I grew up with six younger siblings and people always say to me, “Oh wow, what was it like?”. So, here is what it’s like growing up in a family with a lot of kids:
1. You learn a little bit about a lot of different things. I know a little bit about choir. I know a little bit about the alto saxophone. I know a little about diving. I know little bit about cross country. I know a little bit about theater. I know a little bit about track. I know a little bit about the drums. Thanks to my talented siblings I don’t ever have to actually do these activities and I know a little bit about them.
2. There's always something on every night of the week. Whether it be the previously mentioned choir concert, band concert, or sporting events. It's hard to get all of us to eat dinner at one time. Most nights are spent eating quickly at the table by yourself.
3. You all share clothes. Yes, I know, even the boys and girls. I have several of my brothers’ sweatshirts. And my sister has several of mine. I have some of my brothers’ shoes. I have some of my sister’s shirts. What's mine is yours, what's yours is mine.
4. It's hard to remember who is friends with who. Especially if you're all close in age, the same names keep getting brought up. So, I don't know who is friends with Seth or who is friends with Ben. They all just kind of run together. Why can't we all just be friends.
5. You learn to hide your food. I've learned that I need to keep a special spot in my room for any food that I don't want eaten. I have a special place for pop tarts, chips, drinks, and cookies. If you're smart about it, you'll change the spot every few weeks because the younger kids find it easily.
6. You have a really big car. For most of my life my family had a 15 passenger van. Yes, you read that right, 15. There are not actually 15 of us. But, we've learned people need their space on car trips. We have enough seats for everyone to have one in between them so nobody's feet are touching each other.
7. It's literally never quiet. If you want to take a nap, you’re going to need to buy some earplugs. There's always a drum set playing, a ball bouncing, or someone singing. Video games are being played, movies are being watched, or somebody is screaming at somebody. You just learn to live in the noise.
8. Free time is a joke. If you're the older child, like I am, you learn that you'll be spending all of your free time driving around siblings. Whether it be to group project meetings, school practices, or just to get something they forgot at a friend’s house. You basically become a chauffeur.
9. What is personal space? You've basically had to share a room your whole life so when you could get to college and have to have a roommate, it doesn't bother you whatsoever. You're used to sharing space and things. It doesn't bother you to have another person in the room while you're trying to sleep, work, or listen to music.
10. You hate each other and love each other. There's always the one sibling that you have all the fights with. Everybody has one that they fight with more than others. And everybody has one that you get along with better than the others. It's the cycle of sibling-friendship.
11. Your friends get used to them. Your friends basically adopt your siblings as their own siblings. They understand and accept the fact that they will always be trying to barge in the room when you're trying to watch a movie, or play the same board game as you. They start treating them like their own siblings. If your friends don't like your siblings, don't keep those friends around.
12. Relationships are interesting. They're always the best judge when it comes to bringing a significant other home. They won't hold back any feelings or keep any secrets about whether not they liked the person. They'll tell you if the person was annoying, or if actually liked them. Also, in my opinion, if your significant other doesn't like your siblings kick the significant other to the curb.
13. No, we never all match. Much to my mom's dismay, the only time we all matched was when she made us all dress up like cowboys for Halloween. Then we drew the line. No more matching.
14. No, we also do not have a baseball team or acapella group. This would mean we would have to match aka we would all vote no. Plus, the odds of us all agreeing to do one thing at the same time are very low.
As my mom told me my entire childhood, “Friendship begins at home”. My siblings were my first friends, and they’ll be my last friends. We’re in this together.