Sunday, February 20, 2011


While growing up, I found that there are advantages to being an only child.  This is especially true when there is doting to be carried out because you are the only receiver of said doting.  And, for the first twelve years of my life I was doted on to the point of embarrassment.  Of course, there are down sides.  The obvious one being if someone broke the lamp, forgot to feed or water the dog or didn't take out the trash, there was very little detective work needed to identify the guilty party.  There is also the loneliness of being an only child.  When it's raining outside and everyone is stuck inside, you are stuck inside alone.  Well, your parents might be around but what fun are they?  Mine weren't really the type to be playing with their kid.  (Hubs and I are much cooler parents than ours were..shhhh.) My dad's only sister lived just across the street and down a couple of houses from us and she had four children- two girls and two boys.  The third child in my aunt's brood was my cousin Diane and there was but a mere six months difference in our ages and we played all the time.  I loved to go over to their house or have Diane over playing at my house.  When we all got together we would play football or softball; hide and seek or freeze tag; all the fun, active outside greatest games of all time!  They had a big family and it was FUN!  But, when the weather was bad or it was time to go inside for the evening, they got to go in together.  I had to go home alone.  I was always so jealous of my cousins and their big family.  Oh and, adding insult to injury, at lunch time during the summer?  They got to have Kool-Aid.  Oh yeah.  Even my best friend during those years (CM) had three younger brothers.  I thought that I was, perhaps, the only girl in America without siblings.  But, in the fall of 1970, all of that changed.

My parents had considered adopting a boy-- a brother for me, a son for themselves.  We had been through the countless interviews with DSS and, finally, our caseworker called and to tell my parents they had a boy for them to adopt.  I went to stay with CM while the parents went to meet the boy.  CM and I spent a good portion of that afternoon discussing brothers.  All I really knew was how to be a spoiled only child.  A role I not only took seriously, but also portrayed quite well (let's be honest- I relished it).  Even so, I was, actually, very excited that there would be someone around to spend time with when the other kids weren’t around.   Late that afternoon, my parents called to say they were on their way with my brothers.  Wait. What?  BrotherS?  I couldn't believe their words.  They were bringing home THREE brothers instead of one.  We had grown from a family of three to a family of six in only one afternoon.  

My brothers were three actual, biological brothers, ages 9, 10, and 11, in need of a home and our parents decided that we could give them just that.  Surprisingly, there didn’t seem to be much of an adjustment period…or maybe I just don’t remember.  I do remember that I went right up to each of them on that very first day and gave them great big hugs and it was like they had always been with me.  When I look back on my childhood, I can remember things I did before the boys came to live with us, but only spurts here and there and most of those memories involve my grandparents.  However, I have tons of memories with my brothers.  TONS!  And they are good memories.  When the neighborhood kids got together to play, my brothers and I joined in the fun. And, when it was time to go home?  My brothers and I went home together.  If something was broken, or forgot to feed or water the dog, or a chore remained undone—the parents had to play the guessing game or interrogate all four of us!  Rainy days?  No problem.  We played inside!  Together.  

Oh, and that thing about being a spoiled only child?  The only thing that changed there was my only child status.  My brothers swooped in and made the spoiled trait of mine worse than ever!  And protective?  Oh yes!  I never had to worry about anybody doing anything to me EVER.  By the same token, I was extremely protective of them as well.  I never cared what anyone said or did to me but, if they messed with one of my brothers?  Jump back Jack!  We had our fair share of fights disagreements but nothing that ever lasted very long.  Mostly, we just had a great time being a family.   

Through the years we’ve all gone in different directions…traveled our own paths.  One brother is still trying to find his place in this world though he never fails to keep in constant touch with us.  He’s the baby of the family but still calls me ‘baby girl.’  One is so busy being resentful of everything and everybody for whatever he decides they are guilty of that he keeps his distance—trust me, he’s really happiest when he can host pity parties and, from him, we have learned that misery does NOT love company.  One followed his path via the Navy but lives close now. He is still the one who tries to take care of all of us.  He’s the one who took our parents aside on that first day and told them that he would be fine but would they please take his little brothers (OMG, that is SO him—always thinking of everyone else).  He’s also the one who, when he found out Hubs and I were going to get married, took Hubs aside and gave him fair warning as to what would happen ‘if you ever hurt my sister.’  That protective mode?  Apparently, it NEVER ends.  But that’s just fine with me.   


  1. That was the best story. Bless your parents for taking them all. Love it!

  2. love this post! i have an older sibling but grew up very much the only child. my brother is six years older with lots of issues (too put it kindly). he was always out of the house as soon as he was old enough to ride his bike on his own. I've often lamented that I wish I had a real sibling.
    your parents sound like really great people. i hope your 'resentful' brother at least recognizes the gift he got in his adoptive family.
    i love reading your blog. you are such a great story teller!

