I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing as Siblings Day until today when I saw friends posting about it on FaceBook. It seems like a wonderful idea to celebrate one’s siblings so I am surprised that I hadn’t heard of it before. I am sure that I would have remembered this from the past, because it does hold significance for me, although not in the way that it does for most people.
I am an only child. The reasons are complex, but they center on the fact that my Mother was rather small of stature. I found out when I was a child that my birth, had it occurred naturally, would most likely have killed my Mother and that was why I was born via c-section. Obviously, this led to the decision by my parents that they would not attempt another child at the expense of my Mother’s health and/or life.
I have always envied those who have siblings. I choose that word carefully because I am NOT jealous of those people, I envy them. The best way to explain that rather deep sentiment is that I can envy someone who is rich, because I have never been rich. I can only be JEALOUS of someone who has something similar to what I have, but which I feel is better than what I have. I hope that clears things up.
Growing up as an only child was something that I was aware of, but that also involved the realization that there was nothing at all I could ever do about it. I asked that question about why i had no brothers or sisters when I was very young, because all of my friends did. When I was told about the medical issues with my Mother, I understood and never asked again.
And so, I lived my childhood knowing that I was different to a degree. I was never spoiled, but I was made aware that I was special and unique. I was given a healthy sense of self from both my parents and I am grateful to them for that every day of my life. I learned responsibility by being the one who was responsible for things, not for being one of a group of people. I had no fall-back position if I did something wrong. I could not blame anyone else for my fuck-ups. While this lesson was not particularly pleasant, it was very important as I journeyed through life.
I found this picture and it does resonate with me as I talk about this. After the death of my parents I am totally alone. There is no other real family left. I have my relationships, and I cherish them, but they are not the deep bond that siblings have. Siblings know that they carry on what was given to them collectively. They remain as sources of support throughout their lives, and that is beautiful. Anyway, back to the picture
I am the figure on the path. I may be moving towards the viewer, or I may be moving away. It is beautifully indeterminate, just like life itself. For me, as the figure in the picture, my reality is where I am on the path. It is everything else that changes as I move along. As much as I love Hal (person), this path is my own. Only a sibling would have enough of the commonalities to be pictured as walking with me.
Surprisingly to some, I seldom feel alone. I feel normal, as I always have. My path was always the solo path, fate made it so. To be miserable and feel overwhelmed and alone would mean that I would stop moving altogether. I will never stop moving along my path until I die, there is too much to see. The direction I choose to move in is irrelevant from this picture. If someone sees me moving away from them, then so be it. If they choose to see me moving towards them, then so be that as well.
I will get to where I am going, through the sun and the shadows. I will not get there by standing still. For those on their own paths who are fortunate enough to have siblings, enjoy the journey together, and may there be as few forks in your path as possible to separate you. My path may have forks in it as well, I have the freedom to take them to see where they lead, knowing that only myself will answer if things go wrong.
That sense of freedom is exhilarating and scary at the same time. Not having to worry about a family member is a blessing and a curse. In the end, it all evens out, and my Type B personality just tells me to take things at my own pace and enjoy the journey.
Happy Siblings Day to everyone. Hold them close.