O brother, where art thou?
No, this isn’t a post about a prison escape. Sorry. I just like the sound of the title and I plan on talking about siblings. Yes, I have siblings. I don’t talk about them often because they aren’t my biggest fans. I am closer to my sister than I am to my brother, but they are much closer to each other. They have actually lived together, and were roommates during university. Neither of them have kids and are more career-orientated than I am. Neither of these things bother me in the very least. They also work longer and harder than I do – hard pass on that shit.
I suppose I always assumed that as adults things would get better. I see my mother and her siblings and they are all friends; they talk every day, they meet to have lunch once a month, they are genuinely close. I recently reached out to my siblings about our father’s birthday and was met with sass and insulting behavior. The truth is, they both think they are better than me. My sister won’t admit it, but my brother would likely happily admit it. But the thing is, no matter how hard they try to make me feel that way, it doesn’t work. I would never want to be like them. There is a very selfish element to their personalities that makes me uncomfortable. Despite our relationships with our parents (no parent-child relationship is perfect), our father has definitely provided for them, so it seemed right to want to gift him something for his 60th birthday. It was odd to be met with such aggressive negativity and defensiveness.
But all of this made me wonder – is it really that bad that Peanut will be an only child?
When I first got pregnant, it was a miracle. So the chances if it happening again are slim to none. I never discounted the idea of having more than one child until it became apparent that having even just one child was going to be only a slim possibility. I never had an issue with the idea of Peanut being an only child until everyone around me made it an issue. Truthfully, the idea of being outnumbered by more than one Peanut sounds terrifying, but I also thought at this point I would have a partner to split the work with. Since that never happened, it really is ideal that it just be Peanut and I. Yet, despite not being the type that lets people get in my head about my decisions, I did worry that maybe Peanut would resent me or wish she had a sibling. But the truth is, I had two siblings, and I still wish I had a siblings. Well, siblings who liked me anyway.
Ultimately, Peanut will likely not have siblings, and that is ok. I do hope I can teach her the value of establishing strong relationships, but I am still learning how myself. I have made the terrible mistake in the past of often attaching myself to good friends treating them like siblings, but the truth is, they may not see me that way – and I have suffered the heartbreak of losing those friends after holding them in such high regard. I have to be much better about this. I need to protect my daughter from the people I bring into her life by making sure I make the right decisions about who I allow close to me and how I show her what close friendships and relationships should look like. I am still working it out in my heart and my mind. They say family is what you make of it, but those you see as family also have to see you as family in return – which ultimately, I am starting to think – is partly also an issue of culture. My definition of family, I am learning, is very different than others definition, and it is in large part because of cultural differences… maybe?
Now, as Peanut starts getting a little bigger and her comprehension of those around her is expanding, I am becoming more and more concerned with the choices I make of the people I interact with and the importance I place on those relationships. You know, the only constant is change, and every time I think I have established my core support group, my village, people decide to walk away, or simply move away – without consideration of Peanut and I. And let me clarify, NO ONE is obligated to consider Peanut and I in their decisions – but it would be nice if someone did.
Of course, people come and go on their life paths, and geographic distance is not a deal breaker for close relationships, but I would be lying if as a single mother I didn’t need people around me that were in close distance to call upon and that I could be there for. When I was younger, I could drop everything and jump on a plane to help. Now, I am a bit more grounded but I could definitely jump in the car with Peanut to come help, and it would be nice to have someone who would do the same in return (of course, these are generalizations I am making for the topic; I firmly believe that if I called certain people, they would be here). I make these generalizations to say that as I hone in on my village, and as I assess my relationships with friends and family, I find myself still having a lot to sort out.
But, you, reader, just so you know – I appreciate you.