Happy National Sibling’s Day! I love learning about other people’s families…what they look like, how they function, and all the juicy details of their particular unit.
I met a lovely Korean lady a while back who shared that she came from a large family with eleven kids. Her eyes twinkled as she spoke fondly of her upbringing. She told of how her culture, during the time of her childhood, favored sons over daughters, primarily because they were the bread-winners. Her parents kept trying for boys but kept getting girls…
Halfway around the globe and a generation later, this woman and I share so much in common.
I am the second child of nine kids. One boy and eight girls.
In a world where big families are becoming a thing of the past, either because we have evolved away from traditional roles, or in general, find ourselves choosing to have smaller families, I feel like I was given a gift not many people get to experience anymore.
If you ask my mom why they chose to have nine kids she’ll tell you, “Well, we wanted twelve…”
From the moment they were married, they wanted a lot of kids. And a lot of kids they got… My brother was the first born and only son. Then a whirlwind of estrogen blew through our house and settled in just about every room.
Fitting into a classic stereotype of big families, my parents started each of our names with J. While we tried not to live up to each of the misconceptions of big families, many of them were unavoidable.
We drove a wooden-paneled station wagon, (affectionately named ‘The Love Barge’ during our dating years) we were mostly homeschooled, and we ate casseroles just about every night for dinner.
From the outside, I think people assumed this was pretty much all there was to our big family.
Throw in a few other stereotypes (that were untrue) like being in a cult, all sleeping in the same bed, or the mandatory wearing of culottes, and we experienced an interesting array of sympathetic head shakes, eye rolls, and curious, probing questions.
People may have talked a little, but I wouldn’t have traded my family to have taken a childhood trip to Disney each year. Where we might have lacked in luxury, we made up for in lasting love and companionship.
I’m thankful for those late night conversations, the dance parties to Mom’s Elvis records, the swapping of clothes, the singing and instruments, the hiking, the Christmas mornings crowded around the heater, the laughter, the tears, and the good times.
Siblings are a gift. Family is a gift. No matter what the size.
My prayer as I raise my own children is that I teach them, to esteem family in a high regard. To cherish it and nourish it with great care because whether near or far, we are in it for life.
Happy Siblings Day to my favorite siblings! Love you all!
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