Dozens of Maltese people who grew up being the ‘only child’ recently shared their experiences growing up on a post in The Salott. The posts were both very interesting as it was touching, and while experiences varied from one person (and generation) to another, here are seven highlights.
1. “You don’t miss something you never had.”
This is the initial reaction that one might expect. The author of this comment recounted how she never really wanted brothers or sisters because she couldn’t really understand what she was missing, and her mother and father more than made up for a lack of siblings.
“Funnily enough, now that I have my son, I sometimes wish I had siblings; I’m a bit selfish sometimes when it comes to sharing, especially chocolates, but I grew up OK.”
“Now that my parents are both dead, the saddest bit is not having anyone to share the memories with.”
2. “My cousins are practically my siblings anyway.”
A lot of people who grew up as an only child in Malta said they didn’t really feel lonely thanks to the close relationship they had with their cousins. “I did wish I had brothers and sisters at a point, even though when I was young I used to play with my cousins all the time,” said one person.
Childhood friends were also mentioned as having greatly helped the people who grew up without brothers or sisters. It turns out that close cousins really are found in every Maltese family.
3. “The saddest bit is not having anyone to share the memories with…”
In one of the most frank (and heartbreaking) comments, a person opened up about how the slight sadness he felt when he was young became much more pronounced as he grew up.
“I am an only son and I remember being sad about it as a kid. Now that my parents are both dead, the saddest bit is not having anyone to share the memories with.”
In a uplifting moment, however, one person replied “I didn’t know… you felt like that. If you want a sister, you can adopt me.”
4. “I’m quite a solitary person… I had a good childhood.”
Of course, being alone absolutely doesn’t mean you’re lonely. One person made this point very clear with her story of how she grew up to be someone who doesn’t like being part of large groups and appreciates the quiet down-time she was offered throughout her life.
“It’s only now that my parents passed away that I sometimes wish for siblings,” she said, echoing other people’s experiences.
5. “It can be lonely being the sole responsible person in family affairs.”
One of the hardest things about being an only child is that certain things can’t be delegated to siblings, an issue that tends to crops up later in life.
“I never had a problem being an only child when I was young,” one person started, but “now that I’ve grown up, it would be nice to have the support of siblings, as it can be lonely being the sole responsible person in family affairs.”
6. “I ‘adopted’ my friends’ children as my nephews and nieces…I’m scared of the future.”
One person who always wanted siblings but grew up as an old child expressed her anxiety for the coming years. “I used to have many imaginary friends playing with me instead of brothers and sisters, and today it affects me because I cannot be an aunt…”
However, she’s found the ultimate solution. “I ‘adopted’ my friend’s children as my nephews and nieces.”
7. “Once you give your child your time, having a sibling doesn’t really matter.”
A mother of a teenage girl explained she made it a point to not only be the child’s mother, but a sibling too. “I stopped working when she was born and only work during her school hours,” she said. “In my opinion, once you give your child your time, [them] having a sibling doesn’t really matter,”
“Mind you, she has a lot of friends, but she loves having me all for herself and having my undivided attention,” she concluded.