Of Siblings; Though We Are Many and Poor We’ll Always Be Family

My mother had eight children—that’s a lot of bambinos. But as life would have it, one day we were only six. But can you imagine our family of six children, plus Mom and Dad, in a small home, and sharing one bathroom? Bad-enough it was hard to hold it, half the time, squeezing your legs and butt-cheeks together, banging on the door, yelling for the occupant to HURRY! But then really imagine what it was like when the entire household came down with that 24-hour flu, with disasters coming from both ends. I do not forget those days.

I remember Mamá had lined up buckets in the hallway, outside the bathroom in the ready, but I’m sure accidents and major clean-ups was something she could count on when you have that many children. And though she managed to hold her little troop together, keeping everything from falling into utter chaos, I’m sure she was tearing out her hair and crying when she had the chance to do so.

We didn’t eat fancy in those days—not when you have that many mouths to feed and only one source of income flowing—but we did fill our bellies: rice, beans, bread and milk were a common staple in our home. So no-one went hungry. Mamá looked for sales when shopping and took advantage when she could find them. We didn’t indulge with Prime Rib or New York Steaks back then (though Mamá snuck a New York steak for Dad once-in-a-rare-while), but we did eat meat: round steak, flank steak, and oxtail, those cuts were much, much cheaper, back-in-the-day, and occasionally treated to London broil.

The children all had very diverse personalities: the shy, the brave, the ambitious, the lazy, the smart ones and the not-so smart (not dumb, just slower than the smart ones!). Some of us, like me, got into a lot more trouble than the rest, hence the “not so smart.” Some graduated from college with mention and honors, while others just didn’t bother to further their education after high school.

My mother had five boys and three girls; and of the three girls I am the eldest. I would also like to mention that my two younger sisters were the ones gifted with very ample bosom, and so what I always felt was deprived. However I was “gifted” with a big butt, a feature my sisters “wished” they’d had, so they keep telling me.

Oh-yeah, how happy that made me all these years; I can’t even begin to tell you!

Though I had no desire to have that many children, I have loved being part of a large family. I now see that I am just one piece of a great puzzle, and this has given me a sense of belonging and great pride!


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