Everybody who gets to know me finds out sooner or later the shocking revelation about my life: that I am 1 of 12 siblings. Often, this leaves people stumbling over what to say and sometimes they are even in a state of shock as if I had just told them something completely insane like Aliens are outside the window or Donald Trump is the US President… oh, wait.
But usually their response is one of the following, so here are the answers:
“Is your family Catholic then?”
No, my family is not Catholic and never has been. Of course this may be the case for some big families but it’s not a given, and to be honest it’s a little insulting to assume that myself and all of my siblings are unintentional. As crazy as it sounds to the masses, my Mum and my Dad just wanted to have a big family. They had a farmhouse in Wales and they were determined to fill it with kids. When they divorced (see that’s how not catholic my family is) they both still wanted more kids in their new marriages and that is how my family grew from 9 to 12.
“You must hate Christmas, it’s must be so expensive!”
No, I don’t hate Christmas, and I don’t understand how I’ve been mistaken for the Grinch; I am neither green nor hairy. Christmas is about family so why would having more family make me hate it? I love Christmas, I love the loud, crazy day, the masses and masses of food, the kids (I also have six nieces/nephews) running wild playing with each other, and the constant laughter and chatter that fills any house that my siblings and I inhabit. We don’t value Christmas on the price of presents, we value it on the fun that we have together as a family.
“That’s so weird, there aren’t ever any big families anymore.”
Yeah I guess back in the Victorian era we were the norm but nowadays not so much. But big families aren’t as rare as unicorns and recent statistics have shown that families with 4 or more kids in the UK are massively on the rise. In fact, we’re even having more kids than traditionally catholic countries, so I guess that proves the point that having a big family can be a choice, not just a lack of contraception.
“I bet you don’t all get along”
All I know is that we are a close-knit group, who take practical jokes way too far and spend the majority of our conversations taking the mick out of each other. But we’re also welcoming to everyone, with constant refills of teas and beers, and on top of all that we have the friendliest open door policy at all of our houses in which you’re allowed to turn up and raid the cupboards for food and even nab a bed if needs be – if that’s not what family is all about then I don’t know what is.
But of course we don’t all always get along, but that’s not down to numbers that’s just down to your average sibling stubbornness that exists in any family regardless of size. Of course there are little tiffs between one or two of us now and again which are left to later be resolved. But ultimately, no matter what happens, all those tiffs and fall outs are brushed aside because regardless of how mad or upset your family makes you at times, you’re still family. You don’t get another family and that’s far too important to let pettiness drive you apart. And as I learnt from Lilo and Stich, family means that no one gets left behind or forgotten.
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