SOCIAL MEDIA

10 December 2013

What is My Big Family Really Like?

Big here means 2 parents, 6 daughters, 1 son, and 1 son-in-law. Because that's what I know. There are many sizes of families, both much larger and somewhat smaller, but this is mine.






We've developed a family language that no outsider fully understands. We speak English at home, with random exclamations, comments, and commands in Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, and Bahasa Malaysia. Nicknames abound. When we say Attack Chihuahua everyone knows who we're talking about.

We're able to come up with a good crowd for a game of hide-n-seek in the dark, baseball, or Outburst, without having to outsource.

Lots of siblings means a few more birthday parties and running out of food in the fridge and on the dinner table more often than usual. (Actually, I don't know. How often do you run out of food?)

There might not be enough chairs in front of the television for movie night, but if you drag a couple pillows out from the bedroom and scatter them on the floor, everyone can get comfortable. There aren't a lot of cars, or even a lot of dining room tables that can fit our whole family at once, but we can always make do with what we have available at the moment.

You're not really alone, almost never. I always shared a bedroom, sometimes a bed, with my sisters.

Once there's already so many, a few extra family members are easily, almost without effort, adopted. Mom calls Angel her "son", and considers people that are his age the same age as her children. You can count on finding extra people in my parents' home nearly every day. My own or my siblings' friends...toddlers or infants being cared for while their parents work...many others who simply consider our home a 2nd 'home' of their own.

In my family, by the time you're 16 you know how to care for an infant and get a dinner for ten on the table--while washing dishes and keeping up on laundry at the same time: a priceless skill. Probably the reason that I find being the mistress of my own home an easy job.

The 1st grader might think she's a teenager like the rest of her siblings and talks about her plans for college and asks for permission to go out for coffee with her friends.

We fight. Sometimes, siblings take sides against each other. In an ideal world, that wouldn't happen, but it does. You don't have 7 individuals with feisty personalities and strong opinions without a tiff every so often. Keeps things interesting. When everything's on the line, though, I know I have 6 allies who will be there for me through better and worse.

We have an in-family expert in nearly everything: mechanical engineer, Bible teacher, electrician, computer guy, singer, editor, baby-care expert, house-cleaner extraordinaire, nurse, baker, actress, photographer, cosmetologist, fashion-advice-giver, comedian, etc. You need it, we have it.

We always count to make sure no one is left behind when we go somewhere. Once Mom started driving away while I was putting away the grocery cart in the cart rack. It happens.

We have always had bunk beds and clothes that are shared and handed down from one to another. The idea of private ownership often gives way to a more communal concept of ownership; which can either be a good thing or a bad thing...

We're not the kind of big family with a custom-sized house and vehicles and large quanitites of furniture and oversized appliances. We're not nearly that numerous! My family lives in a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1000 sq. foot apartment that feels much larger now that only 6 people live there, but at one point all 9 of us lived in it. For a very short time, we had a 15 passenger van, and that was great because of the extra room for friends and luggage, but since they moved to Malaysia, my parents drive a minivan-ish type vehicle. For the last 10 years they've cooked dinners on a 2-burner camp stove--and believe me, you can do a lot with two burners!

Honestly, our big family doesn't feel big when you're in it. I don't look see pictures of my family and think, "My goodness, that's an unusually large number of children." I simply see my sisters and my brother, my mom and dad. We're a bunch of people who are related both by blood and by love, not a statistic.

And to answer questions I've received over the years: yes, we each took an appropriate number of baths, and yes, I feel that we got the parental attention we needed to grow up to be useful members of society. Yes, we all belong to both parents (it's rather obvious if you look at our faces). No, I never felt like running away or killing myself--that seems like an excessively dramatic response to being the oldest of 7 kids. Do you have any questions you'd like to ask?

33 comments :

  1. 1000 sq feet for nine people? I'd die. Do they hit you up for free haircuts? :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think this is lovely! I don't come from a big family but I have friends who did and it was always so much fun at their house! Sure, the house was a little crazy and their Mum was FOREVER cleaning because there was so many of them but, they were all super happy! Plus they all shared friends so there was an awesome community surrounding their house all the time... it was just so nice!

    ReplyDelete
  3. whenever you post pictures of your mom, she just looks like the most warm and loving person ever. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I too have a semi-large family...my mom has 3 siblings with 2 kids each and my dad has 4 older sisters with many kids and grandkids each. I think all family has their quirks, but we all accept it because, as a family member, it's our job.
    thanks for visiting twirl!
    xoxo
    Hannah
    www.thetwirlteam.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I couldn't imagine.. My family was super small. I was the only child.

