Wednesday, April 27, 2011

lucky 13

my mom comes from a fairly large family.  there were 4 girls and 2 boys.  both brothers have passed as well as one sister.  my mom is super close with one of her sisters in particular, she always has been.  this particular sister we'll call aunt merilyn-- mostly cuz that's her name.  anyhow, this aunt of mine has 13 kids.

13.  all with one brave man, all out her very own lady parts, and none of the 13 being multiples.

telling the story of my aunt with 13 kids is one of my favorite to tell, its up there with i can say the alphabet backwards, i was homecoming queen, and of course the time when ben harper almost kissed me.  all of these get a great reaction, but the 13 kids for whatever reason usually gets the most play.

needless to say going to my aunt and uncle's house for holidays was a dream come true for a girl with one brother who is 7 years older.  as a child i remember their house being very large.  it was in stockton, so naturally it was all fenced in--almost like a compound.  they had tennis courts, a basketball hoop, a pool, a play structure and a huge grassy area for playing soccer and tag.  being the tomboy that i was am, i spent a lot of time outside, but when i did venture in i spent the bulk of my time in one of the back bedroooms.  surprisingly, not one of the kids was my exact age, but there was a trio of girls that i was closest in age to.  their room was very pink, with three pink twin beds equa-distance apart, and huge closets.  there was a bathroom attached to the room that was shared with some of the other older kids.  its funny to think there were even rooms there cuz i'm pretty sure most of the kids slept in their parents room, either on the bed, or the floor, or wherever they could find space.
aside from a raspy voice you would kill for, and thick brown hair, they were all very much individuals.  i learned so much from them without them even knowing.  i must share some comedy genes with tara, janai and i helped provoke each others rebellious sides by sneaking our grandma's smokes, and danielle always made me want to try harder to be pretty.  of course the boys made their mark too, i loved playing with brandon when i needed a break from the girls, and jason, jordan and giovanni were great pals to me as well.

when i tell people about my aunt having 13 kids they usually say something like, 'oh wow, she must have run a tight ship!'  or 'oh you mean like the duggars?' or even better, 'you have to be so organized to manage that many kids, how did she do it?'  i usually just nod and smile, and try to recall as much as i can about how in fact she did do it.  because aside from having a 12 passenger van, and 2 washers and 2 dryers, she really had nothing in common with the duggars or jon and kate.  it took me going back to their house as an adult to realize just how bare bones that house was.  i mean i remember cereal, and toast with butter-- that, and maybe some canned soup was all you would find in the cupboards any given day.  kids would watch out for each other, but it didn't stop them from getting hurt, or crying, or wanting more attention.  they were normal kids of course, but they were... happy.  and that's the craziest thing of all....

so happy with their upbringing in fact, that one of the girls has seven kids of her own, another five...  ironically the boys all have 1, maybe 2.  but the girls, they just keep em coming like their momma did.  even though i wasn't in that family, i know my desire to have a big family came in large part from the time i spent with them.

when i start to get ocd about my kids behaviour and well being and what they do and don't eat, or feel guilty about having 4 kids one day like its to many to love and care for... i think back to my cousins.   all 13 of them.  sure they've had their struggles like us all, but they've all turned into adults any parent would be so proud of. 13 kids, all doing great, that's more than remarkable, its miraculous!

so this goes out to you all my lovely orlando cousins, please.... please let's get going on a memoir.  tell me your stories... we'll do this.  it will be awesome.


Tee said...

Great post! Thanks Holly. It strengthens my desire for simplicity.

The Calamond Connection said...

Ben Harper? I need to hear that story. Great blog, as always. Love your honesty about the joys and struggles of parenthood. Your aunt might have inspired you, but you inspire me Holly. Thank you.