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A Big Family

by The Next Family April 23, 2012

By: Brandy Black

I come from a family of three. I have no siblings. I’ve always wondered what that life would be like. My wife has a brother and sister. One of the first times I hung out with all of them together Susan and I were sitting on a bed and her sister plopped next to us, then her brother jumped on and I was feeling a bit crowded and legs were touching me and I wasn’t sure what to make of it and then her sister’s kids hopped on and suddenly the entire family was on the tiny little pull-out bed. I had a small anxiety attack trying to keep my cool, feeling completely claustrophobic. It was foreign to me. My friend Troy, also an only child, describes big family households as “always smelling like syrup.” Growing up it was never the kids that took over my house, it was the grown ups. I didn’t know anything else unless my cousins came to visit and I guess I liked it that way. So when I was pregnant, coming into THREE children, I kept thinking of that “bed” incident or the times when I go out to dinner with big families and everyone is eating off each other’s plates; I never understood that. I worried that my own family was going to crowd me. I was sure that I would need to escape from my house for solace. This is why I fought Susan so hard to sell our house in a down market in search of something bigger and perhaps with a corner I could crawl into should my family overtake me.

This morning I woke with three kids in my bed. No part of that bed felt my own, all my kids wrapped into me and I loved it. It felt safe and comfortable and what a Saturday morning should be. I realized that even though I don’t care for pancakes, I love the smell of syrup. Don’t get me wrong, our children will sleep in their own beds and I don’t want them draped all over me all the time but I quite like the way family feels. I like that when no one else in the world can get that close without throwing me into a tailspin my family can. As I get older and especially as I watch my children grow I realize that I am a guarded person and there are few I let into my world. I’ve always been this way. My close friends have become my family; I would do anything for the ones I love. I pride myself on being a protector of all that’s mine. I am loyal to my friends and will be for life because they have given me the gift of a brotherhood and sisterhood that I never had. I adore that my children have this built into their own family. I feel so lucky that now at 39 years old I do too.

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