I am an only child. Through the years I have been asked if I felt differently because I am an only child. My answer was always no because that is all I have ever known. So fortunate to be raised by loving parents, I was truly spoiled by their attention and caring. Then one day everything changed. A good friend of mine proposed that same question to me and of course, my answer was the same. She was also raised by loving parents but had no siblings. She shared that we were different and went on to explain. She inquired as to what I would do if someone asked me how I was. She wondered if I thought they were really interested in my answer. Of course, I answered a resounding yes. She shared that when I asked a question to my parents they were always invested in answering me. They were constant admirers and cheerleaders. In the real world, she felt that that was not always the case. She had been a part of the political scene for years and was very successful so her experiences were formed by that world.
"I have a great idea!" She exclaimed. "Let's have an only children's luncheon and share our experiences." I loved the idea and a week later seated around the luncheon table were a former mayor of Tampa, a publisher of a local Hispanic newspaper, two politicians from local government, my friend and me. We shared lots of conversation and then my friend said: "Let's go around the table and share a personal only child's story and the best one will win first place." The stories were very personal.
Some were happy and some were sad. There was that common thread that was woven throughout the experience. That special bond and understanding that we all shared. At the end of the luncheon, certificates were awarded. Surprise! Surprise! Everyone won first place! As only children, we expected to be the only one and be first. We all smiled and hugged as we left the restaurant knowing that something special had just taken place.
Years later I truly understood the burden of being an only child. I lost both
of my parents at a young age. On several occasions I sat in the hospital alone with no parents, brother or sister there to comfort me when I almost lost my wonderful husband. I had to find strength in only myself in tense and terribly alone moments. I find such happiness and peace that my two sons have each other as they experience these happy and sadder moments in their lives.
If you are an only child, please share a story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are part of a very special club.
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