My parents never pushed me to do anything. They never 'expected' me to score in subjects, they never wanted me to be the 'class-topper' and more importantly, they never wanted me to become what THEY wanted to become. They never thrust their ideas or opinions on to me, never even wanted me to 'compete' with other kids of my generation.
Some people might say I was pampered and given a lot of attention. Some might say I was brought up with a lack of focus or dedication. I would like to believe that I, on the other hand, had the privilege to develop the most individualistic and opinionated mind ever. I was not born into a family of aristocrats or ancestral-affluence. Although part of my folks might brag about this 'ancestral-affluence-that-didst-us-great-good-and-respect-in-society-nonsense', I do not like to get to the nitty-gritties of it, unless I know someone who knows about what I am talking out here.
Anyway, let me tell you the pangs and perks of being an only-child.
A desperate, attention-seeking, pampered, eternally fancied, never-sharing, sibling-less existence, filled with happiness is what many people might have imagined my life to be. Contrary to popular belief, I was brought up with a lot of love, I do not know what fights mean, I do not like to hold grudges and I forget an adult- fight two minutes after it gets over, which, by the way is advantageous, because, I never come across as egoistic. Also, I can never be. I have never cloned a sister or a brother, never looked at anyone as a role model, nor have I been through the stage of 'comparison', that usually ends up marring a relationship. And no, I was never compared to my cousins who were much better than me academically and otherwise.
Nobody taught me to write, nobody expected me to express my feelings and nobody ever told me I would earn an extra twenty grand, had I become an engineer. That just goes to show my upbringing and my parents' mindsets. Open and happy. Free-flowing and funny. Loving and capricious. I love them. My dad is an engineer and my mom, an entrepreneur. A simple, small family with substantial standards of living and an outlook far greater than any opulent man's Swiss Bank account. They let me do what I want. They let me study what I wanted and they let me explore my strengths and weaknesses. They were proud of me although I never accomplished anything and egged me on when even I did not know I needed it.
But what others still do not know is that, even as I have not taken care of a sibling, I have always learnt to take care of myself. I am independent and strong. I make mistakes and learn from them. I do not need the advise of an elder sibling on how I have fared in my math paper, I am not accountable to anyone, except myself. I get hurt when someone makes a rude remark. I cry, not for attention, but because I get hurt thinking how someone can use their sharp tongue to slay words at a person, arbitrarily. I also, do not have to share clothes or shoes, or even a room, I have my privacy. I completely agree to what you are thinking.
There are pangs.
And a lot at that. I have never enjoyed the company of someone, elder or younger, whenever I have been alone. I had the company of my wonderful grandfather and after he was gone, the company of books and nothing else. I do not know how to answer back. I do not know how to contain my emotions and I also do not hurt someone, physically or emotionally. I feel weird when someone fights and I don't know how to react when someone argues, because I am just not used to it. I do not cheat in a game and it is okay even if I lose a game, because come on, it is just a friggin' game and it really doesn't matter if you compare me with someone. I just don't care, because it doesn't affect me. I don't enter a house and say 'the remote is mine' or 'I am using the bathroom first' or 'DIBBS on that! I need it', because it doesn't matter again. These things are so petty, it sometimes breaks relationships. It doesn't lead you anywhere. And anyway, what if you wait for two more minutes for your buddy to get out of the loo?
I may come across as a pampered brat, but the feeling of emptiness I get when someone raises an eyebrow and says 'wow, so your parents are doting, aren't they?', is so inexplicable, it brings tears. At least, my parents shower love. They do not have a choice to be biased. I am happy.