Last night Chris and I were talking in bed before we fell asleep. I don't remember what we were talking about, but at some point Chris said "ah ah ahh" in a finger waggling sort of way. I then said that we should watch Jurassic Park the next day and he totally didn't understand where I had made the mental connection between the two. I told him to ask Kylie, that she'd be sure to get it. He wouldn't take this for an answer, so I explained to him that when the evil computer guy shut everyone out of the computers on Jurassic Park, his digital visage kept repeating "ah ah ahh, you didn't say the magic word". He went on to say that he'd only seen Jurassic Park once or twice, that it wasn't such a big deal to him. Stay with me here, this is not a post about breaking up with Chris because he doesn't appreciate Jurassic Park. I told him that not only did I see Jurassic Park about 8,00 times, but Kylie and I used to play Jurassic Park all the time. With our stuffed animals, with our JP action figures, with our Barbies, and also just with us pretending there were dinosaurs around. Didn't he do those sorts of things?
Then I realized that no, he probably hadn't. You see, Chris is an only child. So he didn't spend every waking moment playing Jurassic Park, or any other game, with his sister. It was at that moment that it hit me how very lucky I was to grow up with Kylie. That's not to say that I didn't appreciate Kylie all this time. I have, and I have written blog entries to that effect before. But I never really thought about what it would be like to grow up as an only child. I mean, I am sure that Chris had fun times as a child. And I'm sure that he had friends with whom he played. But he didn't have a live-in best friend to share his life. That's devastating to me. I seriously couldn't sleep, you can ask Chris. I just kept thinking up things that he didn't experience.
He never had sleepovers in his sister's room. He never got put in time out with his sister for fighting, only to use the time to invent a language by tapping on the dining room table so that he could communicate with her even though they were banned from speaking to each other. He never spent summer days in his pajamas eating chips and dip and chocolate pudding while watching terrible movies. He was never forced to play Barbies with his sister even though he was seventeen years old and entirely uninterested in doing so (except that he really did want to play and was glad for the excuse to still play but act like he hated doing it). He doesn't have roughly a million in-jokes that no-one else will ever understand. I just never ever thought about it this way. He never had hundreds of other experiences that I have had, and it is almost too painful to think about.
I think I was starting to make him a little angry last night when I kept coming up with all these fun things on which he missed out. But I wasn't trying to pick apart his childhood, I was just genuinely appalled. He has always said that he doesn't understand sibling devotion. He doesn't understand why I or any of our friends put up with the dumb things our sibling do sometimes. He maintains that if he did have a sibling, he would judge him or her just like he does anyone else and wouldn't put up with his or her crap just because they were related. But I don't think he is able to make that sort of judgment, having never actually experienced the bond. I don't think he can ever truly understand, and that's really sad.
This has also made me think about something else - I have always said that if I do, by some strange twist of fate, end up procreating, that I would only ever have one child. But now I am not so sure. Could I live with myself if I prevented my own child from experiencing these things? I don't know that I could.
This revelation has opened up so many other trains of thought. But in short, I can't stop thinking about how sad I am for Chris and how lucky I was to have been given Kylie as a sister. Thanks, Kylie. <3