Friday, August 7, 2009


I am an only child. I have six brothers. Both statements are true. They're not related to me by blood, but damn anyone who says they're not mine. We actively choose each other, every day of our life. We love fiercely, unconditionally, constantly. We're each others best friends, confidantes, and teammates. Friends by chance but siblings by choice.

Tonight, we celebrate a birthday of the one born August 7. Tomorrow, we go to the 17th annual photoshoot. We all have an album with pictures of all 7 of us, taken every August. It started the year before we went to kindergarten, and has continued since. All of us, in one picture, every year. We've grown up together, and its in pictures for our children to see one day.


It started when we were babies. Its been a 22 year love affair. Except instead of 2, there are 7. We were babies, and our moms were Catholic. There was a mommy and me social at the church, and that's where we met, before we could even talk to each other.

The years flew by, and we were dragged to the same church events, community events and playdates. We went to the same elementary school. By then, we were already causing trouble together, from behind cheeky 5 year old grins. We survived scraped knees, falls from bikes, puberty and all the fun elementary school had to offer. Barriers were knocked down before they were put up. We don't need permission to stay at anyone's house, and we walk in without ringing the bell...because we've never had to. As a joke, one of the dads started calling us The Seven. There are 7 of us, and we're all born on the 7th of a month, from February to September of the same year.

We grew older still, and high school rolled around. We got the same speech from everyone; that friendships would change, and maybe things wouldn't be the same.
We didn't have the same classes all day anymore, but nothing changed. We were still loyal. Protectively loyal. Fiercely so. We survived calculus, broken bones, broken hearts and car accidents. Then we lost one of the seven. It shook everyone to their core, but not our relationships. We survived. Then we graduated.

We got the same speech, about how post secondary will change things. This time, we were scared. There was going to be real physical distance. We may not see each other for a month at a time. Would we lose each other? The first Thanksgiving, we were together within 5 minutes of getting home and nothing had changed. Worry gone. We were still us. We survived long distance relationships, dorm rooms, apartments, learning to live alone, and failed grades. We're still us four years later.

We're us because we choose to be us. We're not connected by DNA, or family ties, or anything legal. We don't have any reason but we don't need one. Unconditional love just is, without a why. We have our differences. We argue and fight and get mad. We're not perfect. But we'd be there for each other, any time, anywhere, no matter what. And that feels pretty sibling-real to me.

When people ask me if being an only child is lonely, I smile, and say I don't know. I carved out a family for myself, and they're mine, DNA or not.


Marla said...

Great post.

You've very lucky to have such great friends. I've always thought that boys make better best friends than girls. They are so much more loyal.

The Grown Up Teenager said...

Haha, yeah. I am really lucky to have them around. My mom jokes that while some people are lucky to find true love once in a lifetime, I've already had 6.

Boys are great friends. Loyal, protective, and honest. I've had a lot more trouble with girls being backstabbers than I ever have with guys.

Issas Crazy World said...

This is so cool. I had six. Friends who were/are like siblings. I've known them forever and through college, marriages, kids, law school whatever, it hasn't changed that.

We lost one too. 10 years ago. It only made us stronger friends, which I wouldn't have thought possible.

The Grown Up Teenager said...

Stronger is right. You'd expect it to rip you apart, but the people you turn to are the ones who get it.

I'm pretty confident that we're going to be just fine, through marriage and kids. We've been fine through a heck of a lot. The happy events shouldn't shake us.

Glad there's someone else that knows what its like. I've had people who don't get it go, But they're just friends. What's the big deal?

Those are the people I feel sad for.