As the oldest of seven I've seen a lot of crazy things in my day. I have also heard a lot of crazy things and said a lot of crazy things. Having a large family means that there is hardly ever a dull moment. When I was little I never thought twice about our growing family. New baby on the way? Fantastic. I was always pretty stoked when my mom had a new baby. Except for the time after Thomas was born. I was in preschool a few weeks later and we were talking about family sizes. The teacher asked all the "only children" to stand up. So I stood up. My teacher looked at me with a confused expression and said, "But Susana, you have a new baby brother!" In which I replied, "Well I WAS an only child until then."
Aside from that little incident, adding another brother and sister was always an amazing time. As I got older I would try and guess if my mom was pregnant. I knew all her little signs and could usually tell she was expecting before the announcement was made. When I went off to college though I got a little rusty. During Christmas break my parents announced that they were once again expecting. Shocked. I tell you I was shocked. Partly because for the past few months my mom thought she was going through early menopause. But she was like "Just kidding I'm actually pregnant!" Yeah that was a good laugh. Then in August of my sophomore year baby Luke was born. It was awesome getting to tell my friends that I had to go see my brother at the hospital and they were like "Oh my gosh why, what happened?!" And I was like "Uh....he was born." Followed by some quality awkward silence.
I love that I come from a big family and wouldn't have it any other way. It was sad though when I was old enough to realize that people tried to make my parents feel bad about it, or as time went on, make me feel bad about it. One time I was simply saying hello to the mother of a friend when the first thing out of her mouth was "Don't tell me your mother is pregnant again?!" In my head I was like "What the heck lady?!" But I pulled myself together and managed to say that she wasn't but it would be really awesome if she was. That mom stormed off in a huff for reasons I'll never know but can only speculate on.
I am so thankful that my parents gave me the gift of siblings. I'm not saying small families are bad. I'm just putting it out there that the size of all families should be respected. Small or big, it doesn't matter. You don't know the whole story so don't pretend to. ANYWAY without any further ado....
You know you're from a large family when:
~You have to strategically plan showers over a period of a day and half just to make sure everyone is clean for church.
~All Halloween, Christmas, Valentines, and Halloween candy must be placed in clear ziploc bags with the owners name written CLEARLY on the front with sharpie otherwise WWIII will break out over the last bag of M&M's.
~Absolute chaos ensues when one sibling decides to drink their soda from a can instead of glass like the other siblings.
~When siblings are fighting over the last of dessert and you have to choose who will "divide" it into two pieces and who gets to pick which piece is theirs.
~When you have a younger sibling starting kindergarden on your first day of high school.
~When you're parents get the family together for an announcement and you are secretly hoping that it's a trip to Disneyland. And when it's actually that you're getting another sibling your still just as excited.
~When you go to the hospital to see your new sibling and the check in lady is losing her mind because everyone needs a name tag and she can't keep everyone straight.
~On road trips you have just as many bags of snacks as you do luggage.
~Packing for a vacation takes you a week and the laundry aftermath is just disastrous.
~When you're looking for socks and they only clean ones in your drawer are a pair that actually belong to a sibling and you just bite the bullet and throw them on.
~You either have to take two vehicles everywhere or you basically own a bus.
~When milk shooting out your nose from laughing so hard is a regular dinner event.
~When you don't even know that something other than hand me downs is an option.
~When the concept of strangers or non-family is a completely foreign concept to the younger siblings.
~The people at Costco or Sams Club know your mom by name.
~When holiday leftovers are hotly contested & plots are hatched & alliances formed to make sure you get some of the last of Gramma's stuffing or Aunt Janie's marble brownies.
~When a quiet house creeps you out to the point you need the TV or music on if you're home alone.
~When- because of your experience watching your parents with your younger siblings- your parenting style for your first child is so laissez faire that it terrifies your in-laws.
~When you find yourself saying "I think they only have 5 kids…"
~When laundry is a constant, ongoing process & the dryer never stops.
~When you become so adept at loading the dishwasher to maximum capacity that you are a Tetris savant.
~When being prepared for every possible scenario is so much a part of your mindset that packing lightly is beyond impossible.
~When it takes serious effort to remember that cooking for you & your spouse involves a lot less food than cooking for your family, & the first few weeks/months of marriage involve a LOT of leftovers. (All your memorized recipes feed 12 minimum & you learned fractions by learning to double recipes in your head.)
~When out shopping you calculate price per unit to determine best value without even thinking about it.
~All food is communal food & you suspect people who don't share their fries are secretly terrorists.
~You were adept at car seat installation years before you ever got pregnant.
~Quality of vehicle is determined by capacity first & foremost.
~You're not as much anxious about parenting as you are about finding a name that's not taken.
~Your classmates are baffled by the fact that you have nieces & nephews close to your own age - if older it actually breaks their brain.
~Your mom has perfected a patient smile & witty response to the question "Are they ALL YOURS?" Examples include "No, there are still three at home." Or "Well gosh, I hope so! Kids, did we pick up any extras?"
~When you're at Costco and people ask if you're buying food for homeless shelter.
~When people think your little siblings are your kids. Even though you're covered in zits and have braces on your teeth and you're like "Ummm hellooooo?!"
~When you're parents go out on a date and you and your siblings entertain yourselves by making music videos to the soundtrack of Annie.
~Trying to figure out who sits where at a restaurant takes 20 mins at a minimum.
~When your mom hasn't had a new kid in a while and you go up to random strangers and ask to hold their baby.
~When you never get to use the bathroom. Ever.
~When you mess up people's first names and finish with "You know who you are!"
~When you have dents in your feet from stepping on Legos all day.
~When you triple the batch and there's STILL not enough food.
~When listing your siblings in one breath is a near Olympic feat.
~When you have to buy scapulars (and many other things) in bulk because everyone is always losing theirs and just grabbing whichever one they can get their hands on.
~You have to do actual math to figure out how old your siblings are. "Well if Mary is 17 and she was 13 when David was born then therefore Stephen must be 8"...... What.
So. "You Know You Come From A Large family When"... Did we miss any others? And a special thanks to Kate Eichelberger, Patrick Copeland, Hannah Ethridge, and Marisa and Gabi Helms for your input!