We Are Family

Families, we love them, right?

You might have seen extremely large families, and/or extremely strange and dysfunctional ones on TV and maybe someday I’ll blog about my opinion of them, but not today.

Today, I’ll tell you about our family.

Our family is not that large. In fact, we’re pretty small compared to some. I have six fully biological siblings, and my parents, who celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary in December, make a total of nine people at the core of our family. People who don’t have awesome families like mine find that they are welcome to join ours, the more the merrier.

Yes, we in large families do want to strangle each other sometimes. Lovingly of course!

If you encounter my three brothers, three sisters, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, nieces, and nephews at the same time we are quite the crew. We’re a small army if you add the odds and ends: friends, cousins, the kids next door, and the dogs. Sorry, we aren’t cat people, we think they are cute, but generally useless.

We are extremely noisy and overwhelming. I would say that it is difficult to be an introvert around us. It’s simply not allowed. I don’t want to say we don’t tolerate those who don’t participate, but we just don’t know what to do with you if you choose not to join in. It feels weird. Unless you are in the middle of a really good book, you better be prepared to participate in the mayhem.

Other times it is acceptable to decline participation:

  • Spontaneous taco eating contests at the dinner table
  • Wrestling matches
  • Dangerous rock climbing escapades
  • Sword fighting
  • You are injured
  • You ate the poisoned spaghetti
  • You are contagious
  • You are not in town
  • You don’t like fish and Mom is making tuna casserole, again.
  • You have been abducted by aliens

It’s always best stay in touch and not wait for an invitation to participate in whatever is planned, because we will just assume everyone knew and they would want to join, so we expect that you don’t take offense if you weren’t specifically included. You just can’t be very selfish in a large family, because you go with whatever is best for the group, and you grew up knowing that the family does not revolve around you and never will.

If you want to strike out on your own, you are also out of luck. The family supports you. You want to blaze a new trail? The family will be there with their bulldozers and machetes, and Grandma will send you food so you don’t starve to death on your new adventure (the healthy kind of course, so that while you are not starving you are also not deficient in any of your vitamins and minerals).

If you haven’t noticed yet, we are a herd. If you see us coming, you may want to think twice about holding the door. Don’t get me wrong-we do appreciate it-but you might be in for more than you bargained. I don’t blame you, you were just being nice when one of us rounded the corner. We know you weren’t expecting twentyish people to be following. What started as a five second favor might make you late for work.

We can easily block walkways, roadways, and the aisle you need to get down at the grocery store. We will probably make you reconsider how badly you needed your milk and eggs. If you are brave enough to battle the masses, please be patient. It takes a while to get the word out to the rest of the herd to move out of someone’s way because you’ll have to wait until the word gets around to everyone in order for us all to move. You better hope we all decide to migrate in the same direction.

It might be best to stand back and wait. Be amused for a moment. We can be very entertaining.

When sheer mass matters big families are great, but you’ll run into difficulties if you are trying to view any type of entertainment when you’re one of the short ones in the herd. You’ll likely find yourself trying to see through the broad back of your brother. I find that a sharp jab with a finger applied to the ribs or the back of the offender, prodding them in the direction you need them to move is usually effective, but don’t forget to watch your feet. I’d recommend steel toe boots, but they aren’t very fashionable

Having gorilla sized brothers isn’t all bad. One of the best things about family is that we have each other’s back and not just in your line of vision. We expect each other to pull their fair share, and we might call each other out sometimes but we are the only ones who are allowed to harass each other. The herd is very intolerant of outside troublemakers. If one of the herd is threatened, they will be pulled in to the suffocating gooey mush of familial support.

We are only as strong as the weakest member so we share our strength. This applies to more than my family or any other family, and I think people need be reminded sometimes.

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