Growing up as the youngest of 12 children was a wild ride. It's always been a huge part of my identity and what makes me unique. It's also my favorite stat to share with someone I just met... most people respond the same way:
"What was THAT like?!"
"What was Christmas like?"
"Are you Mormon?"
"No, then you must be Catholic."
"I couldn't even imagine. How did your parents do it?"
With a sense of humor, humility, compassion and whole lotta faith... that's how my mom and dad did it. Unfortunetly for my mom, she was always the one who would receive the worst criticism (no shocker there!) All of her adult life, my mom was judged for having "too" many kids. Well needless to say she had some time to come up with fantastic one liners.
Like when the popular question would arise "How could you divide your love 12 ways?" my mom would simply respond "I didn't divide, I multiplied my love."
Or when the judgy neighborhood mom drunkenly asked my mom "What's it like being married to a sex maniac?" my mom responded "I don't know. Ask my husband."
She was the best!!!
But my favorite line she used to say that has now become my very own life anthem:
"We put the FUN in dysfunction"
Now it's no secret this life has handed me some heavy blows and euphoric highs. In less than a decade I have; buried my mom, birthed a child with congenital heart defects, suffered miscarriage and stillborn losses and fight daily as an advocate for my special needs child. But my life has also blessed me with 3 amazing children and a loving husband that are my world. The days are long. The years are short. And I have learned to approach each experience with humility, compassion, a sense of humorand a whole lotta faith... just like my mom, who I strive most to be like in life.
So it's not surprising that I feel most grounded and happy when I am with my family, identitfying most as being a part of this amazing crew. With a vessel of this size, sometimes a crew member falls overboard but there's always a crew to save them. Sometimes a crew member might drift apart but not before a crew is there to bring them back to shore. And we wouldn't be here if not for our beloved Captain and his First Mate.
Are families dysfunctional? yep!
Are families fun? Absolutely!
I usually follow the dysfunction line up with "we fight hard but we love harder." My parents have blessed me with an abundance of siblings to have my back, wipe my tears and cheer me on throughout this ride called motherhood. And I am very proud to say I am 100% the person, the wife, the mother I am today because of my big, (yes Catholic) compassionate, dysFUNctional family of 12!