I Believe in Big Families

Laura - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 13, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in big families. I have an older brother, three older sisters, and a younger brother. I believe being part of this big family taught me many things: to share at a very young age, for we all had to share bedrooms, bathrooms, toys, even clothes; to live with other people; to be selfless and considerate. Having three older sisters taught me to be an independent and strong woman, but also sensitive and caring to those in need. Having a younger brother is teaching me patience and mercy, while my older brother has given me a strong example of who and what a man should be and how I should expect to be treated with respect. I believe each sibling has drastically impacted my life.

My best friend and worst enemy has always been, and hopefully will always be, my sister closest in age, Alyssa. I believe our success as sisters has derived from the fact that we have a big family. As children, we thoroughly enjoyed bothering our older sisters and scheming to be avenged for the many times they took advantage of our innocence. The endless amount of home videos we created makes me smile as I remember how incredible I thought our reenactments of Disney classics were. We often would get in trouble for fighting – she stole my Barbie, I stole her Cabbage Patch Kid – and would be separated; she in my parents’ room, I in ours. Within five minutes, the fight had been forgotten and we were standing in the doorways of the two rooms, across the hallway from each other, talking and playing again for we couldn’t stand to be separated. Now, instead of fighting over Barbie’s and Cabbage Patch Kids, we fight over who gets to drive or spend more time with our niece Adelyn. Our fights are just as trivial as they were ten years ago, and the inability to be separated just as severe, especially as she goes off to college in Virginia each fall. I believe this friendship, this sisterhood, would not have blossomed had we not been a part of a big family. I believe we would have tired of each other’s company, would not have seen our time together as a retreat from the craziness of life, from our other siblings.

My oldest brother has now been married for almost six years, and my second oldest sister has been married for three and one-half years. She is also a mom. My youngest brother will be starting driver’s training in the spring, and I will be heading off to college in the fall. We have grown in many ways, but we have not grown apart. My family is now made up of 11 members, a unique combination of individuals with different quirks and characteristics but one common, selfless love for each other. I believe my family has shaped me into who I am. I believe my parents raised us all to love one another and gave us the greatest blessing there is. I believe in big families.