Thursday was National Siblings Day, and to celebrate I posted a few pictures of my siblings and me on social media.
Reflecting on some of our most recent memories made me realize how lucky I was to have so many siblings, even though I haven’t always felt that way.
I was born to a family that would eventually have five children. I have a brother who is eight years older than me, a twin sister and twin brothers a year younger than me.
Having a large family wasn’t always easy. My parents had to work a lot to make ends meet, and often, my older brother John was in charge. Instead of getting to fully enjoy his childhood, he was busy helping to raise his four younger siblings.
We didn’t get everything we wanted. We got what we needed because paying for five children isn’t cheap.
And I never had my parents’ undivided attention because that just wasn’t going to happen with five children splitting their focus.
But, growing up was always fun.
My best friend was and always will be my sister. Even as young children, my parents had a hard time getting us to bed at night because we’d spend hours talking to each other after the lights went out.
When we were toddlers we even had our own language.
My younger brothers were also my best friends, though that’s something my 10-year-old self never would have admitted to. We had all the same neighborhood friends and spent hours playing ding-dong-ditch, hide-and-go-seek and ghost in the graveyard.
As for my older brother, I didn’t have a strong relationship with him until high school. He’s eight years older than me so we didn’t have much in common until then. Now he’s someone I can go to for anything.
When my parents divorced, and my dad got remarried, I gained three more siblings.
We all moved into the same house my freshman year of high school, and I’m pretty sure my dad and step-mom have had a headache ever since.
I was afraid we’d have a hard time meshing and the two families would often fight, but that really hasn’t been the case.
Usually it’s one sibling against the rest or all the siblings against my parents.
The last eight years of my life have been tons of fun, for the most part.
It wasn’t fun when my parents sent us out to the yard to rake while they went Christmas shopping, and we all ended up grounded.
They had forbidden us from using the riding lawnmower to aid in our work. But, in typical kid fashion, we used it anyway.
My step-brother Chris swore it would be fine because he “had his license and knew how to drive.”
Well, he ended up driving the lawnmower into the shed door, breaking both the hood and the door in the process.
He talked us all into lying about what really happened so nobody would be in trouble. When my parents got home, they did not believe the story we made up and took us into groups for interrogation.
My step-sister, who was 9 at the time, wasn’t a very good liar and told our parents the truth.
We all ended up grounded for a long, long time.
And it wasn’t fun when my brother hit me in the head with a baseball bat.
Summer had just begun, and my step-mom was having a garage sale. My brother, for whatever stupid reason, was swinging a baseball bat around.
I wasn’t paying attention, nor was he, and I ended up getting whacked right above my eyebrow. For weeks, I looked like a monster while the giant knot and subsequent bruising healed.
Then there was the time my sister totaled the car we shared. My parents had just purchased the 1999 Buick Century, and I loved it. Instead of taking it to a junkyard, they decided to look for parts to repair the damage.
That took a long time, and while they searched, I had to continue driving the car, which was missing a headlight, around town.
Eventually a not-so-friendly officer pulled me over. I was out past curfew, picking my brother up from work, and had previously been at a bonfire. This officer believed I may have been using drugs or had them in my car and decided to search after calling in the K-9 unit.
I had no drugs in the car and have never used them, but was still terrified.
Eventually they let me go with a warning, and I vowed to not drive that car until it was fixed.
Although those aren’t my fondest memories of childhood — our family vacation to Cancun and the many trips we’ve taken to Tennessee were a blast — getting each other in and out of trouble is always fun. And making fun of each other, even when I am the subject of everyone’s laughter, is also fun.
I don’t know what my childhood or life would have been like if I was an only child or just had one or two siblings.
Maybe I would have had my own room and closet or my own car. Maybe I would have spent less time grounded. Maybe my parents would have paid for all of college.
I don’t really know, and to be honest, I don’t really want to know.
I have eight people I know I can count on for anything, and life doesn’t get much better than that.