The Single Life.
Sounds awful, huh? Or does it sound amazing? Now, before you get too far ahead of yourselves, just know I’m probably NOT referring to what you automatically assumed.
No, what I’m referring to is being an only child. I have an older sister. Her and I are not very close although we live one town away from each other. At times growing up I wished she didn’t exist. I’m sure the feeling was mutual occasionally. It’s not like I had a total disdain for her, but she and I never really saw eye to eye.
Even now, literally a couple of decades almost into our “adult” lives, we’ve yet to bridge that gap. On the rare occasion that we see each other, we do talk, but there’s usually not that much substance to the conversation, if you will. A couple of months ago, I did take the time out to text her (baby steps) and tell her I love her. We came from the same place, and we’ll always have that.
Growing up, however, a couple of my best friends had no siblings. Zero. How amazing that must have been, I remember thinking to myself. There was no one there to fight with. No one there to interfere with your mom and dad time. No one to build forts with, no one to have a food fight with, no one to have thumb wars with. There was no one to play bloody knuckles with, no one to play catch with, no one to help with your homework.
Wait a minute, maybe that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. But maybe it was. I’ll never really know. I do know I really enjoyed going over to those friend’s houses a lot, because they and their parents really made me feel welcome. I think maybe it was because they could tell how happy their kids were to have somebody over to play with. Whatever it was, they invited me to come over all the time, and I even got to go on a couple of vacations with them.
I loved them almost as much as I loved my own family. There was no drama. There was no tattle-telling on each other. There was nothing but good times. Eventually though, we had to grow up. It’s inevitable. We all do it. We ran off, got older, got married (some of us), and started our own families.
I keep up with them. I really do. Not in “real life,” but definitely in the Facebook life. I absolutely love seeing who my friends have become. Never in a million years, could we tell in high school just who the person we knew the most would be 20 years later. Sure, we had our ideas, and maybe some of them did grow up and be the doctor or lawyer we thought they may be.
As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve realized something about people and something about life. It’s all about finding YOUR happy. Your friends will never be the same person later in life than they were in grade school. They just won’t. One thing I think we all took for granted growing up, was our siblings. When there were no siblings, I think we all took for granted the friend(s) that took the obsolete sibling’s place.
I don’t like to think of myself as a placeholder, but if that’s what I was to them, then so be it. I’m OK with being a placeholder, while my friends started becoming an adult, and finding their happy. Some of my friends are single, some are married. Some have children, some have had children and lost, and some have never had children. I just hope they know how much of a joy they meant to me growing up. I hope they know they made a huge difference on who I am now, just as much as who I was then.
Some of my friends have made choices over the years that I’ve questioned, and I am more than certain I have made a few baffling decisions in their eyes too. Watching my friend’s kids grow up right before my very eyes gives me a little happiness and a little sadness at the same time. I don’t hang out with my friends anymore. Not for real. Thanks to Facebook though, I see them.
As I sit here typing this, my wife is currently checking a marker to make sure it’s non-toxic because one of my kids just colored her lips and teeth with it. Thank goodness she isn’t living that single life though, or her non-existent sister would have never told on her.