By Humaam Said
After two to three months, teachers can match face-to-name for all of their students; For my parents, 23 exhausting years of childcare isn’t enough to instantly remember any of their seven children’s names…
According to Statistica, the average family size from 1960-2019 changed from 3.67 to 3.14 persons. Being quite far from the normal fills me with a sense of appreciation. For one, I was never lonely. Every moment when I was growing up was spent with my siblings. At parties, we would often split into our group joking and horsing around while the adults talked. Going through school did not feel like a new experience. Each year, I was greeted by teachers who had taught my older siblings. I never felt alone going into a new year of school.
My sense of sharing was unmatched growing up. I fondly remember our Wii being fought over by each of our siblings dying to get a turn. Before kindergarten, my family lived in a small townhouse in Wilmington. There, I shared a room with two of my brothers. When our family moved to Garnet Valley, I gained some additional “privacy” when I found out I was sharing a room with only one brother. Even today, I share a room with him. Sharing and taking turns easily became second nature to us as we didn’t all have our own toys.
Growing up as the middle child of seven children taught me a lot of valuable life lessons. For one, attention wasn’t automatically given. In order to get attention, I would have to do something worthy of getting attention or learn how to cope with having many more siblings; I learned the latter. Frequently, I would sneak off to do my own thing playing video games or finding random places to hide and explore. I learned how to entertain myself and be comfortable with who I am. Although my parents can never get my name correct on the first try, I know that they love me and are worried about other people who are higher on their list of concerns; it isn’t easy raising so many kids.
Complaining about space is something I’ve never done. On prior vacations, we’ve stuffed 8-9 people in one hotel room (I could tell the hotel was amused by having to bring 7-8 extra blankets). Whenever our AC goes out, we have no problem adapting and fitting people into rooms with space heaters. Even today, I still share a room with one of my siblings. Finding space and adapting are no strangers to my large family.
The constant noise, the bumping around in the hallways trying to through, & the inability to find a quiet space are minor annoyances and inconveniences that come with being in a large household. Growing up, I had a healthy relationship with my family and my siblings. As we changed and grew up, we each developed our own style and method of how we want our future to unfold. In the past, it wouldn’t be uncommon for nearly five to six people to be crowding in the same room. Today, each of us needs our own private space to function correctly. That being said, I wouldn’t trade any of my siblings to get some quiet and peace of mind. I’d rather learn how to deal with the bumbling noise.