Today I drove my family’s big rig, boat, whatever you want to call it.
In other words I drove the big, fat, white twelve-passenger van named Gringo Grande that we must use to caravan the whole family.
In case you didn’t get the memo, my family is fairly ginormous. There are eight kids in all if you’re not counting my sister-in-law. We usually count her.
I was driving our van because the other cars were already taken. And I wanted a coffee. The basic white girls up here in the Pacific Northwest generally go to Dutch Bros. instead of Starbucks. According to some people I know, all you have to do to be labeled a basic white girl is drink coffee . So that’s what I am. As is my mom. (But seriously guys, stop calling girls basic. Nobody is basic.)
This Dutch Bros. drive-through was impossible to get into. It wasn’t even a drive-through. It was more of a drive-around-this-hut-in-a-tight-circle. I went all the way around once and then had to back up in order to get next to the window. No big deal. You get used to that sort of thing. You have to be really good at backing up to drive a van like that. The guys at Dutch Bros. laughed the whole time, but I’m a dignified woman who is rarely affected by other’s opinions.I kept cool.
Only my face burned up.
Once I was close enough to order, the guy not making coffee leaned out the window to talk. Or should I say flirt.
(Can I use this time to complain about flirty dudes? I guess it’s okay in certain circumstances, but while I’m trapped waiting for a coffee I already payed for? That’s an injustice.)
Of course he asked what was up with the van. I briefly explained that my family was on the big side (Stop laughing. Not as individuals. As individuals we are on the thin side). He immediately asked if I was Mormon. (Maybe that was a deal breaker for him.)
Now, I have nothing against members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. It’s just that I am not a Mormon, and it peeves me when people are nosy about personal information. More annoying is when these people assume that the only reason someone would have a big family is because their religion commands them to. This stereotype is not only reserved for Mormons; Catholics, Muslims, etc. are grouped in as well.
Why don’t other more “normal” people have big families?
Why is it that only families that belong to extra conservative sects of conservative religions want to have more than the national average of 1.87 children?
Probably because large groups of children are ridiculously crazy and hard to deal with.
But what is often overlooked is how marvelous, wonderful, and good for families having lots of siblings can be.
I am the second oldest in my family, and now that my brother is married, I’m basically the eldest. Most people pity me because they assume I have too many responsibilities, that I don’t get enough attention, and I don’t get to do fun things that other eighteen-year-olds do. Nope, nope, and nope.
I adore being the big sister of six people.
Of course it’s sometimes hard, and it especially was when I was young and immature. Now I almost always enjoy it. I enjoy the respect I get from my siblings; I worked hard to get that respect and I think they honestly like me. Nothing builds confidence better than a whole clan of people looking up to you.
I have had so much practice being a leader that it comes naturally to me. Being able to lead and speak to a crowd is a skill that has already served me well throughout my young life.
I understand different personality types so much better than I would have. For example, my sister, who is closest in age to me and is my roommate, has the exact opposite personality to my own. If we weren’t sisters and we met each other in different circumstances, we would probably write each other off as crazy and not even attempt to become acquainted. Instead, we are best friends. I can’t imagine being closer to anyone else.
There are many, many more benefits to big families, and I didn’t touch on how great it is to be one of my younger siblings. But it has to be awesome. Sometimes I’m so jealous of my siblings because I don’t have an older sister that is as awesome as me.
An amusing discussion I had with my roommate demonstrates how much we believe in the value of family. We were talking about all the weird and sad people we know and how their weirdness and sadness could have been avoided. Our conclusion was, if they had more siblings most of their problems would be solved. Throw an extra sibling into the mix and family life will immediately improve. Guaranteed. (There is no way to scientifically test this theory, so we are going to assume it is an entirely accurate conclusion.)
Girls with brothers aren’t as catty. Boys with sisters are better at communication and relationships. Of course these are over generalizations, and there are plenty of men and women who have acquired these virtues in other fashions, but in my observation, these things are usually true.
[Disclaimer: I didn’t raise me or my family so maybe all of these benefits are because my parents are magical miracle workers. Maybe all of us children are simply magical miracles.]
So Mr. Dutch Bros., I’m not Mormon or Catholic or crazy. My mother is not a “baby making machine” as one person once said. Neither does my father have strange beliefs dating back to more chauvinistic time periods. We just love human life. And those human lives make my boat totally worth it.
Now get out of my face and give me my coffee.