On Being The Only Child Of Two Only Children

While I sometimes wish I had more biological relationships, what I do have is entirely mine.

Most of the time I feel like I’m a unicorn.

I am the only child of two only children.

Naturally being an only child means no siblings and no nieces of nephews. Being the CHILD of an only child means no aunts, no uncles, and no cousins.

This unique situation means there are jokes I do not get, relationships I do not understand, and games I do not know how to play.

If I am honest with myself, sometimes it was, and is lonely. The older I have gotten, the lonelier it has gotten.

As time has passed, great-aunts and great-uncles have died; second- and third-cousins have grown further apart – usually the age difference made relationships difficult anyway.

But I do consider myself fortunate.

Marriage unites two families. So, after my dad died, my mom remarried. And I had siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, and much more.

However, divorce divides families. So, after my mom and stepdad divorced, most of those relationships changed. Very few of those relationships have survived the dynamic change, in fact.

Though my mother is the last of my immediate biological family, there is one terrific benefit: Other than my mother, all of the people who are close to me are there because they want to be.

I learned the phrases “blood is thicker than water” and “blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb” in their totality.

It reminds me of when, as kids, my friends and I would pretend to spit in our hands and shake hands imitating the way of old when people would cut their palms to bleed and shake hands to mix their blood. That phrase and the imagery it invokes speak to the relationships I have with my family.

My sisters were forged through the tests of life. They literally remind me who I am when I forget.

My aunts are the women I look up to. They tell me who I am in the first place; I am always learning something from them.

My brothers are the men I turn to for protection from a world that is harsh for a Black woman and the ones who remind me there is another side.

My nephews are the young men who tell me their woes and I try to lead them to a responsible and safe solution.

My nieces are the young women I try to impart wisdom onto, so they learn who they are as well.

I have not found uncles or cousins, I am still searching for those. I have not found a father either, though I am not sure I am ready to because my biological father was less than stellar.

And I think that is OK.

While I sometimes wish I had more biological relationships – relationships with people who share my blood and my specific history – what I do have is entirely mine.

I will not say my family is better than a biological family and I will not say a biological family is better than mine. I will say that my hodgepodge of a family provides love, comfort, care, encouragement, worth, warmth, and so much more because every day we choose to, we make it so.

And honestly, I think that is the best part about family – Good, Bad, Other; Biological, Chosen or Adoptive – it is what you make it.

And I’ve made mine beautiful.

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