I’m the oldest of seven children. Same parents – no twins. No, they weren’t following scripture, just two crazy adults with no plan. We were all born within ten years. You don’t know chaos until you’ve tried getting 7 kids under the age of 10 ready for school. I personally loved growing up as the real life Brady Bunch, and I also know there are some things that only families of 7+ experience:
1. You most likely have never been on a plane or been to Disney Land.
When a family outing to the movies costs $95, a trip to Animal Kingdom is out of the question…. and always will be.
2. Doctor and dentist visits take forever because you and your siblings’ appointments were scheduled back to back. If you were smart, you brought something to keep you occupied. If not, you were left to wreak havoc in the waiting room.
3. You usually take two cars while traveling, but in the rare case that you all went in one vehicle, you had to rent one of those sketchy oversized vans. If you were as lucky as me, the only thing available was the Church van that had, “God is Good“ splayed across the side. Get ready for weird stares and religious sing-alongs.
4. You learn how to fight for food.
You know the meaning of early bird catches the worm. You also are not fooled by, “Jumbo Size” items…you know these last two days tops.
5. Waiting >20 minutes for a table at a restaurant is obligatory.
6. You work as a team.
Whether it’s moving kids in/out of college, raking leaves, or painting the house, you know when working together any task can be completed in an hour or less.
7. There’s always someone home to hang out with.
8. When a fight breaks out, there’s always one sibling who decides to interject and take on the “parent role” which only adds fuel to the fire; WWIII ensues.
9. Your parents never seem to learn normal portions again. Learning how to downsize seldom happens after kids move out, resulting in leftovers after every meal.
10. There’s no such thing as individual TV time. It’s either something everyone agrees on, or nothing.
11. The amount of toilet paper and milk bought at a store is concerning enough for all onlookers.
12. You’re used to sleeping on the floor because on every trip half of you end up in sleeping bags fighting for floor space while the parents and oldest two have the luxury of the beds.
13. Every time you broke the news that your mom was pregnant you had to deal with, “AGAIN?!” followed by any/every inappropriate joke about your parent’s ‘mating habits’. Yeah, like I’ve never heard that before.
14. Taking the Christmas card picture is an event in itself.
It takes forever to get everyone to cooperate, and when you finally get the pictures it’s pure agony trying to find one that’s decent of everyone. Good luck.
15. You learn to do laundry at an early age because you knew if you put anything in the family laundry pile it would fall into the dark abyss and you’d never see it again. (I’m still looking for my white Abercrombie tank from sixth grade)
16. Getting your driver’s license is the best feeling ever, until you were involuntarily signed up for driving duty and became the family chauffeur to a carpool of 5-year-old soccer stars.
17. You all grow up incredibly tough. Your family’s form of love was tough love. The amount of abuse, taunting, and ganging up on each other prepared you to deal with anything life throws at you.
18. There’s been more than one instance when someone’s been left behind. And while mom and dad freaked out, you all laughed.
19. You share a room. Although it was not always fun as kids, it fully prepared you for freshman year of college.
20. You learn to love the knock-off brands. Yeah, having Rice Krispies in the pantry is nice, but what’s even better is a large bowl of Great Value Krisp Rice. Or maybe some “Fruity-O’s”? I’m considering my own spinoff of the cereal “Life” called, “Existence”. I can see it really taking off.
21. You run on a special kind of time. 8:00 departure time means: wake up at 6:30, be on the road at 10:00. As my dad says, “Off like a heard of turtles.”
22. You always have that one sibling who is the family punching bag. This role varies with each family, but there’s always that one kid who can’t seem to get a break. You know it’s bad when even the parents get in on it…This kid will always talk about how when “he/she grows up, they’re going to get back” at everyone with one ultimate beat-down. FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
23. When making new friends, the first thing they do is try to memorize the names and order of your siblings.
24. You all make the same weird noises when you see a cute animal. There’s really no explaining this one. The noises you make are weird enough to make any stranger think you’re clinically insane.
25. Your family is everything.
Although this is applicable to most families, there’s nothing like growing up in a huge family. The experiences and bonding you go through are unparallel to anything else and because of that you know that you will always be close.