Big family = Big family reunion

It’s simple math, really. No algebra needed here. If God blesses a husband and a wife with a large family, say, eight or so, the time will come when the family shops for a larger vehicle or a bigger house. The car or cars is a much easier choice, of course, because unless one breaks current laws and people sit in layers, one has to accommodate car seats and children growing into gangly young adults. Houses, on the other hand, are a little tricky. A person could buy or build a house with enough room for each child to have their own room, but most larger families I know see the wisdom of the bonding that accompanies bedroom sharing. Sharing a bedroom reveals, ahem, our sinful tendencies, and in turn shows us where we need to grow. And, yet, this sharing of quarters tends toward close bonds, as well.

Houses are tricky, as I say, because of the dynamics of adult children returning home. As children grow and find or make employment, and go off to college and marry, they somehow find transportation that suits them. This may be a preference for their own two feet, or something with two wheels or four. In short, what vehicle once served the large family gradually has space for friends and groceries and even farm animals. But, when children return, either by themselves, or with their own growing family, the house needs more room, not less. Even if the next generation prefers camping on the lawn or getting a hotel, a family might now have to consider how to arrange everyone in the same room. What of pictures, or Thanksgiving dinner, or just simple conversation?

Family holidays and gatherings, in my childhood, with my mother and her five siblings, extended from the kitchen through the dining room, and into the living room. People at the “big” table actually had chairs for sitting. Those of us on the younger end of the cousin pool often sat at the card table.  Two of us shared the piano bench; one person sat on the high kitchen stool that we sat on for hair cuts and for reaching items stored next to the ceiling in the closet; the last person folded himself into a question mark sitting on the top step of the two-step utility stool. But, hey, we were all in the same group.

As we grew, we had times where renting a building at the fairgrounds was the better part of wisdom. Camping was a hoot. We rented group areas or filled up the circled cabins at the state park.

In short, big families mean big family reunions, eventually. It’s something to think about. It’s also something to remember. Good times, even for an introvert.