Monday, November 14, 2016

6 Things I Like About Having 6 Siblings

Growing up, having lots of siblings was lots of fun. Really, I didn't give it much thought, it was just the way it was. There was a new baby every few years and besides for that I found Mom a little less patient when she was pregnant (don't worry Mom, I understand now!), we were always so so so excited to have a new brother or sister.

In High School, I hated telling people how many kids were in my family. I dreaded their reactions, their judgments, their questions, and the way the way it made me different. Really, I just wanted to fit in and be "normal," and I thought having six siblings made me weird.

I can remember the turning point, when I started thinking of having a big family as a positive thing. I was at a summer camp and when asked how many siblings I had, I told the girl that I had 6, adding some comment about it being weird and obviously seeming a little embarrassed about it. She responded back that she was from a big family as well and said she loved it. I realized that she had such a better attitude towards it than me! She was so confident and positive, she made having a big
family seem like a good thing. Which I agreed, it was. From that point on, when people asked me how many siblings I had, I didn't feel scared to tell them or embarrassed, because having a lot of siblings is really great. I would respond in a way that showed how much I love being part of a big family, because it actually is really awesome.

1. It's really fun

The first four!
When I think about what I like about having a lot of siblings, the first thing that comes to my head is how much fun it is.

It's a lot of fun growing up with a bunch of siblings to play, imagine, and create with. We had a basement set up as an elaborate town (we even had paper credit cards and a bank that we had to pay back what we spent to), games of kings, queens, and servants, giant wars of "good" dinosaurs vs. "bad" dinosaurs, and the classic "the ground is lava" set ups in our living rooms (Mom even let us move the couches around...). That's not to say we didn't have our share of rivalries and fights, but we did have a really great time, a lot of the time.

It's a lot of fun having babies and toddlers around, or now, a six year old. We all fought over the holding the babies when we were younger, and the toddlers were hilarious. My brother has a note on his phone where he wrote a bunch of funny things our youngest brother Matthew said, and every time we read through it we are all crying laughing.

It's SO much fun now that a bunch of us are older. We have a blast together, and every get-together is a party. We're a family that likes to do things, so we do a lot. Whether it's a board game or cards, or Pokemon Go hunting during that fad, or camping trips to our lake lot. We also have a group of mutual friends who are basically family, and when we all lived in the city we'd often go for wings, beers, and pool. Now that Matt and I have moved away we make weekends of it and it is hard to describe the atmosphere of so much love, loudness, and laughter.

I see the exact same atmosphere in my husband's family, where there are ten kids. I felt completely at home from the moment I walked into their house because they had that same "big family" feel that I love so much.
On our trip to Florida a couple years ago. Dad's head is
covering up Matthew.

2. You don't ever have to be lonely

I love having people around me, and growing up in a big family allowed me to have someone to keep me company whenever I wanted it. When I'd clean my room, I'd get someone to come keep me company. When I'd run errands, I'd ask someone to come along. When I was making food in the kitchen, there was always someone to visit with. Yes, sometimes I locked myself in my room for some peace and quiet, but I never had to be lonely.

3. You have a group of built-in, lifelong friends

My siblings are some of my very best friends in the world. I have a unique relationship with each sibling, and each individual friendship is something I am really grateful for. We all have a lot in common like our faith, our love of board games, the way we think about certain topics, our sense of humor, and our love of teasing (that gene was strong in the Kaup family). We have so many shared experiences, even just the similar way that we were all raised gives us a connection. Sibling bonds are like no other, and I am so grateful to Mom and Dad for giving me so many great friends.

4. You learn to share and compromise

At the time, this one sucks. In retrospect, though, I'm glad for it. I think having to share, compromise, and do a lot of conflict resolution that is an inherent part of living in a house with 8 other people really builds character and gives you great life skills.

I had to share bedrooms, bathrooms, toys, computers, vehicles and even babies (coming back to my comment about sharing the baby from before). A lot of the time, interests would clash, and we would have to come to some sort of compromise. I think that those experiences made me a better person, no matter how exasperated I was at the time.

5. You are close with people from a wide range of age groups

I think the age gap from the oldest (me) to the youngest (my little brother Matthew), which is 17 years, is actually a really cool thing. I feel so grateful that I got to grow up with so many babies and toddlers. I was always able to be so comfortable around babies because I was really used to them.

The younger kids are so lucky because they can almost skip the awkward stage that I took forever to get out of, because they have all these cool (haha) older siblings to take them shopping or to tell them their foundation is not the same colour as their skin. More than that, they have relationships with their older siblings and that make them comfortable around older people. My little brother who is 14 was playing a risk computer game with a bunch of 23 year olds at our house last weekend. I was terrified of 23 year olds when I was 14. So I got the perk of being comfortable around babies and the younger kids get the perk of being comfortable around everyone, because I already gave them a niece... Really, though, it is super neat being friends with someone in basically every age group.

6. The love is multiplied

In a family of seven kids, the love is multiplied by seven. I have so much love for my little brother Matthew, it fills my heart up. I have just as much love for every other sibling, and and I am so grateful to have that much love in my life.

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