I'm from an itty-bitty town. When I say itty-bitty, I mean about 500 people.

What? Insane! Small towns still exist?

I know, it's a lot to take in, but small town USA really still exists. It's the same town that most of my family homesteaded in back in good ol' 1885. My ancestors planted their roots and a hundred years, and couple generations later, many of us still live in that little town.

There's something special about growing up with all of your family close to you. I love my family, no matter how much they remind me of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Here are 15 things you will know to be true if you grew up in a small town, with your family nearby. It's up to you to decide if they truly are perks.


1. Food

Grandma: "Are you hungry?"

Me: "Um, no not really."

Grandma: *Makes two hamburgers, hash browns and green beans anyway.*

When you grow up in a big family, there is never a shortage of food. Between all of the aunts and grandmas, there is always good food.

2. You have plenty of help.

More than once my parents have woken me up way, way too early to go help our cousins with something. It may be helping with a garage sale, or moving to a different house. But growing up in a farming community, it is typically to go help with a branding.

3. Every holiday is a mass gathering.

Oh, you had five people for Christmas? We had 35. Just a side effect of everyone living in a 20-mile radius, and college students coming home.

4. Cheer section

It doesn't really matter if it is a baseball or a basketball game, the whole family is there and usually sitting together. Which is great, until they get too fired up with the refs. Then you and any cousins also on the team just try to ignore them. As embarrassing as they can be they are your biggest fans!

5. The hand-me-down continuum

I received hand-me-downs from my cousins.

I passed them down to my siblings who passed them on to more cousins.

The cycle never ends.

6. When big things happen, everyone is there.

Graduations. Weddings. Sports competitions. Proms. Almost everyone is there. Life events really are more of a family reunion than anything else. (P.S. That's not even half of my cousins.)

7. Have each others backs

Small towns are petty. That's just how it goes. Fortunately, when you have a large family, you don't have to worry about finding backup. If someone is talking trash, they have your back, no matter how wrong you may be.

8. You're always up to date on gossip.

There is nowhere in the world that breeds gossip like a small town. No one in the world knows more of it than your aunts and grandmas.

9. You're never out of sugar.

You may not just be borrowing sugar, but when you live this close to your family, whatever you need is only a few steps away.

10. Babysitters and house-sitters are always available.

When you can walk over to their house for sugar, you also get pulled into the task of watching things. Dogs, kids, or the house. After babysitting your cousins any other child seems like a piece of cake.

11. No one knows your first name.

I went to a high school where some teachers even taught my parents. I give a hand to them though because I couldn't keep us straight either. They go through about four or five names before finally getting to me. It takes Grandma seven or eight.

12. You are close.

You grew up together. You've done everything together. Most of your memories include your cousins. Because of this you and your family are extremely close, but you wouldn't have it any other way.