What being an only child really means

My daughter comes into my office and slumps at my feet, head hanging. “Nobody plays with me,” she says.

All the neighbor kids go to day care, Daddy is busy with the baby, and I work. Her grandparents play with her, but she can’t stay over there every day.

Usually she deals with the lack of playmates pretty well. But she’s getting older, and wants to socialize. She is lonely.

And my heart cracks a little. Because I have been that kid.

A few days ago, I walked into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea. Anya came in, rummaged in the pantry for a minute, then pulled out her Snoopy Snow Cone Maker. “Make snow cones with me, Mama?”

“Mama can’t right now; I’m working. Daddy will help you in a bit.” I took my tea to the office and went back to work.

A while later, I went back to the kitchen for another cup of tea. The snow cone maker was all set up, and Anya was watching her tablet. Daddy was taking care of brother, who is teething and crabby.

An hour after that, the snow cone maker was still unused. Anya had moved on. Daddy and baby were asleep.

This is what it’s like to be an only child. This is why I wanted a brother or sister so badly, even into my teens. It’s why I wanted Anya to have a sibling.

Tell me your stories of sibling torture if you must. I grew up lonely. At least you had someone to fight with.

Kai is just a baby yet. I have hopes that, in a year or two, they will be great playmates. Most of the time, anyway. For now, though, she’s on her own.

Which is why, when I finish with work, I set aside time to play with her, when I have a million other things to do.

(She did get her snow cone; by the way; Daddy made her a huge-huge one after Kai woke up.)


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