In Defense of
My Large Family
By Silvano Purpura-Pontoniere
Just recently I read
something about the Child Free Movement. It is a
group of people who either don't want children themselves
or hate children with a passion. Some even go as
far as making up names for children, such as "---
Demons" and "Crotch Droppings."
I am part of a large family, so I am around children
all the time. I don't understand how people have
such animosity toward families like ours. It can
get frustrating, of course, but it will never get
so bad that I might feel compelled to hate anyone.
Sure, is a crowded house, living with eight other
brothers and sisters. There is always someone to
talk to, or to get on your nerves. Of course, it
didn't begin that way.
It started way back in 1988, when my oldest brother,
Ali, was born. A year later came another brother,
Eli. Then in 1991, I came into the picture. For
two years that I have no recollection of, we lived
as a family of three children. But then, a sister,
Lucia, joined, and only 14 months later came another
sister, Flavia. Two years after that, I had another
sister, Nina, followed two years later by a brother
named Attiano. Two years after THAT came another
brother, Liam, who preceded the last, another boy,
who went by the name of Roan.
I can't seem to remember living in a smaller family.
It just seems like it is always been a large group.
Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it tends
to get frustrating every now and then. The worst
part is probably the mess it creates. In the kitchen,
one of the younger kids (never me, I swear) will
make a shake, spill some on the counter and leave
it. Then another little one will change and leave
his clothes on the living room floor. And if someone
pulls down a board game, it is left out until someone
else comes along and takes care of it. Not all of
the kids are what some would call "responsible"
youths yet. In fact, about half are the exact opposite.
So there is never a time when there is not some
little disaster that needs to be taken care of.
But then there are all the kids to take care of
those little screw-ups. That task usually falls
down to the five oldest kids. But usually one or
two of those five, like Eli and Ali, are out with
friends, and another one or two are out at some
program, so it ends up that one or two very frustrated
people end up taking care of the glitches in the
system. Fortunately, it is not the same people every
day. Sometimes it is me and Eli, sometimes it is
just me, sometimes it is Ali and Lucia. We do have
chores and mine is sweeping the floor. But if I
am out, and my chore has to be done, it falls to
someone else. But then when that someone else is
out, I will wind up doing their chore. So in the
end it all works out pretty well, even if hardly
anyone realizes it.
And then come all the questions I run into from
anybody who just learned I come from such a large
family. And No. 1 on that list is: "Nine children!
How do your parents manage?" If that is your
question, don’t come asking me. I am at a
loss to how they manage. The best answer I can give
you: magic. I actually went home and asked my mother
and she said the same thing: magic.
A lot of my friends who are single children are
amazed that I have not gone crazy yet, but all the
adults who were single children that I have met
tell me that I am one of the luckiest people alive.
I don't know who to believe -- I guess they are
both right. Despite the mess it makes, and besides
the nerves that it very often frays, I believe that
having a large family is much better than being
a single child.
Of course, I have not had the experience of being
a single child. Sometimes you just want to be alone,
and whatever you try, you will always have a little
kid asking you questions, or bugging you about some
unimportant thing, or possibly even bugging you
about an important thing. It is impossible to try
to read a book, or watch an R-rated movie, or ANY
movie, without the little kids all over you. But
on those occasions when you want to have people
around, well, you don't even need to say the word.
They are already there.
- Pacific News Service