us a little money (every week) and possibly even ship us off to Greece from time to time. In a perfect world, these parents might have even decided at one point to have another child. We’ve all heard of brothers and sisters, right? Try them—they’re quite nice.
Growing up as an only child was wonderful when I was young. I received all of my parent’s attention. I, for the most part had everything and anything I needed. I was spoiled, but not in the negative sense where I turned into an asshole brat. I grew up in the West Village in New York City and my parents were cool and intelligent hippies, that still remained responsible and always made me feel safe. Our house was very eclectic, filled with animals, plants and music and plenty of laughter. I never felt lonely and learned at a very early age, how to be quite independent. However, I only wish that among all the independence and art talks and the discussions of Bob Dylan being a genius—-that maybe my parents would have used their creative brains a little bit more and made another kid. So again— while it is great when you’re young, the hard part is when you get older—when your parents get older. When people start to get sick. When your parents get older and are poor and they come knocking on your door. When your father gambles away your family’s life savings and comes to you for extra dough from time to time. These are the times it would help to be able to call brother Joe or sister Sally and tell them they need to take the next phone call from the folks. Possibly, they could be the one to take in the parents when they get evicted later in life. That helpful sibling could accompany you to the hospital or perhaps even go by themselves and talk to countless and heartless doctors about your father’s tumor or mother’s mental health.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my crazy parents, but we all need to live our own lives and when your parents take over your life, it can lead to a nervous breakdown before it’s time. The curse of the only child is having to bear the weight of the world and your parents all at the same time. You are the only one that is there to deal with the frantic phone calls, the trips to the Medicaid office and the change of the colostomy bag. I have always envied my friends, as they pass off annoying parental tasks and requests to their beloved siblings. You don’t even have to love your brother or sister. You can loathe them and still they have to at least listen to you. I have grown tired of listening to myself express my woe regarding my parents to others. With a sibling, I wouldn’t have to preface each story with an, “ I’m sorry I’m going on about this”. They would already know about your degenerate parents stealing all the joy you have left before are actually the same age as them!
So, while it was always great kicking back with my folks as a kid—hearing stories about the sixties and listening to actual full length albums—-I only wish that I had someone to turn to, to discuss the decline of my parents and maybe get some assistance. Can a kid get a break around here?
I am an only child and I must deal with the cards I was dealt. But I want to offer a word to the wise for future parents out there—or the parents that have a toddler. I order you to have another. I know the world is falling apart and you’re not sure if you want to bring another child into a world, where soon there may not be Polar Bears left, but trust me-your child may love you when they are young, but by the age of 40, they will be hating your every move. They will be turning off their phone. They will be cutting you off financially. I know this world is for the rich now and it may seem insane to have even one kid, let alone two, trust me. Rob a bank if you have to—steal a loaf of bread and eggs to feed the kid, but have that second child. You don’t need to have the bible belt 19 kids—but at least two. This especially goes for the parents that did not save for that rainy day called old age and may even lose everything they own. While it may sound humorous to listen to your dad sing show tunes and dance with nurses in the hospital—I assure you, this all soon fades. And to all the other cursed only children out there—I feel your pain and can only hope someone somewhere has started an only children’s anonymous group, because god knows we could all use the help.