27 Sep All in the Family
by Barbara Padolina
Barbara is happily married and the mother of a large family. The family enjoys going on family trips (road ones are the best!), watching films together and sharing home-cooked meals with those invited to their home. This article was written for her blog Mom At Large and is reprinted with permission.
Allow me to gush: I love being a part of a large family! Eight kids, all singletons –thank you very much! I have friends who have more than eight, and some who are close to the number. For now, we (my husband & I) are at “eight”. God willing, we will be blessed with more.
I have a very good friend who has told me more than once that being a part of a large family is an education in real life itself. Consider this: you do not always get your way. You must watch where you are going or else risk trampling on some poor, unsuspecting smaller member who has yet to learn how to walk. You must be on time for everything, including and most especially meals. (Hunger seems to preclude counting of heads to make sure everyone gets their share.)
On paper, we do not look too promising: one-income earner, stay-at-home mom, lots of mouths to feed. But life is not lived on paper, and the truth is we have what we need, and oftentimes more than what we need. Whatever we may lack materially, we more than make up for with the sense of family that is so much a part of our life.
Is this experience limited to large families only? Thankfully, it is not. It may be more pronounced in a large family because of the ever-present need to help one another. Rooms are almost always shared by siblings. Things are passed down from an older sibling to a younger one. There is a natural need to consider the others. The same sense of family can and should be present in all families, regardless of size.
When we take on the considerations of the mother of a large and poor family (as a saint I am greatly fond of liked to say), what is most important comes to the fore. The non-essentials fall by the wayside. We use things well and are not frivolous with what we have. We look out for each other. We try to do our work well because what we do matters. There is no room for selfishness because there are always others to bear in mind. And what a great blessing it is to have others to consider in the quiet of our hearts and to fill us with joy!
We are all connected with each other — our very humanity underscores this truth. It is a gift we must pass onto and teach our children about. Our kids need to learn how to be compassionate, understanding, concerned for others. In other words, our children need to know how to love. And we are each blessed with opportunities to teach them by example, every single one of them.