I am an only child. There are lots of things about being an only child. There are good things and there are bad things; advantages and disadvantages, if you will. I never had to share a bedroom, share clothes, wait in line to use the bathroom, and there always was enough of my favorite things to eat and drink. No matter how you look at it, these are good things and certainly worth the price of being a little lonely every once in a while. Growing up there were no annoying siblings around to rival my parents’ attention either. Nope. My mom and dad showered me with lots and lots of attention. At times, this was a good thing, as my cousins, most of whom had multiple siblings (remember I’m Italian-Catholic), took every opportunity to remind me. One or both of my parents was always available for things like quizzing me for tests, driving me to gymnastics practice, listening to me play Carnival of Venice on the flute whenever the mood struck me, or playing hours and hours of charades or huckle-buckle-beanstalk when I was bored and there was no one else around to keep me occupied. Of course, being the center of attention also had its drawbacks. Say for example, the pristine white canvas of your freshly painted closet wall proves too much for you to resist and you spontaneously write all over it with brand new colored chalk. You immediately regret it, and quickly try to cover your tracks by re-hanging all of the clothes that were removed so your dad could paint your closet in the first place. Being an only child also might be a disadvantage if you fail to control an impulse you might have to, I don’t know maybe, carve a large calligraphy style capital letter A into the wall over your parents’ bed. I’m not saying that stuff happened, I’m just saying that if it did and once it was discovered by your parents, being an only child, and the full attention of your parents that comes with it, might not necessarily be such a good thing.
“Antoinette, did you write on your closet wall with chalk?”
“I don’t know.”
“Really? So are you saying your dad sat in your closet and wrote on the wall after he went to the trouble of taking all of your clothes out so he could put a fresh coat of paint on it for you?”
Or how about this…
“Antoinette, who carved the letter A into the wall above my bed?”
“Somebody whose name starts with A maybe? Do you think daddy did it?”
My parents names are Albert and Ada, so really it could have been anyone of us who carved that letter A. Okay. Maybe not, but as you can see, escaping consequences of your actions is difficult when you’re an only child. There is no innocent, unsuspecting sibling on whom to pin the blame, and unless your infractions include things like stealing food from the garbage or chewing a perfectly good pair of shoes to shreds, blaming the dog isn’t going to diffuse the heat either. The good thing about being an only child under circumstances like these is that you learn, at a very young age, to take responsibility for your actions. You learn it’s always best just to tell the truth and to bear the rational consequences of your actions. That is a good thing. Yes, that is a good thing, indeed.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a…Good night. Sleep tight.