day 16 – big, catholic families

I grew up in a small family, but married into a major catholic clan. My husband has seven siblings. His father has fifteen. The first time I met his extended family was at his parent’s 25th wedding anniversary. Over one hundred relatives and friends were packed into their farm house. Intimidating? Not much!!! It took me ten years before I could remember all the names and relations. I also had to learn how to take a regular recipe and multiply it to serve twenty or more hungry souls in one sitting.  Here’s a tip. Don’t offer several choices of dessert thinking they’ll be enough for all. Some are bound to say “one of each, please”!

My husband and I chose to have a larger family ourselves. Large, that is, by today’s standards. Saying that we chose to have five children is often met with incredulity. After all, we’re Catholics. And, isn’t this what Catholics do? And, isn’t it usually not on purpose? Yes, it was on purpose. I had the luxury of being a stay-at-home Mom to our five children as they were growing up. It was a luxury that I didn’t take for granted.

Although we look back on those busy days and wonder how we did it, we wouldn’t have changed a thing. Raising a larger clan was exhausting and challenging, but there were many laughs along the way. Events that were horrifyingly embarrassing at the time were guaranteed to be spun into a tale for future telling. Today, initiation into our family includes being forced to listen to these same stories being told over and over. Each time there is more embellishment and laughter. Humor is one of the best tools for life. Our kids have the gift, and it will serve them well when it`s time to start a family of their own.