    ReplyDelete
  6. a big family sounds like so much fun! i'm an only child in a small family so i love hearing how different your family life is like.

    cute & little

    ReplyDelete
  7. your family sounds so fun! I just have one sister who is 8 years older so we kinda grew up separately. I always wondered what it would be like to have a bigger family - yours sounds like a blast!
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love the idea of having a big family. If my husband and I can support it, I want lots of kids. I had all my cousins around growing up so it felt like I had a lot of siblings.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love these family details, I bet there is never a dull moment :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. looks so awesome and fun and snugly. :P

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a great post! Thanks for sharing =) I laughed about counting everyone before you leave but I would imagine it would be easy to miss somebody!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love this! I think it would have been fun to be part of a big family. Mine is just me and my sister and my parents. Where I grew up, we only had 2 cousins in the area, and the oldest is 4 years younger than me. All in all we have a pretty small family in general...my dad only had one sister and she never had kids, and my mom's two brothers only have 6 kids between the two of them. Between my 6 cousins and my sister, we only have 1 more "kid" in the family than your immediate siblings. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. i'm absolutely jealous of your large family right now. i have two lovely siblings, but i wish i had 7- and i have 2 sweet cousins, but i'd do anything for another 10 or so. hopefully i have a large family of my own one day :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. That sounds like so much fun. Thx for sharing Rachel.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This post is full of all kinds of warm fuzzies. First off, you have a gorgeous family! Love how you all look alike. The counting before you leave comment reminds me of Home Alone. Glad you guys figured that out. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. your family sounds awesome! I'm part of a large family as well (there's about 50 of us when aunts/cousins/grandparents/etc get together... always growing) and I love it!

    xoxo, Amy @ Interpret As You May

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love being part of a big family! Your family sounds like so much fun! I laughed when I read the part about the counting - we always do that too because my dad is always afraid he's leaving someone behind and he did start driving off without one of my brothers once.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is awesome! I can totally relate to so many of these! :-) And even though we have double what you guys have I'd definitely say you still are considered a big family. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  19. You guys are all so beautiful! :) And holy cow, big families are the best! I can relate to most of the things on the list and I love it. At one point my seven person family was living in a two bedroom apartment and it was seriously the best! You become so much closer to each other.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You guys are stunning. I've always wanted a big family or just a sister. I love this post!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh my goodness! This sounds wonderful! I only have one brother. The way you talk about your family proves that when your family, nothing else matters. Your family sounds like so much fun and such a blessing!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sounds a lot like my big family. My moms' mom has 6 kids, with a lot of grandkids and several great grands so I have a lot of cousins. I don't see them often now that we live across the country. But I'm enjoying starting our own family around these parts. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a beautiful family! I always wanted a big family, but since we seem to only be able to have one kid, we fill in the blanks with animals. I guess we're still a big family... we just shed more than others. :)

    This was so lovely to read. I'm glad we crossed paths!

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  24. You are all so beautiful!

    http://www.ourlifeisbeautiful.com/

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've been reading your blog for a few weeks, and just wanted to say that I really enjoy it! I love your quirkiness and joy.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What a wonderful family! I just have two younger brothers :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I was the oldest of six children! Adored viewing your lovely family pics! T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. As an only child, reading this for me was fascinating! The part that stuck out the most to me was about how taking care of your own home now is easy because of all your experience. I think I'm a little used to being catered to (if I'm being honest) and so taking care of myself and stuff like that can be a real bother sometimes -- and that's only cleaning up after myself! I think growing up with siblings can be challenging sometimes, but like you said -- now you have 6 allies who'll always be in your life and that's really special!

    --Erika
    http://www.chimerikal.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a great view on having a larger family. I know how my Kiddies must feel! We have 6 Kiddies and I know the feeling of having movie night with more legs and arms spread out on the floor and a maze of pillows. I also know how it feels to go grocery shopping and then about a week later wonder how the food is gone? Large families can be so much fun and I love that we are a part of one. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think your family sounds awesome. I am an almost-only child (much older sibling) who married an almost-only child (again much older siblings) and while we have 3 boys, they are so wide spread, they were almost-only children also. And all our parents were older so they are gone now as are most of the aunts and uncles (sad). I watch shows like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and I think it would be so much fun to be part of a big family like that! I think the noise and the crowding would take a lot of getting used to, but it would certainly be nice to have someone around to always do stuff with or talk to. I love this part - "In my family, by the time you're 16 you know how to care for an infant and get a dinner for ten on the table." I think those are great life skills to learn. #SITSSharefest

    ReplyDelete
  31. i adore large families. everyone always seems so well-adjusted, extroverted, caring, thoughtful. if i could, i'd love to have lots of children, but i think maybe just one will be in the cards for us.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I had fun reading this. Thanks for sharing. I have have four sisters and one brother. I grew up in a three bedroom house also. I was looking on your blog from WIWW on the Pleated Poppy. I don't enter this, but I have fun getting ideas from different outfits.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Aw, this is inspiring. I have 6 kids and all this sounds very familiar... I hope they grow up feeling as good about it as you do ;)

    ReplyDelete