Family. Comes in different sizes.
Me? I’m Chinese. Not a racist statement but being Chinese means, I come from a huge family.
And when I say huge, I mean humongous.
I have cousins who I’ve never met and probably will never meet.
But seriously. There are first world problems that only people with big families will ever understand. Let me give you a list and you be the judge.
1. Secrets are NON-existent
There’s no such thing as keeping secrets. If you tell one cousin, another cousin will find out until your whole clan knows.
But then again, once it spreads throughout the family, it doesn’t leave that circle.
2. Space is always a challenge
Even a 10-seater van isn’t enough to transport the entire family. Family reunions are always a pain in the ass logistically, especially on weddings. How exactly are you going to carry 50-70 people without renting a bus?
How about when your first degree cousins come to visit? Some have to be okay with sleeping standing up.
3. Family Tree assignments are meant to be burned
When I was in high school, we were taught a bit about genealogy. And one of our projects is to create a family tree of 3 generations which means my grandparents, my uncles, and aunts and all of my cousins included.
My dad has six siblings, and so does my mom. Each of them has at least 4-5 kids. Just imagine how big my project turned out to be when I turned it over to the teacher.
4. Eating out is avoided
Well, not all the time but as much as possible. Eating out in our family is scheduled precisely on days when the entire family IS NOT together.
Of course, the more capable adults chip in to cover the bill but there are always the relatives who say they don’t have cash and will pay you back. That statement is the same as Gone with the Wind.
5. Birthdays are never only about you
Chances are, your birthday is a day away from your other cousin or aunt or another relative. There are multiple birthday celebrants in the same month so to be economical; your birthdays are turned into a grand family reunion.
Which means, every month that has a birthday is a family reunion.
6. Cooking for the family = catering for a party
Yes, there will be lots of dishes piled up at the end of the night and whoever’s turn it was to take care of food would have saved himself or herself including their immediate family just to prep enough food for the percentage of the clan who are coming.
Not to mention those who decided to show up at the last meeting. Every dish has to be jumbo or giant size. Leftovers are nothing to worry about, though. Every family represented would want to take some home.
7. Christmas shopping means breaking the bank
In big families, it’s not about getting presents just for your super immediate family. It means gifts for all you uncles, aunties, cousins, nieces and nephews.
It means saving up the entire year just to be able to afford it. Even a millionaire would cringe.
The bright side to this, you get to receive as many presents as you give away. Win-win? Maybe.
8. There is no such thing as peace and quiet
Expect a constant chatter throughout the house if your family is over. Everyone is talking about some other relative, dishing up the latest gossip or news.
Your room which used to be your place of privacy is filled with cousins chatting or playing video games. Your parent’s room which is supposed to be off limits have all your aunts and your mom trying on her latest addition to her wardrobe.
Don’t even get me started on the family room. You dad and all your uncles will be there talking business or sports. The backyard will just be crawling with your younger cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Try the roof or the attic if you have one. Maybe you’ll get some quiet there. I don’t guarantee it, though. Every big family has, at least, two slightly weirder relative who likes to recluse.
9. You have relatives you haven’t even met
To an extent, your knowledge of names is limited to relatives you spend time with. The rest? You’d be asking your mom who they are and how are you related.
Your mom would be thinking and then realize she doesn’t have a clue.
A bit extreme but you might have to keep flash cards with their name and faces on them. Review your flashcards before a reunion.
10. Guest lists are a dreadful thing
So you’re getting married. Woot woot!
Uh, not really. It will indeed be a happy day because you get to start living the rest of your life with the one but planning a wedding? Bleach.
Don’t get me wrong; I love weddings. It’s the figuring out the guest list part that’s troublesome.
If you come from a big family, you have to invite everyone. Otherwise, you’d be wondering how many relatives of yours, whether you know them by name or not, would be offended for not being invited to YOUR wedding.
So basically, your guest list of 150 consists of 50% relatives and the rest a mixture of your husband’s relatives, both of your friends and co-workers and his boys.
If your husband came from a big family too, well, you both better be financially prepared or get married secretly.
11. Saying goodbye takes forever
A bit exaggerated but trust me on this. You get up 20 minutes ago to head to the door, and everyone stops and asks, “Leaving so soon?”. Then it would be another good 10-15 minutes of talking, hugs and kisses.
By the time you get out the door, your watch would tell you spent another hour trying to get through the front door.
A whole new level of goodbye etiquette comes to play when visiting grandparents in a retirement home. Everyone is on their best behavior and leaving with tears in their eyes.
I know this feeling all too well.
As you can see, friends, these family struggles are too real to be disregarded.
Coming from a big family myself, I know all of these all too well. I have experienced it first hand.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being part of a big family. Almost everywhere I go, there’s always a relative who will take me in whenever I needed a place to crash.
Being a part of a big family has its downsides, but there are also a lot of pros. You grow up with your cousins and don’t have to do high school alone. You automatically have your crew. You become good friends with your younger aunts and your younger uncles, and male cousins become your protectors.
Whenever there is a dire family need, there are many that you can count on.
Big families rock. Extra fun. Extra love. And of course, extra loud. But we still love them nonetheless.
Are you part of a big family? Share your stories or struggles in a comment below!