This girl’s name is Regina, and she comes from a large family. Guess how many siblings she has? Two, three? Ha! Six! If she had to tell the story of her life several years ago, she would have been a real drama queen. Now her attitude is completely different. So what changed? She’s going to tell you!
As she mentioned, her parents had seven kids, and she’s the fourth – right in the middle. Her parents are the children of Italian immigrants, and they think that a family ought to be big, as they are in southern Italy where her grandparents are from. Her dad is a businessman and he works a lot to earn a living, and her mom is a housewife who takes care of the kids. And now Regina will give you some insight into what it means to live in a large family.
In short, it can be a nightmare. There’s not a big age difference between Regina and her siblings, so they all grew up more or less together. When she was little, she didn’t even see a problem in having such a big family. It meant that you always had someone to play with! She was luckier than most of the kids she knew, because she didn’t know what the word “bored” meant. Well, when you’re young, you don’t need too much to feel happy.
But then you when you start growing up, you begin to realize that something is wrong. At some point, you begin to feel that you don’t want to play all the time, and need to have a rest from all the yelling and talking going on around you, and you want find a quiet corner to read a book or do your homework. These are Italians, remember? No one knows how to talk without shouting! So you start wandering around the house looking for an empty room. With no success! There are people EVERYWHERE! And as soon as they see you, they start talking, asking questions, even quarrelling. Guys, she would appreciate just 10 minutes of silence, and preferably solitude! No way. She had to retreat under the staircase like some Harry Potter, but can you imagine that sometimes there were people even there!
The thing was that her parents both had lots of siblings, which means that she had loads of cousins. She’s not sure about the exact number of cousins she has herself. And some of them were always hanging around at her place, just visiting. Well, it’s funny for one day, two, maybe three. If she wanted to reveal the whole truth about living in a large family, she could go on for hours. What you need to know is that if you’re an individualist and want to live your life peacefully in silence, you basically need to wait until you go to college, and pray that it comes quickly.
The first time Regina thought it was not that bad was when she suddenly started having problems with her classmates. Someone thought it would be fun to bully her – she won’t go into details, but it was unfair and unpleasant. She didn’t even think that her family could turn out handy in this kind of situation. Once she came home looking very upset, and her older brothers asked her what was wrong. She’s never heard a bad word at school since, never ever. She was sincerely grateful to them, and that’s when she first thought that maybe having a big family is not such a disadvantage.
Another time, she failed to prepare a science project at school on time. She was trying to present the idea of DNA extraction from strawberries, and the night before she was supposed to present it she realized that she had done something wrong and screwed up everything. She felt absolutely devastated. Her sister saw that something was wrong and asked her what the problem was, and Regina started crying. But her sister mobilized all of their other siblings at once to help her – someone did the experiment, someone wrote the lab diary, and even the youngest ones helped to mash the strawberries. It was all ready in no time. When she thanked them she felt really ashamed – she had been so mean to them, and they just helped without asking questions because they were all family.
But the complete change in her outlook came to her when she brought her first boyfriend home for the first time. He was an only child, quite reserved and calm. She thought he would be shocked by her family madhouse. He was greeted warmly by everyone – her parents, her siblings, her cousins, everyone talking and laughing. Everyone was very friendly. At some point she saw that he was getting misty-eyed. “What’s wrong? Did they offend you?” He responded: “You’ve always told me how irritating your family is! You don’t even realize how lucky you are! Do you know how stressful it can be to sit alone in silence in your room all your life? Your family is adorable!”