For the longest time we were known to everyone as the Brady Bunch. That all changed when John Paul came along. He threw the whole thing off! Ever since I can remember, my family has been growing, and yes, I’m talking about my immediate family: the Moore family. My earliest memories of a small, normal-sized family are when it was only me, Mom, Dad, Cordelia and Jimmy, moving to Springfield from Virginia and the five of us waiting on Joey to enter our lives. It has been fourteen years since then, with Joey being followed by Josh, Maria and, lastly John Paul. Three girls, four boys, what more could my parents ask for? Sounds like a lot of chaos, I know, but the camaraderie and lessons that come with being in a big family are irreplaceable. Through them I have learned sharing and caring, but more importantly about working together defeating the odds like a team, because that is what we are: a team. I am proud of our family of nine, and that’s why I firmly believe in strength in numbers, especially when it comes to family.
When people meet my parents they are quick to judge. In 2011's America, it is rare that you stumble upon someone with seven children. There are a couple common questions like, “Wow really, that many?” and “Are they all yours?” followed by snorts and the most annoying question, “Do you know what causes that?,” but my parents have grown used to the reactions and handle them quite well. Usually their response includes the phrases, “It’s never a dull day,” or “Its a party.” I feel the same way. There is always someone around to hear about your rough day at school and to cheer you up or to help you make hot chocolate after playing outside in the cold. As for us being a party, it is impossible for my family to go anywhere without bringing the party. Take Thanksgiving for example. Wherever we go for Thanksgiving, there is an official head-count of attendees sent to everyone bringing a dish. The number of guests is always really high. Then I realize that we make up a good portion the people attending. Who would have guessed?
A dinner at our house is like a restaurant during its busiest time of the day, and the customers (the kids) are just as impatient. My family does everything in large amounts. We had to buy a giant dining room table, so now we all have plenty of elbow space to not put our elbows on. We triple cookie recipes, but the results always turn out not being tripled because there are nine taste-testers. We buy twice as many gallons of milk and dozens of eggs, but these usually disappear when we need them the most. We turn every scrap of food into leftovers until there’s nothing left over. Moving away from just the food, we have enough socks for a small army, and we go through tubes of toothpaste like other families go through a pack of soda. The word excess is not in our vocabulary. Still, we are probably one of the thriftiest families around. We are always finding ways to stretch a dollar further, always dividing by nine. This is a good lesson played out perfectly in our big family because I know that if there were only three of us kids, we would not bother to save as much as we do now. We reuse and hand-down everything. This is true recycling, my dad says. It can be challenging for us at times, especially when it’s our third day of eating the turkey soup, from the turkey-ala-king, from the leftover turkey dinner. We like turkey; all big families like turkey. Even with this, I would never trade my family’s home-cooked meals and habits for eating out, just for one night.
Looking back at all the places I’ve been with my family, I can pin-point many moments where they have taught me valuable lessons. I’ve set a strong foundation to grow from these experiences, even when I did not originally see things that way. The best case would be endless hours of babysitting. For the first couple of years, I loathed babysitting. As it started to grow on me, I began to venture elsewhere and make money off of what every other family said was a skill of mine. How I acquired this skill was unknown to me, but my mom said it came naturally to me because I’m always helping to take care of our younger family members. Now, as a senior in high school, I babysit for over fifteen families on a regular basis, not including my own, and this has helped me to decide on what career I would like to go into: Pediatrics. Without the nudge from my parents and the cooperation of my siblings, I probably would have given up on a career with kids a long time ago. I am fully aware of the immense amount of support I will need as I make my way on this career path. The best part is that my family is behind me, still backing me up one hundred and nine percent.
Knowing that I can turn to any of my eight specialists to find an answer makes me feel confident. This brings me to the gap between different sized families. The thing that separates big families from smaller families is not a matter of more love or happiness, but rather a chance to conquer what the world throws at us by learning from each other. As the second oldest of seven, in a family of nine I have a lot of people that are close to me. I can rely on and learn from these eight other Moores like no one else. This is what makes me a strong person and unique in thought. Being a part of a big family, I understand that there is strength in numbers because I live by that every day of my life. I believe that I would not have the confidence and voice I have today if I were not part of a big family. I realize my family is a great gift to me from God, and I would not wish for it to be any other way. Mom, Dad, Cordelia, Jim, Joe, Josh, Maria, John Paul, you are the best part of my life and I love all of you very much. What Moore could I ask for? Maybe one Moore? This I believe.