The Perks Of Having A Big Family

The Perks Of Having A Big Family

Blood is thicker than water.
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“Family-where life begins and love never ends.”

When I explain to anyone how big my family is, the conversation usually turns quickly to the sight of dropped jaws and the noise of loud gasps. I am one of three, my mom is also one of three and my dad is one of 11. You read correctly-he's one of 11. So let's take a brief moment to think about this. My mom's two brothers have children, so there's a few of my cousins. The majority of my dad's 10 siblings have children, whose children then have some children and so on. Whether they're my first cousins, second or third, it doesn't matter because they're family. My many aunts and uncles bring more people into our crazy but beautiful clan. The ages vary immensely; from a new member born yesterday to a cousin reaching his 40th year today,

the love is always there.

I could go on for centuries providing a list of amazing perks of having a big family, including the enormous parties and hilarious stories that go back many years, but I'm going to focus on the more important aspects. All in all, family never stops growing; new members join every single day and my family is truly more grand than you can imagine.

Some people may wonder how we “deal” with one another, but it’s not nearly the same as dealing with, for example, a chore you're too lazy to do. We are truly happy to deal with each other. Surprisingly, we look forward to it. There are arguments and disagreements through everyone in any family. Whether it’s a pair of young cousins fighting over the last piece of chocolate cake or a more serious argument among many members, we always hold the power to overlook them and move on.

There may be times when cousins don’t speak to one another for numerous days and siblings for long weeks, but that’s simply a part of this emotion-filled ride we call life. We disagree, we argue, we cry and we yell; we blame others-everyone does. The difference between each member is what makes a big family so astounding. We all aspire to have different occupations, but yet we are constantly intrigued by each members' lives. The excitement of knowing what each person has been up to since you've last seen them is indescribable. Without a doubt, the pros outweigh the cons.

"Family is like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts."

Don't get me wrong, it isn't all sappy and rainbows, family can be hassle at times. Tears are shed, we get annoyed with one another, not everyone can agree with a decision made and we fight constantly. But we're family and that's the glory of it. At the end of the day, the hassle turns into thankfulness because...

the love is always there.

There are infinite number of perks regarding how it feels to have a big family, along with the infinite number of members, and it’s impossible to name every single one of them. Times can be tough. Who do you turn to? A major perk of being part of such a large and loving family is the support they provide. You all get through the hard times together and no one is ever alone. When a loved one passes, a sickness occurs, a bone is fractured, a job is denied or a heart is broken, it seems impossible to overcome that feeling.

However, with family it is possible; they provide the strength you can't dig up at the moments you need it most. The connections through my entire family are difficult to put into words; when one person is upset, it affects all of us. We have each other's backs through thick and thin; we never dream of leaving their sides.

“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

Not only is my family my support system at all times, but the lessons I’ve learned from each and every member continue. My mother taught me the importance of self-confidence, my father taught me to believe in myself, my siblings taught me to live life to the fullest, my uncles taught me to laugh whenever I can, my aunts taught me to follow my dreams, my cousins taught me that friendship can be found in anyone and my grandparents taught me the true meaning of family.

Quite honestly, I don’t know where I’d be today if it wasn’t for my vast, wild and wonderful family. We want what's best for one another. We want each and every member to pursue what they believe in. We want to be there for each other; when one person can't be there, that's OK because you have 30+ other people waiting to be your shoulder to cry on.

We are a team.

We are a package deal.

We are best friends.

We are family and the love is always there.

Thank you so much to my amazing family for absolutely everything!

Cover Image Credit: Self

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Summer = Rest?

Sometimes it feels as if we need a vacation... from our vacation.

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Ah summer: Popsicles and sun burns, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemonade that local kids are pandering to make enough money for Roman candles and Black Cats. The crack of the bat can be heard among the simmering charcoal grills and Troy-bilts humming through the ever-lasting sun. School is out and children are wild. It's a paradise.

Or is it?

But after countless sports camps and tournaments, other camps, vacations, school (?) events, traveling teams, VBS, summer seems to have been sucked fun-free.

Maybe it's Hollywood and Harper Lee's fault for giving us this utopian view of what summer should look and feel like (I'm looking at you Sandlot). But how can we really rest this summer? Because everyone needs some actual rest, even adults.

First thing is do NOT pack your summer full. Say no to some things. Coaches and Families can expect too much and it's okay to say no to them. You have to. There is no time for kids to be kids anymore.

Work can take a backseat. Vacations need to be taken. Families need to reconnect.

And for all my super-scheduled people out there, please PLEASE don't schedule out your vacation. Just enjoy it.

Another bit of advice would be to put away the technology and spend some time outside. When was the last time you tried to catch lightning bugs? Or went for a swim? Or listened to birds on your front porch?

I may sound like I have an old soul, but I really feel like we have lost this connection to the outside world. Summer is all about getting a farmer's tan and getting stung once or twice. I can guarantee you that's some of the best therapy in the world.

Maybe this sounds all over the place. Maybe this sounds like me ranting. And it probably is.

But I'm telling you that this stuff matters. Don't let summer whiz by and you arrive in August more drained that you were in May. Enjoy this time with family and friends.

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