  3. What a great praise of the bond of a blended family!

  4. What a moving piece, thanks for sharing your brothers story with us.

  5. Wonderful post. I was an only child for 14 years before my brother was adopted. I wish we were close, but I don't feel it. He is a very smart guy, but my parents never really encouraged him, they just over protected him. Since both parents have passed away, I think it is harder now. But that is another story. Anyway I really enjoyed your post today!

  6. I was the only child (adopted) and I felt the same way like you did. I found my biological brothers and sisters after many years and I feel empty now.

    Good writing! After many decades I sometimes think that if I had a childhood with my brothers and sisters, my life would have been different. I am still spoiled. Result of being a single child.

  7. Barb- Thank you! We had a blast!

    Momma- The angry brother, as many have said, is just not happy unless he's bitchin' about something. I could go on and on but I will spare you. Besides, you might already understand!

    Tractor- Thank you!

    Lindy- Thank you! And, you're welcome!

    Tote- it's never too late to get close! Or at least to try. We haven't completely given up on the angry brother...yet.

    Betty-I remember the youngest doing to us what your brother did to you! LOL

    Madama-I'm still spoiled myself--just ask my husband! LOL It's great that you found your bio sibs though! Are you still in touch with them?

    Thank you everyone for the kind comments!

  8. What a wonderful post. I agree with the other comments..bless your parents for taking these three boys into your family! I do not know if you read the post about my SIL, but she and my brother have adopted eight children and are raising her niece and nephew. All that after raising their own two children and are Grandparents of six!

    Brothers are a hoot! My brothers are identical twins. One is the good twin and the other ..well enough said!

  9. What a sweet story. Your parents were amazing to take in not one, but three boys! I loved reading this.

  10. What a great story and great way to grow up!

  11. I'm one of 7, 5 are adopted and they are all brothers and sisters to each other. Loved having 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Big families are the bomb.

  12. I love this story. Such a unique and great family. Everyone included. My sister is lots like your bother trying to find himself. He is who he is and so is my sister. One day maybe.
    Thank you for sharing them and your family. Love it.
    Take care and God Bless!!!

  13. What lovely memories, and what a charmed childhood you had :O)

  14. It all changed in one day, wow! There's something really special about that brother protectiveness. I'm glad you're still close to at least one of them.

    PS. I have one of those woe is me brothers too. :(

  15. What a sweet tribute--not only to your brothers, but to your parents. Going from 1 child to 4 couldn't have been easy.

    You made me miss my brother. He chooses to distance himself from the family. Even though we live in the same town, I've only seen him twice since we moved back here in 1994--and the last time was in 1997. I didn't even hear from him when my daughter died. It's sad and I miss him every day. Maybe one day...

  16. That is a really nice story, I am so glad your parents could adopt them, I wish more people were able to open their homes because there are so many children who need it!

  17. What a story! What an adjustment! :-) I suppose that's a little how our kids felt when we adopted two little boys, except that we had a week's notice.

    How things like this change life - forever!

  18. Shawn- I just love big families! And brothers!

    Eva- thanks so much!

    Brenda Susan- it was a whole lot of fun!

    Mrs.-Agreed, big families ARE the bomb!

    Julie- Thanks! Yes, they are who they are and we love them anyway!

    Jane- I don't know about charmed---I did leave stuff out. LOL

    blue- it is very special indeed! Sorry about the woe is me one---and there doesn't seem to be any way to help them with it.

    Beverly-That's heartbreaking. I'll keep y'all in my prayers...hoping for one day for you!

  19. What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. Wow, three instant brothers! How wonderful of you parents to take them as their own.

  20. Debby- Thank you! It was quite a ride and we loved it!

  21. I always admire people who adopt kids. Not babies, but kids. And especially families so that they don't get separated. Your parents are special people. And it is wonderful that you welcomed your new siblings with such a loving heart. It makes me want to reach through the computer and just give you a big squeeze.

  22. Robin-Thank you! Please keep me informed about your dad!

  23. You were lucky. I have 2 brothers. The younger one is OK. The older one I am quite sure was replaced by a pod decades ago. He is one cold, emotionless prick.

    Sorry to be such a downer. I'm blaming stress. Want to come stuff some bags?

  24. That must have been a huge change for you! I always wanted a big brother to watch over me like one of my best friends had. There was a time in high school where I would have gladly settled for her brother, but by then I wasn't thinking "sibling" of the ever handsome and popular brother she had. I had a BIG crush and he thought of me like a little sister. Oh, well. He even took me to a school dance and ALL the other girls were really impressed.

    Brothers can be pretty neat. I'm from an all girl family and I'm raising all girls. There are no brothers in sight!My poor hubby is outnumbered by chicks! Well, five of our horses are guys :)

  25. Michele- I would gladly help you stuff bags!

    Patrice-It was a huge change, but one I loved. Hubs is outnumbered in our house...well, he was when the girls were coming along. Now, I'm outnumbered- Tucker is a boy! LOL

  26. What a great story :)

    last couple of lines made me cry..i don't know why..i'm one of 3 girls haha


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