“How many are you in the family?” I like answering this question. People usually don’t expect my answer, so I wait for the surprised looks (you know, eyes popping, mouth hanging open, people doing double takes like they misheard me) because it’s so amusing. Yes, ten’s a lot for most people, but I figure it’s just about right. With ten in the family, you don’t need to get up from the toilet when you realize there’s no more toilet paper. Nope, just yell for someone and voila instant toilet paper–no need to get up from the toilet or anything! (Oh yeah, have I mentioned there are no boundaries too?) But if you think I’m just concerned about my toilet paper (which I am), I care about other things too.
Like having my own band.
I’ve always wanted my own band. When you’re ten in the family, you’ll have enough people to play everything from the guitar and the drums, to the violin and the triangle (the baby gets the triangle). You even have singers and back-up singers! (I’m not musically inclined, so I’m always the band manager.) And if we’re not in a singing mood, then we can always pick a sport (any sport) and have our own sports team! I’m not much of a sports person myself, but because we’re so many, I can be the head cheerleader, and there will still be enough people to cheer for.
Jackson 5? Try the Jackson 10!
Having so many extra arms and legs
I won’t lie, but having ten people in one household ain’t a walk in the park. There’s the astronomical amount of food you have to cook, the humongous piles (plural) of laundry, and there’s always (and I mean ALWAYS) a bunch of toys littered in one area of the house. If it’s not in the bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen, then you’re tripping over them in the hallway. Okay, but despite all of these factors, having ten people in one household also means you have nine extra pairs of arms and legs to help you out! Just think about it, you can delegate four arms to do laundry, two arms to set the table, another four arms to do the dishes, two arms (and legs) to babysit, two arms to pick up ketchup from the nearest convenience store because someone may have spilled it all over the kitchen counter, another two arms to clean the ketchup spill, and you still have an extra pair of arms on standby in case someone spills something else.
Having no wasted food
When I go visiting friends who have just gotten married or friends with one or two kids, they’re always worried about food. “We have to eat this carbonara already or it’s going to get panis,” or “This pancit has been in the fridge for so long already! We have to eat it!” These kinds of phrases are never heard in our household. We have the opposite problem. We never worry about food being wasted or getting rotten because it’s gone the minute the food is put on the table. And if someone somehow manages to have some leftovers on his or her plate, that’s also gone in a few seconds.
Poof. Gone. Like magic.
“Mom, I need a new shirt.”
“Why? Borrow from your brothers. You can choose your size–small, medium, or large.”
“But Marco’s shirt is too big and Alfonso’s shirt is too small!”
“Just use Marco’s shirt. You’ll grow into it.”
Mom saved ₱300 in that conversation. And when you have that conversation with all your kids, that’s… uh… too much math for me to do, but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot of money saved.
Never being bored
When you have a bunch of kids running around the house playing a game that looks like a mix between a Nerf gun war and a safari expedition, another one worrying about schoolwork, someone else trying to find a lost pair of socks that somebody else might have borrowed, someone asking for permission to go out on a week night of all nights, another one trying to ask for more money (not gonna happen), and someone chasing after the dog who just so happened to run free, you have no time to be bored. AT ALL. How can you? With so much happening within ten feet of you, how can you possibly get bored? You’ll always have something to do. If it’s not fixing something, answering someone, or attending to a boo boo, it’s probably going to be chasing after that runaway dog.
Never being lonely
Somebody once asked me, “Are you ever lonely?” HA. HA. HA. What a funny question!
(Well, okay, the person who asked me this question didn’t know I had a big family… but I still laughed waaaay too hard.) When you have nine other people in the house (plus a dog), there will always be someone in the house to talk to, to annoy, and to hear you out (even if they don’t want to).
Having more reasons to celebrate
Here’s a math problem I can solve! Ten people multiplied by one birthday a year means ten birthdays to celebrate!!! (Well, 11 if we include the dog.) But it’s not just birthdays we celebrate, there’s graduations or moving up days, first communions, and confirmations to name a few. So the new math problem would be ten people multiplied by (approximately) four means around 40 reasons to celebrate!!! Yup, we just love to party!
Usually, after people have digested the fact that we’re ten in the family, I expect this follow up question: Isn’t it hard? It is. I won’t lie. The piles of laundry and all the other chaotic happenings are just a sneak peek into our lives. But you know what I tell people who ask me that? It’s fun. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s also fun, and (dare I say it?) there’s a lot of love that goes around. So much so that I’ll even be cliche and cheesy about it and say that I wouldn’t trade it for the world.