The title “An Only Child,” creates diverse reactions in people. Some sarcastically think,
“Oh sure. Poor little rich girl, got everytbing she ever wanted.“
How far from the truth can one get? My dad taught high school and moonlighted as a coach. Money’s tightness reminds me of some teenager’s or Dolly Parton’s jeans.
Often items I wanted weren’t ever in our monthly budget. This proved the rule rather than the exception.
Other caustic comments are,
“But you got ALL your parents’ attention.”
That may be somewhat true. But Daddy worked long hours coaching and getting his master’s degree. I spent minimal time with him.
I spent a lot of time with my mother. She doted on me. I was her precious, loving, beautiful Barbie Doll. My most memorable moments happened during the lovely times when she read to me.
I love remembering mother teaching me to read by reading to me. She denied that she taught me to read. However, reading research proves that reading to children helps them learn to read. I discovered that when studying for my reading certification.
It worked for me. But Mother couldn’t be convinced She remained skeptical.
By contrast, I also like people. I realize their importance to my life. This seems like a dichotomy. But it is not. Being comfortable with yourself for long periods of time as well as liking to be with people are compatible.
Back to my wonderful mother. She made many clothes for me. An excellent prolific seamstress, while her husband worked, she filled those long hours sewing for her daughter. By itself, this isn’t bad. It created many good things:
Therapy for Mom.
A hobby for her.
She enjoyed sewing. I didn’t want expensive store clothing.
Mostly, I spent much time alone. Being alone, but never lonely, still caused an introspective nature. Writers spend much time by themselves writing. This alone time helped me prepare for the writer’s life.
Some kids whose mother sewed for them wouldn’t be caught dead in them. Not me. My pride showed when I wore those beautiful garments. Aside from clothing, she made household items.
She saved money by making all these items. That allowed me to attend church camp for a week every summer. Taking piano lessons, a luxury item, her thriftiness also made this possible.
Mother died in 1980. All these years later, I’m unable to let go of some items she made. While other clothes are bought and worn, I hang onto clothes mother made me. They’re of good quality, the construction’s excellent, they remain in good shape. I even wear them occasionally.
Since I prefer a classical style, the clothes can be worn a while. With so many dresses, blouses, skirts and pants, some haven’t been worn for years. Clothes hang in my closet, constantly reminding me of several things;
- That I don’t wear them.
- Mother’s love, devotion, clothing constructed for her only child.
- I have no idea why they remain.
Each time I purchase a new clothing article, my husband teases me by saying,
“What are you going to get rid of, if you get that?”
I make plans to clear my closet. Then the deed never gets done,
This haunts me. My emotions remind me of a whirlygig roller coaster. I’m sad, confused, mostly upset with myself for not making or getting done that crucial decision.
I set deadlines for myself. They arrive. The closet remains bulging.
Clost Consternation. Good name for the feeling it gives me.
That makes a REAL mess.
Judith Norris grew up an only child. Though she taught and regarded as special many children, she had no biological children of her own. She with husband have ‘adopted’ two girls as grandchildren from a Venezuelan-American couple. He has an only daughter from a previous marriage. He also raised a son. Their full lives together include church activities, he trades Forex, she writes and tutors private music and reading students.