I’m reposting an article I wrote in 2006. It’s archived over at Largerfamilies.com’s old blogger site. With the death of my brother in law, Tom’s younger brother, this weekend. This post seemed poignant So I’m sharing it here…. (this was written before Sean was born)
If my kids have nothing else in life, they’ll still have siblings. Someone to give them a hand up, someone to watch their back, and even someone to knock them down a peg when they need it. Growing up I was the oldest of three kids. I never wished for more siblings but I always knew I wanted lots of them for my kids…like my dad had.
My dad was one of thirteen children. His family is one of the closest tight knit groups I’ve ever met. I came to appreciate what it meant to have lots of siblings in Oct of ’97. My dad went in for by-pass and heart valve replacement surgery. He was convinced he wouldn’t survive. While my grandmother, mom, sister and I sat in the waiting room, my dad’s siblings came to visit. Some staying only a few minutes while on their lunch break, most staying with us all day. We took up a good deal of the waiting room and I felt a bit guilty. Not because I thought it was too much. But that others couldn’t have the support we had, especially when things got scary (he recovered and is doing well).
That day in the hospital reassured me I had made the right decision to have my then 8 children. There have been many times when I seriously doubted whether I was doing anyone a favor by giving them siblings. Some days it seems like all they do is bicker! It can get so bad that I’ve resorted to the…”With brothers/sisters like you….who needs enemies?” line. One time in particular when the bickering had been non-stop, I was down on myself about it. WHY can’t my kids get along? What am I doing wrong!?!
A friend pointed out that most siblings bicker. My kids just have more siblings to bicker with so it seems worse. When I looked at the individual instead of the group, I realized she was right. She also pointed out that they resolve the bickering and go back to being friends in no time. I must be doing something right. :o)
Having over 21yrs between my oldest and youngest I’ve been concerned with how they would relate. I’ve worried they’d become more aunt or uncle’ish to the little ones. So far, that doesn’t seem to be happening. I was pleasantly surprised on Monday night to find that everyone would be attending Olivia’s kindergarten graduation ceremony. They’ve attended so many in the past, I thought they’d “find” better things to do. Instead she had the biggest (and loudest) cheering section in the place! While people looked at us like we were uncivilized. I watched Olivia, standing on the stage, beaming from ear to ear, waving away while they cheered.
Something you hear spoken negatively about when a mega family is mentioned is…. “The younger kids are raised by the older ones.” I’ve tried my hardest to make sure this didn’t happen to my kids. Having kids was my choice, and is my responsibility! I did it for not only my older kids sake, but my younger ones as well. Afterall, who wants 10 parents…two are enough!
Nurturing is a totally different story. My kids can nurture each other all they want. It’s not only a big kids helping the little ones either. Yes, it’s great for a skinned knee to be able to get 10 extra kisses to make it feel better. But, the little ones have just as much to contribute in this department. A little sister climbing in a lap, wiping away tears and giving a bear hug can do way more then a mom’s shoulder can when a teen is dealing with heartbreak. Taking a break and snuggling with the baby is a great stress reliever for the college kids. Seeing your little brother admiring you with those…”Are you Superman?” eyes makes making the right decision a little bit easier.
I’m not sure how many siblings my kids will give their kids. As of now most say there’ll be many. I’ll take that as a sign that having a ton of siblings hasn’t harmed them too badly.
Kim is a mom to 12 kids ages 24yo to 18mos. She can also be found at her personal blog Musing Rambling and All Around Blathering, her food blog Growlies for the Gang and at LOK’s Large Family Cooking Blog