Living As (Sort Of) An Only Child


Lauren Johnson sits with her dog, who is like her sibling. Her two brothers don’t live at home anymore so sometimes she feels like an only child. Photo Credit / Sam Seigal

“I’m a little more shy than I would like to be, I’ve always been around adults, I’ve been told I’m a little mature for my age and I think that’s probably why, but if I had them [my brothers] around it would have been easier to make friends, and just be around people,” said Freshman Lauren Johnson.
Lauren Johnson is a 14 year old freshman at Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo. She has played softball since the age of seven, enjoys peanut butter & bologna sandwiches, and has been the only child in her home since the age of four.
“It’s really lonely, it’s hard because I know they’re there [my brothers] but I don’t get to talk to them as much as I’d like to,” said Johnson.
Lauren has two brothers, Lee (28) an art student currently living in London and Luke (26) a musician who has been on the road for much of Lauren’s life.
 “It’s weird, I kinda get to know him [Lee] through his art. He sends us things, pictures, and nothing more than that, it’s weird to think that I don’t really know my own brothers. Last time I saw Lee was when I was nine,” Said Johnson.
 Lee had plans to come home for Christmas this year but changed plans to spend time with his girlfriend in London.
“I was really bitter about it,” Johnson continued. “I just want to, you know, tell him about how I feel, but I only get the opportunity every three months,”
Lauren’s other brother Luke, the musician, travels the country via a rather unconventional method of travel, train hopping.
“Luke plays music, different bands, different people, it changes a lot. He’s actually home right now because he struggled with alcohol and couldn’t get sober. He used to illegally hop trains, which is pretty stupid, California, New Orleans, the only way I knew is pictures his friends posted on Facebook,” Johnson relented.
Essentially Lauren is an only child, alongside 18 percent of American families. Without the influence of her brothers on her life; she spends most of her time with her parents.
“I always rely on my mom to talk to and I guess the loneliness part comes from that, there’s things I can’t tell my mom and I don’t really have anyone else to talk to and relate to,” said Johnson.
 So far, Lauren has been enjoying high school and feels like it’s a better environment for someone like her.
“Middle school was hard, its like the same people, too much drama I didn’t want to be in, and no one was really like me I guess,” Johnson went on. “Different music, different books, it was just hard to make conversation you know?”