Growing up an only child has benefits. The most obvious being, not having to share. However, when there's no other option, not having to share isn’t as glorious as it seems. Perfect example: Toy stores were annoying at times, because manufacturers would insult me time and time again, putting Rocksteady and Bebop together in the same impossible to open package. How dare you? Don’t you know I’m an only child? Don’t you know what it feels like for one kid to control the actions of both figures? My left arms always knows what my right arm is doing. I can only bang these figures together for so long, while trying to come up with different sound effects with each clash. Sure the toys were all mine, but what good was that?
Video games weren’t as fun alone either. Tecmo Bowl lost its luster without any human competition. Talking smack to a CPU who can’t talk trash back to you, is wack. And let’s not talk about Super Mario Bros. Remember, I grew up in a time when saving your place in a game didn’t exist. Video games back then had to be won by dedicating an entire day to it. Embracing such a task was dreadful alone. Thankfully, my friend would come over, but he was an only child as well. On our own, we were both used to being Mario. Naturally, arguing ensued over who would have to be Luigi, which was usually resolved how all matters were back then: Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Not having a brother meant having internal discussions all the time, asking myself is this a good idea, or should I do this or say this; exhausting stuff. Trust me. I wish I had a brother to say, Hey bro, that’s a crazy idea or I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Not having a brother meant peer affirmation and encouragement was often absent. Of course my parents did their part, but they had to. It’s kinda in the parental code of conduct. But I feel like a “good job” from a brother would be more sincere.
If I had a brother, I’d undoubtedly want him to be just like my son.
Watching my oldest son Aaren interact with his younger brother August is heartwarming. There are plenty of times when August annoys him to the ends of the earth, but there are other times, when they are inseparable. “Good job August, Auggie, Augusto” - can be heard multiple times throughout the day. Aaren protects him. He loves him genuinely. He hugs him. He takes him out of his toddler chair. He helps him out of bed. He reads to him and August actually listens - well most times. They play together as if they’re the same age, though they are 4 years apart.
I imagine things would be different if I had an Aaren in my life. But knowing that August does, is reason enough to smile.