My daughter is one of the many single children around. She was a surprise child for me at 40 and I couldn’t imagine a better thing to happen to me!
My daughter would LOVE a sibling (and I would love her to have a sibling) but at my age (now 45) it is not an option. I was so lucky to have her and for some reason life planned for me just to have her.
So, to deal with the fact she had no sibling she decided she would find her own brother. She didn’t have to look far for him – just brought her imagination to life and there he was. Alex started at 4 but quickly became 8 (glad real life doesn’t go that fast) and there he was – part of our life.
Now I was happy to go along with having two children. Let’s face it, an imaginary son is cheap to keep, doesn’t make a real mess and doesn’t talk back (well not that I can hear anyway). However, I was soon to find there were many challenges with having Alex come into our lives.
Alex was there 24/7 but the problem was I didn’t know exactly where “there” was. I was constantly being told off for sitting on Alex when I went to cuddle my daughter, for leaving him behind when we hopped in the car to go to preschool and for letting him fall from a climbing frame at the park. This Alex was making me feel like a neglectful mum.
There were also the times when I had to talk to Alex while out in public and pretend to hold his hand. My daughter wouldn’t accept me pretending to quickly whisper and then move on. Oh no I had to audibly discipline Alex in public, ask him what sort of drink he wanted while standing in a line to order and pick him up to put him in the shopping trolley. I do believe I was on many people’s list for help from the mental health services and possibly they thought Zara was not in the best hands.
Why did I play along with this game (and yes I asked myself this many times)? Two reasons came to mind – (1) because it gave my daughter so much joy and (2) my own guilt at not being able to give her the sibling she craves.
I know Alex will never replace a real sibling (just like the cat we got her who we now know doesn’t actually like people much didn’t) but for now we have fun together – just the three of us!
Posted by gillmanfergus, 1st April 2014