This blog is for only children, parents of only children, writers (only children or not) and other creative people. I write about the topic (including short excerpts from the memoir I’m writing – working title You Can Go Home, related information I’ve culled in my research; other times just something creative, maybe something humorous, and yes, I will rant – sometimes. And I want your comments – honest, humorous, but hold the nasty comments.
Being an only child today is common. Forums and statistics attest to this. And elderly parents? What’s elderly?. We are zoomers now – from age 45. Women are waiting to have children because they want to make their career first before they make their babies. Or they are getting married later, often after first living with their lover for several years. Sometimes getting pregnant is the trigger to get married. And the result is often their only child.
My Only Story:
Back in the gray ages when right was right and wrong was wrong, I grew up as an only child of “elderly” parents – Mom was 41 and Dad 49 when I was born. Dad, with going-to-white hair often got called “Sharon’s grandfather.” My relationship with my family – mother, father, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins – and those certain others you call friends or foes – stumbled through shy, eager-to-please, angry, rebellious, close, and distant. Dad protected me like a princess, locking me in the basement when my best friend, The Bully, and her posse chased me. Mom paid me 25c to rat on The Bully’s wrongdoings. At school I also collided with The Nun who whacked me on the face when I mixed up x’s and axes (in an exercise book). There was also the Catechism, the domineering pastor priest, the confessional, and the other intricacies of being Catholic before flower power and doing-your-own thing emerged. In the summer of my ninth year, Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. X-rays don’t lie, but my mother did. She told me Dad had TB. I believed her until The Bully, enlightened me. Dad’s long illness and death ripped apart the supposed security of my nuclear family and ushered in my new best friend – Abandonment. The smart little bungalow we called home couldn’t shelter me from the even ricketier ride to follow.
It’s affected me way up to now in my “zoomer” years and I don’t doubt but it will continue. It took me years to feel confident as a parent. I panic first and think later with sudden house repairs and computer snafus. Often I feel overwhelmed with too much to do and wish for a non-existent life partner to materialize. I treasure my good supportive friends and my son and have conquered my shyness with public speaking and teaching and now acting – comedy skits featuring my Beyond mystery series main character, Dana Bowman (who is not an only child – she has a fraternal twin brother – both are private investigators). So, most of all, I write – since the age of 11. I take the serendipity and the shit that are shovelled my way and go inside, deep, and churn and turn it into something creative. I am writing a memoir about it – deconstructing my child, teen and early “adult” years and reconstructing my ongoing aftermath – the struggles, the successes, the surprising synchronicities and the lessons I’ve learned. I am not who I once was but I am still me – the only “child” of elderly parents. And I seem to be perpetuating this “onlyness” for I, too, have an “only child” now an adult in his late 30s. But I made damn sure I got pregnant before I reached 30.
It is now 40-something years later. And I’m still living and learning. Sometimes the latter is hard and sometimes it leads to shall we say interesting things.