Last night I became involved in a discussion on Twitter about large families. It was a fun conversation and reminded me of how lucky I am.
Lucky because I am from a large family ..abnormally large in this day and age. I’m one of ten children. I think I don’t chat about it too much as people find it weird – and why not? It is weird. If I wasn’t me I would find it strange. Sometimes people tell me they have 4 or 5 children and I think wow that’s a lot. Then I remember hmm yes I’m one of 10. There are 5 boys and 5 girls ( although not many of us are young enough to be called boys and girls anymore) and the age range is roughly from 17-40.
To me it’s a normal life. I have 5 older siblings so I have always been part of a large family. Another 4 followed after me just to put the icing on the cake.
People tend to think that parents with lots of children are either weirdos or sucking money from the government. It’s not always the case. Some people just love having children or they don’t really plan it and it just happens. Luckily for me that happened with my parents. They had 5 happy healthy children and chose to have more.. Then I arrived and for some crazy reason they decided to continue 🙂 Ok so maybe we are a little weird.
It’s not just the amount of us that makes us unusual it’s that we all get on pretty well. In fact growing up and even now at times we can sometimes exclude friends as our social circle is pretty large just with family alone. As a child I was never alone and as an adult I have incredible support. I’m well aware of just how lucky I am. Chloe is the 13th grandchild and there are still 4 of my siblings who are yet to have children. My extended family is enormous. Izzy and Chloe will always have playmates and babysitters 😉 Most months there are at least two birthdays and Christmas..well Christmas is expensive chaos. In a good way. We have a fake Christmas earlier in the year ( normally November) so we can all have the day together and again it’s chaos but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Growing up my friends were always envious of my family life and even though we didn’t have the latest computer games or the coolest clothes I think there was something about our home that made people want to be a part of it. My mum always made comforting food and everyone was welcome to stay for dinner even though really she was counting the pennies but they made it work (my parents that is) we may not have had holidays abroad or designer trainers but we were always warm and fed well and happy. Some of the best memories of my life are of holidays in a tiny caravan with children sprawled sleeping on every available surface. Of my mums pea and ham soup and corned beef pie. Of walking to the video rental shop with my Dad on the days when it was 50p rental and arguing over whose turn it was to pick. Of long days in the park with picnics including cucumber sandwiches. Of sharing a bedroom with three of my sisters. Of family weddings and parties. Of always having someone to turn to.
So why when I am so lucky and blessed with this family do I worry about the negative side. Because there is a negative side to having such a large family, there are more illnesses and worries and eventually ( sorry for being morbid) there will be more bereavements, more grief, more tears.
When these thoughts strike me – I think they have popped up in my head more this year as I have generally been more anxious and stressed but when they do I think of something my mum said a little while ago “I may get 10 times the worry but I get a hundred times the joy” it’s true. The happiness and love that my family share is a one in a million thing. We won’t always agree on everything and of course occasionally they annoy me but more often that not they make me happy and feel very loved.
Most people have a million questions for me when they find out I am one of ten so if you have any just ask and I will try to answer.. Just please don’t ask me if my parents had a TV – I may have heard that one a few times growing up 😉
Mrs M says
Wow, I find that fascinating, though not particularly weird come from an Irish-Catholic family! I would adore to have a big family, I have a tiny one with one sibling who I have no relationship with. I dream of busy, chaotic Christmases!
Mrs M says
PS I should say my Irish family are HUGE but what I mean is my actual direct family. My mum moved to England in the 60s with her parents so not many relatives over here!
Franglaise Mummy says
This is soooooo familiar – I am the middle child of 5, with two older sisters and two younger brothers. My childhood sounds very familiar, we were fed and housed and clothed but any extras were for Christmases and birthdays when we got a main present (such as a cabbage patch doll one year) and maybe a couple of smaller ones if we were lucky. And yes people always ask whether my parents had a TV (yes), if they are catholic (no) and if we all have the same two parents (yes). I loved growing up in a “big” family and it was perfectly normal for me, I can’t imagine double the size though!