By J1 Reporter Kathryn Morey
As I’m dreaming peacefully, all of a sudden, “Happy Birthday to You” resounds across the room as six girls and three boys jump in my bed one after the other as my littlest sister’s knee presses against my stomach and she wraps her arms around my neck and hugs me. Yes, this is how birthdays begin in our house. This is only part of what you will experience when growing up with many other siblings.
There are ten kids in my family, and as my mom likes to say “There is always a hand to hold”. I have an entire pep squad cheering me on at a game, clapping for me at a recital with dozens of flowers, taking up an entire row at church, wearing matching shirts to any event to keep track of all siblings, using three carts every grocery store visit, and always finding extra friends in the house who want to be a part of the Morey family.
Sorting the enormous amount of laundry becomes a fun game, although maybe not for my mom. I have siblings who attempt flips off the canopy beds, one of whom landed a triple without breaking her arm, try to fly with an umbrella like Mary Poppins off of the playset, and are there to throw flour at when baking cookies and dance to cheesy music during every holiday. I have siblings who love to lie in the grass and watch fireworks, catch fireflies, sip coffee and watch the sunrise, and read stories or watch movies all night with me. They are all smart and athletic and wonderful. I always have someone to share secrets with, especially the hilarious stories that only my family knows.
Not only is your life full of craziness, like having 4 little ones jumping in your bed during a stormy night, but there are many other benefits to being a part of such a big family. My mom encourages us to be strong, hardworking, responsible, patient, kind, courageous, and humble. She also believes that we should treat others the way we want to be treated.
My siblings and I have volunteered countless hours since the moment we were born. The experiences are usually filled with laughter and really make my heart happy. Two examples are at the Open Door Mission when my sister fell into a bin of potatoes and we couldn’t get her out for 15 minutes because we couldn’t stop laughing and another time when we got to see how excited young siblings were when they celebrated Christmas for the first time. My mother has taught us that we should treat everyone we meet with respect and above all, always value life and make God the center of it. With 18 sets of eyes on me at all times, we learn quickly how to develop a strong moral compass.
Children from big families are usually pretty good at sharing, being a team player, a diplomat, a comedian, a leader, and a best friend, and solving great crimes such as; it was Miss Caroline in the office with the tap shoe. Big families keep you grounded and someone is always there for you.
So, whenever my siblings are painting each other from head to toe, or thinking they can wear nothing but a pink tutu to church as my sister often did when she was 2, taking my favorite shirt, asking if lady bugs have teeth, which by the way they technically do not, squishing me as we all pile into the suburban and then make room for a soccer team because my mom is the only one who saw the storm coming; you remember these are also the same kids who are brutally honest when needed, cry with me when I’ve had a heartbreak, take on a bully, have a sweet sister watching over us from heaven and never let me forget how amazing I am.
Not only does having a big family give me endless amounts of happiness and laughter, but it reminds me of the great gift that I never have to go through life alone. So when we are all around the 10 foot kitchen table eating dinner together and kneeling in prayer at the end of each day, we are truly thankful that God gave us a hand to hold on this Earth.