I’m not really sure what it is like to have a “normal” sized family, and for that I am thankful. I’ve grown up with too many aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, great aunts, great-great aunts to count. Growing up in a big family is really wonderful for some reasons, and not so wonderful for other reasons, but it’s all about how you look at it. Here are seventeen things everyone with a big family will understand:
ONE: There is no such thing as a small gathering
Oh it’s your birthday?! Once all 65 family members arrive, it’s time to celebrate!
TWO: There’s no difference between your first cousin and your fifth cousin
You know you have 12 first cousins, but you’re not really sure which 12 of the family members labeled “cousin” are those ones. You have so many cousins, and your family is so inclusive and there are so many family members at the gathering that you wonder to yourself, “Am I really even related to this person?”
THREE: Your cousins are your best friends
You met your best friends the day you met your family. Those cousins that you’re always forced to hang out with, you fight with, and you sometimes get annoyed with are actually your favorite people on Earth, and you’re so thankful they’re related to you so that they are forced to be your best friends forever.
FOUR: You know just when to head to the kitchen so you beat the line for dinner
You know exactly which family member is in charge of the last step for the family meal. When you see them walk into the kitchen you strategically place yourself so that when they yell, “Dinner is served!” You can be first to jump in line. With a big family, you don’t want to take your chances being polite, there might not be any food left when you reach the front of the line in an hour!
FIVE: Saying goodbye takes forever
You have to start saying goodbye an hour before you actually want to leave to make sure you have time to say a proper goodbye to all. Often times you forget who you’ve already said goodbye to and end up doing your rounds more than once.
I know, no one likes to admit it, but we all gossip. There’s no such thing as keeping a secret when you have a big family. Gossip spreads like wildfire. If you have some news, you better share with everyone before your mom tells her sisters and her sisters tell your cousins and your cousins tell… You know what I’m talking about.
SEVEN: The kids table
You’re in your 20s but you’re still sitting at the kids table. Yes, you are an adult but there still isn’t room at their table for you. Now your family had to create the “little kids” table for the generation behind you.
EIGHT: Family vacations
Family vacations are a lot of fun and there’s always someone willing to go on whatever adventure you want to go on. But with that big of a group it’s almost impossible to get everyone out the door. You spend more time trying to get everyone on the same page, than you do enjoying your vacation.
NINE: When you hear family picture you run
Taking a nice family picture with that many people is impossible. There are always a few family members missing that will need to be photoshopped in anyway, so you wonder if you can just be added to that list. Someone is bound to have their eyes closed, or not be ready for the photo. But once you do get that perfect picture you all post it as your Facebook cover photo and are happy to have a great photo of your favorite people.
TEN: You’re always shocked when someone’s significant other can actually handle the crazy
Or, the opposite, you cannot understand when they don’t embrace every minute of “family time”.
ELEVEN: You have rehearsed the answers to the questions you will be asked by everyone before gatherings.
Yes, I’m still single. No, I don’t know what I am doing when I graduate. You know exactly what questions you are going to be asked so you prepare. You almost want to just make an announcement when you arrive to avoid the repetition, yet, you ask the same type of questions to everyone else. And everyone is asking because they truly care, so you feel bad if you give a half-assed answer.
TWELVE: Members of the family start to move away and it’s almost impossible to always be together
Every gathering you hope that everyone will be there, but it is so rare that you can have all of your favorite people in the same room at once. You are even that person who has to miss out on the parties now, and you long to be with your family more frequently.
THIRTEEN: You have mastered taking over an entire restaurant… Or even small town.
As soon as you walk into a restaurant everyone knows you are there, and you won’t let them forget it for a second. Thankfully, you have those uncles with the great tricks and jokes that never fail to get the entire restaurant to participate in the family party.
FOURTEEN: The Holidays are never ending
Christmas eve eve, Christmas eve, Christmas, day after Christmas, day after the day after Christmas. You find any and every reason to get together. Some family members try to act like they hate it, but hey, they still show up so you know they secretly love it.
FIFTEEN: You don’t know how your grandparents do it
Your grandparents have seen and heard it all. They have had to put up with all of this craziness for many years and yet they still seem to be sane. You don’t know how they remember every little thing about each member of the family. Your grandparents have so much love to go around, and you want to be just like them when you grow up.
SIXTEEN: You’ve had a lot of really great times and really bad times.
Like any family, in a big family you have some great times together and then you have some really hard times. Your family is who you want to celebrate life’s accomplishments with, and they’re the only people who know just how to comfort you in a hard time. The highs are extremely high with a big family. The lows are a little less low when you have such a big family because you have so many people supporting you.
SEVENTEEN: You secretly wish there was a family gathering 365 days a year
At the end of the day, you miss your family when you’re not with them. You wish you could see all of them everyday.
I wouldn’t trade my big family for anything. I am so thankful I have grown up with all of my crazy, hilarious, and loving family members!
This blog post was written by Anne Hagerty.