Remember when you used to hate your siblings? Loathe their existence to a point of contempt? Remember when you used to want to punch them in the gut and watch with glee as they doubled over in pain?
Their presence was an affront to your very being, and at your lowest moments you cursed whatever God there was that you weren't born an only child.
Yet whether you like them or not, you grew up alongside these people, and for the rest of your life, they'll continue to be a presence in it. Whether you get along or still fight like dogs, they are always going to be there. Because like your pinky toes, your foot would just look weird without them.
And even if you hate their guts, you'll always have them to thank for the fact that you're not an only child.
Because unlike only children, you gained some invaluable lessons from them that will help you throughout life. Unlike those who grew up prisoners in solitary confinement, you had a cellmate, someone to teach you things and help build your skills.
Of course, this is not meant to scorn only children. Those poor souls didn't have a choice over the reproductive decisions of their parents, but now they are experiencing the negative side effects of never growing up alongside those pesky, troubling and downright annoying siblings.
Unlike you, they didn't have anyone to teach them how to fight. They didn't have someone to get into trouble with, or to steal the remote from.
They didn't have someone to show them what Pokémon cards were, or to use the second controller with in Xbox. They didn't have someone to seek while they hid, or run while they tagged.
They didn't learn all those lessons you learned growing up. Because imagine if that person who was always there sharing, tattling and and getting in trouble with you suddenly wasn't there? What if it was just you and the organized lessons your parents designed for you?
What about all those "street" lessons you learned when you were tearing it up with your siblings in the backyard? Because as much as we sometimes wished for their magical disappearance, we learned a hell of a lot from our siblings.
How to share the blame
There's no greater lesson than: "Deny until you die." Learning to take and give the blame made you
The advantage, and necessity, of allies
You make sure you always have someone in your corner, especially when you're dealing with much more powerful (and older) authority figures.
How to share... whether you liked it or not
Learning to "take turns" is a concept that applies to more adult situations than you can imagine.
The art of competition
You didn’t grow up thinking you’re absolutely the best and now, luckily for you and everyone else, you're not a huge assh*le.
To push the boundaries
You weren't just fighting for a later curfew and more driving privileges for yourself. A small step for you was a huge lead for them.
How to cover for someone
You learned the consequences of lying for someone else and realized they are the only people it's ever worth doing it for... ever.
To be proud of someone else's achievements
It wasn't just all about you and your proudest moments; you also learned how to feel joy for others and live through someone else for a moment.
How to go on family vacations without a friend
You know how to be in situations with people you'd rather be in separate corners from.
The art of back-up
If you forget to buy a card, you can ask them to sign your name... only children will never have that.
How to make the best of things
You quickly learned that life consists of doing a lot of sh*t you don't want to do.
How to come in second
That rejection (even if it's only for a moment) helps you cope with those life-long feelings of inadequacy.
That life isn't fair
"You can't always get what you want," isn't something you had to pick up from a song.
How to suck it up
In life, people are going to do you worse than eat your cookie or change the channel when your favorite show comes on. Luckily for you, you already know how to deal with moving past it.
How to share the spotlight
If life is a stage, you know sometimes you don't get the lead role, or the favorite one.
How to interact with different age groups
Whether you were that baller hanging out with older kids or the cool older sibling showing the younger ones how it's done, you quickly learned the dynamics of age gaps.
How to be close with someone
Even if they weren't your age or your gender, not only did you learn how to get along, but how to trust someone you don't always like.
How to throw a punch
Only someone with siblings knows how to fight. What else were all those years of hair pulling and games of Mercy for?
How to accept that some people love differently
You learn that love comes in many forms... sometimes screaming car fights.
How not to talk to your parents
You watch their mistakes, their bad words and their attitude and you see what lines just can't be crossed.
How to calmly deal with people who piss you off
All those times your mom was going to pull the car over taught you how to hold in rage.
How to find your own identity
Unlike with only children, you're forced to find something that makes you unique, something that will validate you more than just child #2.
How to share a bed
This is important. You went on enough family vacations and spent enough stormy nights thrown into a twin bed that when it comes to sharing a blanket, you deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.
How to defend someone
Your siblings are the first people you are going to defend in your life. Whether it's on the playground, in front of your mom or to your friend who is talking smack, you learn what it means to protect someone you love.