An Only Child With Siblings

When people ask me if I have siblings, I always hesitate. I typically will say, "I'm my mother's only child."

From my earliest memory, I've always wanted a sibling. An older sibling. Such a thing to wish as how would I ever get one? People would often ask the younger me if I wanted my mom to have another child so I could have a little brother or sister. That thought was terrifying to me. Me? Be responsible for someone else? Be some sort of role model/mentor/caretaker person to a little human? Absolutely not.

I have always had older friends, always run with an older crowd. I always liked having someone older to help me figure things out and I've also always been mature for my age. I never related well with folks significantly younger than me. I play "little sister" VERY WELL.

When I was 14, however, I got my wish. As we did every year, my mom and I went to AL to visit family for Thanksgiving. Somehow, that year, I ended up spending a lot of time with one of my older cousins and her daughter (who is about 2 or 3 years younger than me). This cousin had a sister named Lisa, and so when she kept mentioning that later in the day we would be going to Lisa's house, I didn't think anything of it. Her sister had moved, having recently gotten married, and I was excited to see her new home.

Later that night we pulled up outside of a nice house and as we got out of the car, my cousin hesitated. She turned around to face me in the back seat and said, "Ashley. I never thought about how this might make you feel. You're ok with us being here, right?" I was confused. Why in the world wouldn't I be ok with it, I thought. She read my mind and jumped out of the car, pulling the front driver's seat forward so she could see me. Her eyes got big and she said "you don't know where we are, do you?" Then I was DEFINITELY confused. Hadn't she told me we were going to Lisa's house? Reading my mind again she filled in the blanks - "Ashley, this is your sister's house..."

There are levels of confusion. I know this because at this point I was on the most extreme level. What sister? How did I have a sister? I'd been with my mom 14 years and seen no other child show up with her.

My cousin led me into the house and we walked towards the back and downstairs into a finished basement/den. There sat a woman about my cousin's age, who looked just like me. Next to her was a woman with a lighter complexion and smaller frame but who resembled the woman who looked like she was me 15 years in the future. Turns out they were both my sisters and that they knew all about me. They knew things like what kind of grades I made, what grade I was in. Lisa -- my sister -- had just given birth to her daughter and she already had a son (who had the same name as my cousin Lisa's oldest son... she also almost chose the same name for her daughter as my cousin's daughter... too much).

I sat with them for over two hours dumbfounded. How had I had what I wanted for all this time and no one told me? I wish I could say we went on to have really tight relationships but we didn't. After the end of that year, I lost touch with one and I haven't spoken to the other in 4 years.

I've mentioned on several occasions that my life is nothing if not a series of motifs.

This past Thanksgiving, as I sat down for dinner with my family, one of my cousins' (by marriage) sisters and niece walked into the banquet hall to join us for dinner. Another one of my cousins later told me she heard that the niece was also my sister. My mother later confirmed it...

Clearly my father has ensured the human race will never die out...

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