21 September 2012 was quite the day – my last terrapin, Arthur (I started out with 2), had finally joined his buddy in the little pond in the sky.
It was weird – I rarely paid it much attention as a dog owner would pay his dog, only occasionally visiting him once or twice a day, sometimes feeding him his little pellets. Throughout these 10 years, I was aware of one thing though – it was a comfort to know he was there; A comfort I simply acknowledged but couldn’t explain until that fateful Friday.
I woke up (late as usual) to my grandmother just staring at his corpse wondering what to do with it as I glanced over and got the shock of my life. I felt a rush of emotion I never thought I’d feel and decided to bury him where the plants would be, at the ground floor of my block. However, the dirt was not the only digging done that day…
For the rest of the day, I was thinking about why I had that rush of emotion and why I had that comfort in the first place and it was soon clear to me – I never treated him like a pet. I treated him like a sibling.
I’ve been an only child my whole life, and this has affected me since young. A pet meant everything to me, simply because there was another life in the house other than my parents or grandparents. Even then, nothing is more human than a human and a pet only seemed to come as a gentle comfort, not impactful enough to affect me in any other way.
Most of my friends would never know what it’s like to be an only child and sometimes it fills me with envy when they complain about their siblings in the most hateful way possible, or even yet, wished that they were only children themselves.
Being an only child has made me understand the importance of human relationships, I feel. Friends, cousins – I’ve leant to cherish all of them because I know that I have to accept the fact that there isn’t any other stronger bond that I can have at this point in time with people my generation. And I guess, that’s why I’m often quite the open book, because from what I’ve observed, siblings are often that someone that you can tell literally anything, who you know cares about you somewhere, somehow.
Worst of all, terms like ‘Only Child Syndrome’, ‘Little Emperor Syndrome’, ‘Predominant Sibling Society’, etc. THEY DON’T HELP, whether or not the stereotypes I often see are true or false. It’s with articles like those often presented by Bernice Sorensen that remind me that those were past theories and the 21 Century is set to reveal more about people like me. Then again, I’m also often exposed to negative stereotyping on how only children ‘spoiled’, ‘lonely’ and ‘not able to share’. The fact is, only children like myself mature too, and understand the issue with such characteristics and understand to not have them. Only children never seem to be lonely, we never seem to be bored. I’ve been sitting in empty living rooms for years. I can entertain myself with literally anything. And without that fact, I wouldn’t be the innovative and curious individual I’m proud to say I am and the restless fella many people say I am :3
Everything has a pro and con to it, and often, I’m usually one who can see both and colour a shade of grey, but when you’ve lived with something for 17 years, and only realizing it’s severity now, it can be quite the downer.
I’ll never know what that’s like.
To have that bond, that connection, with someone.
It’s a beautiful thing, the bond between siblings.
It’s hard to accept the fact.
-I’ve never, and will never, know that bond.-