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Fun Fact: My Big Fat Family

My office puts out a monthly “Fun Facts” on the department website. Given that I work for a home health care agency, and that we deal with the  evaluation and analysis of patient data, these posts can be interesting, but I would hardly call them fun. So, I decided to put together fun facts about myself. Hopefully, they’re entertaining, and it can turn into a series of fun facts in the weeks to come. This is all in the spirit of keeping me writing, despite my suddenly very busy life.

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When I tell people that I have five younger siblings, their eyes usually pop out of their heads. I suppose it’s impressive, but for me it’s just a fact of my life. The age differences between us is what I find more shocking. The youngest of my siblings, my little sister, is 19 years younger than I am. She just turned 13 a couple months ago, and a couple weeks after that, I turned 32. Needless to say, there was always a battle for my mom’s attention at home, one that I usually lost to my younger and more demanding siblings.

But, there were some benefits to being the eldest sibling, and I would say the most significant was being able to watch my younger siblings grow up. I have a ton of great memories of them doing and saying hilarious things. Like the time the youngest of my brothers got a battery stuck up his nose, and then expelled it by using what he called “the force.” Or the time the middle brother became so upset after getting a haircut which he felt made him “look ugly.” He must have been 3 or so years old, but even then he had a sense of style. And then there’s my little sister, who hasn’t stopped chatting since the moment she learned to talk, and somehow always manages to be hysterical.

One interesting fact is that they see me as an adult, and not just a big sister. When we were younger, this meant that they were fascinated by everything I did and were especially intrigued by my belongings. I once asked them in a rage why they insisted on sneaking into my room all the time and touching my stuff, and they told me: “It’s because you’re so cool!” and really meant it. It made me laugh, because I realized that I had never placed myself in their shoes and imagined what it would be like to have a much older sibling. It was a very strange setup indeed.

I lived at home until I was about 27. The lack of privacy and the incessant sound of children playing drove me bananas. Nowadays, I miss my siblings seeing me as a “super-sister,” (like a super-senior in high school) before they became teenagers way cooler than I am. Thankfully, I have a bunch of memories (and pictures) of their less cool days to deflate their big heads. Above is my youngest sister during her Hannah Montana phase, which she is now so over. The picture was taken on her 8th birthday.

Not a Morning Person

As a kid, my mom would wake me and my younger siblings up for school by cranking up some Spanish-language AM radio station. We were forced to sit through breakfast with the news and weather blasting at us. In addition to this torture tactic, my mom would cheerily remind us every day that it was time for school, as if she were describing a trip to Disneyworld. I think it took everything in us kids to contain our displeasure. We just sat there in silence seething, not even making eye contact.

The only positive association I have with mornings is sleeping in on Saturdays and watching cartoons. My favorite was Garfield and Friends. Garfield was my kind of cat. He was cynical, hated Mondays, loved to eat, and sleep was his favorite hobby. Needless to say, I’m not a morning person. I never wake up bursting with energy, and I consider it a good morning when I manage to leave the house without snapping at David. Nowadays, I wake up to his alarm, which happens to be set to National Public Radio. Clearly, he doesn’t believe I’ve suffered enough….

Despite the morning crabbiness and my generally cynical nature (which I truly believe I was born with), I consider myself a happy, positive person. I’ve learned to laugh at myself and accept these traits as part of who I am–only human. Life is so much easier this way. Some days (usually when David’s alarm is turned off), I even wake up in a good mood–thankful and full of love. That actually happened yesterday, but I later needed all the joy I could muster, because I had the commute from hell and was late for work. I still get kudos for managing to get through a good three quarters of it without rolling my eyes.