Friday, January 30, 2015

The most important thing daddy cannot provide

The other day, the Little Girl just came out with it:

The most important thing daddy cannot provide

The other day, the Little Girl just came out with it:

“I wish I had a sister so bad.”

It hit me gut-deep. This wasn’t the first time she’d lamented the dearth of a sibling.

A late-life dad, I wasn’t able to have a lot of children. My world is filled with this single, precious girl. But I have a brother with whom I share memories and confidences – the kinds of things my daughter will never know.

I have met lots of only-children who grew up resenting their parents for not providing more company, a close-in companion in the long, tough journey of growing up.

Nothing can be done to remedy this now. That’s why I work hard to try to set up play dates, and to urge the Little Girl to find friends. “You can make another girl as close as a sister,” I say, but what do I know?

I tell my daughter that being the only one makes her special. “All the attention is yours,” I say, as I wrestle and tickle her. “It’s all for you.”

I’m sure there are advantages to that. But I have days when I chalk up my inability to provide a brother or sister to my kid as yet another parenting gaffe. And I foresee a quiet moment, when she is 19 or so, when she’ll say to me that not having a sibling was the greatest pain of her life.

It may be foolish to cringe at awkward, awful moments to come. But I see the Little Girl look wistfully at the bunk beds in the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue. And I know what she’s feeling, and I know what she’ll tell me – at 19, and 100 times before then.


Alfred Lubrano Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
A New York City native, Lubrano has written for newspapers since 1980. He's the author of a book, "Limbo: Blue-collar roots, white-collar dreams," and was a commentator for National Public Radio for 16 years. His work has appeared in various national magazines and anthologies. He lives with his daughter in South Jersey, and has worked for the Inquirer since 1995. Reach Alfred at

Alfred Lubrano Inquirer Columnist
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