"Her name is Heather and she is my new baby sister", I announced to my first grade classmates.

But the truth was I didn't have a baby sister, a lie that was humiliatingly revealed when my mom showed up for parent teacher conferences the next evening.

Mrs. Sullivan, noticing my mother's flat stomach, threw mom for a loop when she said, "I'm surprised you're out and about already." "Huh", my mom replied. "But didn't you just have a baby? Andrea announced to the class she has a new baby sister!"
First Grade Photo

If only....
My mother was shocked despite Mrs. Sullivan assuring her that kids make up stuff like that all the time.

The truth was, even at the young age of seven, I desperately wanted sister, or even a brother for that matter.

I was an only child. While very much loved and cherished, still I was alone. To this day, I wished baby Heather had been real.

My parents have known, since my desperate attempt at an expanded family, that I wanted a sibling. It simply wasn't in the cards for my parents. Yet, I still tried. To my mom I would ask; "Are you sure you didn't give up a baby for adoption?" To my dad; "Are you sure no one is going to show up on our doorstep and call you Dad?"

My sweet mom when asked why she only had one child will say, "Well, when you get it perfect the first time, why try again?" Plus she makes it known when the stereotypical "only children are spoiled" topic comes up, that I was definitely NOT a spoiled brat. Yes, they only had one to buy for and devote time to, but it was done so with lessons of giving and compassion.  Genuine "Thank You's" were taught to me very early and to this day, I'd rather be the giver. For the things I do receive, I am grateful and have never once felt entitled .

While growing up, no one can deny the advantages of being an only child. My own room decorated the way I want, my parents undivided attention and a doggie I didn't have to share. Yet, I couldn't help but ache a little when witnessing my friends and their sibling camaraderie or their shared family memories.

The only child life didn't bother me as much in high school and college. Friends, dating and activities kept me busy. I'd become attached to a best friend like a sister. It was when that chapter of my life started to fade that the yearning for a sibling grew stronger.

Who's to say as an adult, I would even share a close bond with a sibling? However I do see friends bond deeper with their siblings over life experiences and I think about the future. I fell guilt because I worry about my parents own loneliness.

While I may not have a sibling bond, what I do have is an amazingly close relationship with my mother. She is my closest confidant, my partner in crime, my dearest friend and her concentrated love lifts me up. People even ask us if we are sisters. If only we were, I think, because then the inevitable might not be so bad if I knew I had fifty more years with her.

As I age into mid-life, the idea of facing my parents mortality alone is frightening. I think the cruelest is that when your parents die, you have no one left to share your childhood memories with, no one to say "Remember the last Christmas you believed in Santa?" Or "Remember making snow ice cream?" There's no one left to remember.....only you.............

My first Christmas 1971, Aren't my parents gorgeous!!
I am an only child but this factor does not define me. I'm blessed with a healthy mother and father whom I am close to, blessed with a husband and children who we create memories with. My parents taught me to be thoughtful, considerate, organized, and loyal. My sense and duty and responsibility to my parents runs deep.

While I'll always wish baby Heather was real, and at times feel like a lonely-only, I'll focus on what I do have and be ever so grateful for that!!

"When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone."


  1. Haha I'm an only child too! I felt the emotions you described in the end of your post. It helps to feel in the moment and recognize how BLESSED you are. :) / creative + lifestyle blog

  2. i love this post! i grew up in a big family and i can't imagine any other way.

  3. Thanks for sharing this! It makes me feel better about giving my son a brother ... even though it's really hard right now and he doesn't quite see his brother as a blessing just yet haha!!

  4. Loved reading this! I have a little sister and can't imagine what it would be like without a sibling. That's great that you have such a close relationship with your mom though!

  5. I have a few siblings I would gladly give you. :) Haha the grass is always greener on the other side

  6. Had to come over and read this. While I am not an only, I am the only girl of four. That too could sometimes be lonely in and of itself. But, now I have two girls of my own who more than make up for it. My hubby is his mom's only, his dad's 4th (one half sibling already passed) it is hard facing life without his mom. He is blessed however in that she is almost 98!!!

  7. Awww, I have two siblings and I couldn't imagine life without them. But it's made you and your mom so much closer, but I can imagine not having anyone to share the mom and dad are getting old with. Glad that you have good friends by your side :)

  8. I'm an only child, too, and could have practically written this same post!

  9. It's so wonderful to be close to our parents. The thought of losing my parents saddens me. My dad just turned 70. My parents are both very active. They are moving out of the house I grew up in next month, which had got me thinking about the changing seasons of life. I enjoyed your post and found you at Cornerstone Confessions.

  10. Thanks for sending this to me...I was just getting ready to search for it.
    I loved reading this and it cracked me up you made up that story.
    I know deep down that everything in life has their pros and cons. I'm sure I'd be different if I had siblings, but yet one can't help but wish for the connection you see with others. Then again, my mom was never close with her siblings, so it's not a for sure.
    Even though I do have my mom, it's not a close bond like I wish. She's my mom, and I love her dearly. But she thinks so differently than I do about most things. I never like to talk behind her back, but I know she'll never read this. She raised me wonderfully, and is amazing. But I've never been close with her like I wish, and like you have with your mom.
    As for when she overwhelms me more than I care to admit that it will all rest on my shoulders. (of course, I'll miss her too, but i'm so embarrassed to say that I can't even think of that for the fact that I'll have to go through all her stuff. isn't that terrible?)
    You've brought up so many feelings with this post, Andrea. I tend not to think about it much, but still I wish for a sibling. Maybe that's why God brought my husband into my life. He's my partner in everything.


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