St. Elsewhere and I were emailing about siblings and when my response got long and involved, it occurred to me that maybe I had a blogging topic for a change!
My daughter LOVES to ask for a brother or sister. She used to do it daily, but has slowed down to once or twice a week lately. Today she was playing with her cousin, and there was much yelling. I told her that now she knew what it would be like to have a brother. My mother suggested that I adopt an older brother for her...
My mother is the queen of family planning. Her philosophy was that each child should have a companion, and so she has two sets of children. My two oldest sisters are a year apart. My next oldest sister and I are a year apart. There are 6 years between the sets. My grandfather referred to all of us as Pete and Repeat (or Re-Pete, if you will).
It's nice that my mother was able to have a plan and execute it. Even for her, though, it didn't exactly work out as she intended. I think she actually wanted to maybe stop at 2...but then 2nd oldest sister started asking for a little sister. She didn't want to be the baby any more. Then 3rd oldest sister came along...and 2nd decided that life had been pretty good before 3rd turned up and she would like to go back to that. 44 years later, I believe that's still her philosophy.
The other downsides to my mother's plan are mostly relevant to me. First, 3rd and I are sometimes still referred to as "the babies." That's a little annoying when you get to be 20-something and downright absurd when you're in your 40s. Second, my name was chosen by 1st sister. 2nd and 3rd share the same first initial, and she felt left out. So, while my mother was in the hospital having me, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd were at my aunt's house. 1st sent my parents a letter with a list of name selections all starting with A, so things would be even. I'm not a huge fan of my name - I don't really feel like it fits me well. Everyone else I meet who shares my name is pretty perky and bubbly. I tend more towards awkward and sarcastic. But I have a story behind my name. I suppose that's something.
Finally, and most importantly, my companion and I do not get along. Things were fine until 3rd went to school. In my opinion, she abandoned me in her quest to fit in with the other kids - her younger sister who had been her best friend suddenly became a major annoyance. Unfortunately, due to her personality and probably some mental illness, she never quite fit in...and, after multiple betrayals (that stick with me even though they happened when I was 8 years old!), I was not willing to take her into my circle of friends. We had some knock-down, drag-out physical fights...up until we were well into our 20s. Now that she lives 1000 miles away and we see each other every other year or so, we get along just fine. But as companions, it did not work at all.
In some ways, I feel badly that my daughter will be an only child. Having a sister has its moments. But here are the things I know that make me comfortable with what is:
1) My daughter does like children younger than her...until they can talk back. Then, not so much.
2) I'm too old and tired to keep trying, and the added stress would be detrimental to the rest of my life.
3) When I die, there will be no one to fight with over my stuff...and she will be able to save it or throw it away without having to consult with anyone else.
4) You never really know what you're going to get.
5) I'm lucky to be where I am.