‘Temporary only child’

Having older siblings move out can be a big adjustment


Growing up, my house was full of people and conversation. When I was 13, my sister left for college in Michigan. Last year, my brother went to Purdue University. Going from being the youngest in a family of five to being the only child for 40 out of the 52 weeks in a year is a big change, but there is a reality check that come with becoming an only child.

The biggest change is how active our house is. My brother and sister were always coming and going to work or school at any given time. Now, I’m the only one who is always leaving at 6:30 in the morning and coming back at 7:00 at night. With my siblings away, I only talk to my parents, and even that  is rare because I am gone 12 hours a day and only speak to them at dinner for the most part.

As somebody who was always with my siblings, whether it was playing, doing chores or eating dinner together, there were always noises to be heard and conversations to be had.  Now that they have moved out, that aspect of the house is missing.

My brother and sister come home from college for a few days almost every other month, and somebody is always in the family room or the kitchen doing something. It is a little different though, because now the three of us are coming and going, and just having passing conversations on the way in and out of the house.

It’s not all bad though. My siblings and I fought a decent amount, as all siblings do, which came to an end when they went away. My relationship with my sister has gotten a lot better with this change. Instead of me getting pushed around as her younger brother who annoyed her all the time, when we don’t get to see each other as much and get on each other’s nerves less.

 My brother is a different case. We still fight and get on each other’s nerves like we used to, but it is a lot less often and college has made me actually want to have a conversation with him. Now I want to catch up with him and see what he’s up to. 

Having older siblings go to college and becoming a temporary only child is a double-edged sword. I miss having my siblings around to hangout with and talk to, but when they come home, there is lost time to make up for. Which overall strengthens our relationships with each other with every visit.