Happy Children’s Day: Growing Up in a Large Family.

The stares from people when they see that y’all are seven or those that can’t seem to hide their amazement, you start hearing questions like, are you guys really seven? A question that is swiftly accompanied by Are you guys from the same mother and father? (no oo we had two fathers and two mothers). Then they conclude by saying your parents tried oo, (thank you, I get the message ngwa move biko).

In some cases when you see a large family, especially within my tribe (Igbo), it could be in a quest for a male child. Many Igbo men are obsessed with having a male child. In some cases, the woman also feels like having a male child secures her a place in her husband’s house (story for another day). This was not in the case in my family.

  • For Children’s Day.

I wrote this post to commemorate Children’s Day. At first, I thought of relieving our most memorable experiences as kids growing up in a large household. But the examples are numerous because we were all very mischievous, from playing football in our parents’ parlour to attempting to cook a meal in our backyard with a devil’s beans plant (we suffered the repercussions). I remember vividly when we forgot our last born at a party after filling our bellies with jollof rice and fried meat and we didn’t even notice, till we got home and my mum asked of her last born, then we had to organise a search party among ourselves, thank God a good Samaritan brought her home.

Although as a young girl, I often wondered why I had so many siblings, as opposed to my other friends. Growing older, this makes me marvel at the strength of my mother and how she keeps holding everything together. I take it as a rare blessing, and I am forever grateful that I get to be in a family filled with so much diversity, and yet we have so many similarities.

  • Trusting God.

Living with 6 siblings helps you understand people better and not judge them (because what have we not seen). It also helps you to stay grateful with each passing day and to depend on God for everything.You know how the bible says that nothing can separate us from the love of God, not hunger, sickness accidents and near-death experiences? We have all had examples of God coming through for us-both as a family and individually. The beauty of being a child of God is that He is mindful of you as an individual and as a member of the group.
The fact that we share in each other’s joy, for example, passing WAEC, gaining admission to higher institutions and graduating with honours, we also get to share in pains such as accidents and failures in examinations.

  • On Diversity and a Melting Pot.

We argue a great deal and we fight regularly as expected. My mum was so frustrated, at some point she suggested that we all go for a family deliverance session to pray against the powers from our father’s house.

We watched television to stupor, it is surprising that everyone in the house is pretty smart and we seemed to know how to do the right thing at the right time because there was no routine.
Many of my friends marvel at the extent of my knowledge on some unusual things. This is because while some of my siblings are interested in following wrestle mania, others want to watch champions’ league and NBA, and some of us just want to watch MTV Base. But the truth is, we had access to only one television so by default we had to keep up with a variety of TV shows, that’s the beauty of diversity.

One thing we all have in common is our love for food in all shapes and forms. My mum once recommended that we all eat from a very big tray,but she soon discovered that it was a very bad idea (survival of the fittest issues).

Of course, there is always plenty gist from wherever we come together and the good thing is that my siblings and I are scattered across many states within the country so the gist never ends.

The funny part is when members of the public says you guys look alike and, to be honest I cannot see the resemblance or when my friends claim that , my sisters and I really sound alike.

Above all, these experiences has taught me to love especially in harsh conditions. I have also learnt that sometimes love means being silent and allowing those you to make mistakes and learn from them (tough lessons).

  • Being Grateful and Taking Responsibility.

Being responsible for each other is something that we hold on to strongly. I remember when my elder brother completed his secondary education and he had to take my younger sister to school everyday, because she was so young and her commute was quite long. One day he got into a fight with the bus conductor in a bid to get their balance, trust Lagos conductors (them go pass your bus stop). This is one of the multiple examples of occasions where we had to fight for each other as opposed to fighting against each other.

One lesson trait that has stayed with me is the act of taking responsibility, and leading by my actions and not merely by words. I remember how scared I was growing up and constantly praying that my siblings turn out well.I dreaded being the one with 6 siblings who would be giving me High Blood Pressure, But I am thankful to God, always coming through.

I am happy I get to call these ones family. The truth is that for a while I have shied away from talking about my siblings as a group, maybe because I am protective of them and I sincerely do not appreciate people trying to judge and rationalise my household, but these days I am so thankful.

When God gives you a blessing,you stay grateful.

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