I didn’t grow up with your typical family. My husband and I have been together for a long time now, and he still gets confused about where what family member came from. My family is huge and it is blended. In order for this to all make sense, I guess it is important you know that my biological dad as well as my 1st step dad passed away. I know right, my poor mother! She’s now happily remarried to my awesome dad (like for real sometimes we question how he isn’t my biological dad because we look and act alike), and they gave me my baby brother and sister. Okay here we go try to keep your eyes from going cross. I have 5 living grandmothers, 3 living grandfathers, 9 aunts, 6 uncles, and 13 cousins I even have an aunt who is 9 months younger than me. She ended up being one of my best friends, and I still refuse to call her my Aunt. Not for one second in my life have I ever been lonely. Here are the biggest things I learned growing up with a giant family.
Holidays are hectic, not just because most of my family are unbelievably loud Italians, but because you have 50 different places you better make your way to. Growing up this made Christmas a goldmine! As an adult it means I better not forget to wear elastic waist pants at Thanksgiving. Some holidays include my two aunts (pictured below) reenacting Pee Wee Herman, those are usually my favorite Holidays.
Privacy does not exist at all period. Maybe it’s a little worse because I live in the worlds smallest town (ok not really we have a Lowes so it’s prettying wild here) but nothing you do or say will be kept for the millions of family members. Once I tried to sneak away to a prom I wasn’t supposed to go to, my aunt caught wind and blew my cover without even knowing it. The fact that most of my family is branched off into separate families and not all tied together, does not matter. Somehow, someway, every single last person with in my family tree will hear it.
Your grandmas will range from all kinds of crazy but they are your number one supporters. I think some people think, “this girl has so many grandmas there is no way she is close to them all”, and you my friend would be wrong. I consider all of them my closest friends. and have learned something different from each one. One taught me it’s cool to let your hair down and smell like patchouli. One taught and still teaches me about my faith and what it means to be a devoted wife. One gave me my intense love of Christmas, so much so my daughter was named after it. One taught me, sometimes you have to have a backbone and give a little sass. Another one taught me it’s never to late to make your life what you want. Growing up with so many grandmas was probably one of the biggest blessings I have ever gotten.
You better always be nice to your cousins, because they loved you in your awkward stages and have photos to prove it. My cousins who were my age, were my first best friends. We attended each others skating rink birthdays and had sleepovers. As we got older we protected each other. My little cousins keep my young. They also keep my life filled with Little League and tag. I hope my daughter gets to experience this kind of friendship in her life, because it will be the foundation for every single friendship she ever makes.
Family is family. They will drive you nuts, but no one will love you the way they do. You can try to escape them, but if they are anything like mine, they will hunt you down and then probably sit on you till you say uncle. They will also have your back, fight for and with you, defend you, love you, and most importantly make you who you are meant to be. Friends have a place in your life but they can not replace the love of a family. Although life with such a huge family can get chaotic, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Growing up I never knew my family dynamics were odd to others, I just knew I had a million and one people who loved me. Now that I am a mom, I find such comfort in knowing Noelle will have just as much love!