The Opposite of Only Child Syndrome

As I roll over in my bed, aka the living room couch, my dog licking my face greets me. I can’t help but think about all the sacrifices and responsibilities I have solely because I was the first-born.

Take this whole sleeping situation for example. I lost my bed, and bedroom, when I went to school because my parents decided my younger brothers shouldn’t share a room anymore. I understand not holding a room like some type of shrine, especially when I don’t live there eight months out of the year. That said, living on the couch in the central location for five other people and one smelly black lab is far from ideal.

As I lay there trying to figure out a quiet place I can escape to, and finish the homework I brought home, my dad walks into the living room.

“We’re going to need you to drive the boys to practice because I have to go to a meeting.”

Here are the assumed responsibilities I mentioned. I’ve always been the stand in soccer mom; I even drive the mini van to complete the image.

I roll my eyes but don’t object; it won’t help me. With a nod, he grabs his keys and is out the door. Upstairs I hear an argument break out between my sister, Erin, and my youngest brother Patrick. So much for that homework.

I roll off the couch and take the stairs two at a time and find them in his bedroom, Erin’s face red from screaming.

“You’re not allowed in my room! And you can’t take my stuff!”

Patrick is staring passively at her, hands on his hips.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he replies calmly. His coolness only fuels her fire and she flies across the room to rip an iPhone charger out of the wall. This breaks his composure and he too starts screaming. “That’s mine! What are you doing?!”

And just like that, a wrestling match erupts over the foot long piece of cord. Here we go.

I sigh and assume the role of referee that I’ve been playing for years. “Stop it!” I yell as I enter the fray just in time for a rogue elbow to make contact with the window next to them.

The chaos pauses momentarily as we all watch the crack spider its way across the pane. Erin breaks the silence with a push and a curt “nice job idiot” to Patrick and the fighting resumes.

I wonder what it would be like to be an only child.

***

I’m just getting back from my week in Aruba. I’m exhausted and I head upstairs as soon as I get home. I drop my Gucci bag onto the floor of my bedroom and climb into my king bed.

I flip on the huge television I got as a Christmas gift and grab my iPad off my nightstand as I burrow underneath my covers.

I can hear my dad in the room over, working in his office and talking to a client on the phone. I had passed my mom in her pride and joy, her home gym, on my way to my bedroom earlier. I know it’ll be awhile until anyone comes to bother me and I consider taking a nap before I decide instead to upload all my vacation photos.

My parents had given me the spring break trip as an early graduation present and had even paid for my best friend’s way. One of the many perks of being an only child. The tickets were obviously first class and there had been a minor disagreement about who got the window seat (aka me because my parents bought the tickets) but other then that we had a fantastic time.

I spend the next few hours uploading the few hundred pictures I took throughout the week and unpacking my bags. I had bought some adorable new clothes there. My dad peeks his head in my door just as I’m about to resign to my exhaustion.

“Hey sweetie. Want to come to dinner with us? We’re going to Rovezzi,” he says with a smile. He knows I can’t resist my favorite Italian restaurant.

Later the three of us comfortably piled into my mom’s new Lincoln and as we pull out of the driveway the conversation moves to her best friend Jayne and her five kids. She had called while I was away, unsure if she could afford her eldest’s dream college.

“Sometimes I think we should have had more kids until I realize how hard situations like that would be,” my dad says from the front seat. He looks at me in the rearview mirror as we reach a stop sign, “Do you ever wish you had siblings Kels?”

I ponder in silence for a minute and consider his question. I witness my friends and the relationships they have with their siblings and sometimes feel a pang of jealousy because that is something I’ll never get to experience. But I also know I wouldn’t have everything I do if my parents had to worry about more then just me.

Behind us a horn blares…

 

***

I’m still standing in Patrick’s room, staring at the glass. I realize the horn was an air horn held by my other brother, Daniel, who’s standing in the doorway.

 

“Shut up! We’re going to be late for practice,” he says as he turns and walks back down the hall.

 

Patrick sticks his tongue out at Erin and follows Daniel. He attempts to hurdle a pile of laundry and trips, landing on the floor with a loud thud. Daniel turns and chuckles when he sees him tangled in the arm of a shirt. I start laughing and I see a smile crack Erin’s stern expression. Soon all four of us are in hysterics, Patrick still lying on the floor.

 

Sometimes I wish I was only child but then my life would be a hell of a lot less fun.

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