My young adult book If Only… portrays two best friends, Lisa and G, each of them an only child. People like to generalize about only child traits. I never liked generalizations. Only children are above all individuals. When you read If Only… you will see how being an only child plays out differently for teenagers Lisa and G.
Books for Only Child
The experience of being an only child is a unique one and I can attest to that. I want to share some of my thoughts on the subject, not as a teen but as an adult and all it entails in relation to elderly parents.
Have you ever had one of those days, weeks or years when life gets in the way? I certainly have. I intended to finish my book If Only… many years ago, but there were people in my life who thought otherwise. It really wasn’t their fault, but things just happen, as they so often do.
Being an only child has its perks. It also means you’re THE ONE. You don’t have siblings to contact about your elderly parents because you are THE ONE and ONLY. You make all the decisions because it’s your responsibility and no one else’s. True, you can consult with your closest people but at the end of the day, it’s only you who makes that important decision. You’re the one that takes your parent to doctor’s appointments and you’re the one that has to step up to the plate whenever there’s a medical emergency. There’s no brother or sister to call so that you can take turns watching over a sickly or elderly parent or when you want to get away for a brief vacation. It might be nice to have someone to call and say, “Hey, can you look in on Dad or Mom when I’m away?”
So here’s the thing, we might all love the idea of only child benefits but which would you prefer, only child vs siblings?
I never complained about being an only child. I did what I had to do without giving it a second thought even when my beloved father asked me to give up my writing and piano playing so I could be there for him 24/7. I understood it was the dementia talking but still, life got in the way. Let there be no misunderstandings, I wouldn’t have done it differently.
I always could consult with and depend on my husband for help, a saint of sorts. When he married me, I’m not sure he realized that he also signed up to be my brother and best friend. My children as they grew up were always there for me, no complaints on that front. But still, I experienced many hours of only child alone time.
During these times, I savored many moments sitting on my terrace looking out at the sea, feeling the breeze on my face, my hair flying around in all directions and breathing in the fresh air. I saw the trees down below and their branches moving to and fro in the wind. I welcomed those moments of calm when I could read and write. But then the persistent ringing of my cell phone always snapped me back to reality and the worries began all over again.