Growing up an only child, I was very naive about family dynamics. My only real role models for sibling interaction came from my mother and her brother and two sisters. As adults they got along famously, always enjoying being together once or twice a year and filling the house with laughter. So, I based my view of sibling interactions on them and firmly believed that all brothers and sisters loved each other and were connected in a special way that gave them a “forever” bond. Very naive, I now know.
What I didn’t realize then, is that my mom and her siblings must have had challenges/rivalries/jealousies as children that they worked through in order to build a healthy relationship as adults. My grandparents must have resolved those situations in such a way that they had positive outcomes. Unfortunately, over the years I have witnessed many families whose children actually dislike each other so much that they maintain minimal contact and can be civil to each other for the smallest amounts of time as adults. This seems to be more of the norm than siblings who are close to each other. I now recognize that there are many dynamics within a family that can cause ill will and permanent scars that tear them apart. How incredibly sad this is.
As an only child, I had loving parents who doted on me and we had a close family unit. This was the wonderful bubble I lived in. Still, I always wished I had a sibling growing up; somebody to share secrets with and laugh with. I felt I was missing out on something special. Now, I am not so sure.