I’m the first born of a large family. And I love it! There are nine of us — five girls, two boys and my parents. My parents married young, had all of us in 12 years and were poor a lot. Growing up, we were loud, loving and silly. Each one of us convinced that we were the most fabulous of all. My parents said we weren’t rich in money, but we were rich in love.
Although I loved being IN a big family, I didn’t want to HAVE a big family. So when I met the guy of my dreams at 17 years old, I was terrified. I did not want to repeat my parent’s story — marry young, have a ton of kids, be poor.
But I really liked this guy, so I got married at the ripe old age of 21. Waited a respectable amount of time — 8 years — to start having kids. And wasn’t really poor. So far so good on my plan. We had two cutie-pies, when we decided to go for #3, our last child we were sure.
Then God laughed.
The first set of twins was born two days before my 33rd birthday. Two more little girls. Then less than two years later, the second set of twins was born two days after my husband’s 37th birthday. This time a boy and girl.
That made six kids, under age 6, with four of them under age 2 — we call it God’s sense of humor! Although there were plenty of days I didn’t laugh, especially at the beginning. I am so thankful God took the reins of my life just when I was dangerously close to a well-ordered, controlled existence of my own making. I suspect I would have turned it into a selfish melodrama. Instead, my life is a daily adventure focused on being the woman God wants me to be and raising my kids to do the same.
I’m a 41-year-old girl at heart married for 20 years to the first guy I said “I love you” to. We have six kids — a 12-year-old artist in residence, 11-year-old redhead chef, one 8-year-old sensitive soul and her twin curly-headed dynamo, a 6-year-old shenaniganizing son and a bespectacled youngest daughter — that we still can’t believe are all ours! Oh, yeah . . . and we home school.
Some days go better than others. But I’m looking forward to sharing all of them with Frizzle Chicks like you!
(aka Momma Frizzle)
And now here’s my baby sister, Deborah, to tell you about herself!
My panty party was one of the most significant celebrations in my life. For my mother, it commemorated the end of an era. Her seventh and final child to graduate. I was finally potty trained, and she was saying goodbye to her many years of changing dirty diapers.
However, for me it meant I was one of the big girls! I could not wait to get my princess panties on this joyous occasion. My mom has a saying she inherited from her mom — “If you’re going to have a party, make it look like one.”
And that’s precisely what she did. My memory is so vivid. I had this huge, beautiful cake. It was a profile of a little girl, and on it were frilly underwear. I gleefully opened up the plethora of under garments and basked in not being “the baby” anymore!
The baby of the family, though, I will always be.
The grand finale. (My mother’s words, not mine.)
This aspect is deeply ingrained in my identity. For most of my life I’ve fought, rather dramatically, not to be treated like “the baby,” yet in reality loving every moment of it.
Let me explain the pros and cons. You’ll get the idea. I’ll start with cons because I want to end my explanation of our family pecking order on a positive note.
Cons of being the youngest of seven children:
1. Hand-me-downs — I knew it was bad when my husband bought a dresser from Ikea, and I turned into a sobbing 26 year old because I was so grateful to have a new home for my new clothes.
2. Being the last to experience coming-of-age milestones — Really, it’s not as exciting when the seventh one does anything. For my parents, it was probably more of a relief that they made it through us all.
3. Being tortured by tickling — Literally, I had a sibling for each limb, to hold me down, leaving two free to exclusively tickle torture.
4. Being kicked out of the “older girl times” — I don’t think big sisters understand how much it hurts when the youngest in the fam is excluded just because she is too little.
Pros of being the youngest of seven:
1. Learning from older siblings mistakes — Really, if I make the same mistake after watching six others, I’m just plain stupid!
2. Being the youngest as we age — I am the last to be turning thirty, flirty and thriving! The last to get wrinkles. The last to sag!
3. Experiencing various sizes of our family — I’ve enjoyed a house full of seven children and always having someone to play with. I’ve lived in a two-child home when the five oldest were off at college. And I was an only child during my last two years of high school.
4. Being the miscellaneous — I’ve been a nanny, travel companion, roommate, accountant, organizer, and done a million other “jobs” for my siblings. I don’t think I would’ve experienced much in life without these opportunities. (Thanks City Chick!) In reality, I’ve been included way more than I was ever excluded!
5. Getting a lot of love and attention — No really, I think I have a special place in each of my siblings’ hearts. I’m everybody’s baby sister. And I love that!
(aka Mother Goose)
Coming soon…the rest of the Pecking Order — Ambassador Hen, Picky Pants & Ma Cluck!