Keeping Them Close: Tales from the Youngest of 9 Children (Part 1)

I remember, around 20 years ago, a young mother of several children approached me to ask about my closeness with my sister. I was in college then and my sister was a young professional.  I vividly remember how she wanted to know how we “got to that point.” What were your growing years like? What did your parents do?   Do you have suggestions on how to make siblings become close to one another?

A few days ago, I just spent 5 hours which went by so fast  with the same sister . We pretty much just chatted and shared much of what was in our hearts and minds. Come to think of it, I can do that with all my sisters and perhaps even  my brothers (but they may get bored!)  and their wives as well.

IMG_7155

I am the youngest of nine children and 14 years come between our eldest and me.   My mom was pregnant every  1-2 years and had undergone 2 miscarriages. We should have been 11. I should have been number 11,  our number 4 and 6 didn’t reach to full term :(. Looking forward to finally meeting them in heaven one day.

Keepingthemclose21
That’s me being held by Mommy Emma. Sister Nenette is taking care of brother John, Maricel is beside Mom then thats Joseph, Francis “Kiko” , then Angeli. With Dad are Felichi and Anthony.

 

Keepingthemclose08
L-R Nenette (Agnes) , Angeli (Anna) , Chel (Maricel, Rita) , Mommy Emma and Daddy Dony, Kiko with Buggy, Anthony, then Joseph with Chopper, In front : John, Me (not looking) and Felichi. Who cut my bangs? Daddy.

Maybe earlier, the age gap mattered a whole lot in fostering closeness and meaningful engagement. But then I started noticing myself, as I grew older, having different bonds with each one.

Keepingthemclose09

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 12.59.41 PM
Can you name my 8 siblings?

One only needs to sit within one of our frequent shared meals to know how much “engagement’ occurs. Many times, the crisscrossing of conversations, the butting in and quick  changing of  the subject, and all that comes in between drive my German brother in law crazy. I guess for as long he has his wine or beer,  I think love prevails over-all! We’re hopefully learning to lessen the craziness sometimes.

IMG_9134 IMG_9137

I guess, to describe this closeness, I often say, that on  a weekly basis, we kinda know what each one is generally going through and add to that, since many travel, where everyone is.  We use our social media threads to share the most hilarious jokes, memories or experiences to  serious concerns and ardent prayer requests! Sometimes, it only takes a few hours away from your phone to miss 100 messages on our threads!

Keepingthemclose23

So the nine eventually ballooned to  18 children and  28 grandchildren with 2 additional in laws! And I am quite encouraged to see the a level of closeness developing among the cousins for similar ages which span from 3 to 32!

Keepingthemclose03

Keepingthemclose24

We all know that  all  parents yearn for  their children to grow in friendship through brotherhood/sisterhood. Every parent desires to have children who genuinely love being together and love each other .

My siblings and I can sometimes be too close,  or maybe too enmeshed maybe. It’s kinda like the ‘TMI” saying. You know, too much information. We can be  too engaged with one another, and we’ve had to learn to adjust and re-adjust as each one became part of another family, and raising own our children.     Though we enjoy talking and spending time together, we have different personalities, passions, jobs, hobbies, habits, preferences. So when different people connect often, disagreements and conflicts are bound to happen.  And I have witnessed a whole lot of it through the years.

However, I am thankful that we all seek to be committed followers of Jesus who are  called to love like Him. Love unconditionally, through thick and thin.  That then becomes the secret to overcoming the conflicts. In the end, Jesus’  call to love one another prevails.

We are also blessed with parents who taught and modeled to  us the value of honoring one another through love, support, sacrifice and forgiveness through the different storms and seasons in our lives.

DSCF4099 2

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling  for our own family of 4 children is having our children have their own siblings as their first friends and classmates. I guess they have no choice but to really like each other genuinely because they’re the only ones they’ve got for some time.  With the older boys in regular high schools, they share a room during summers and weekends. I love their non-stop talking and  how they have found a common love for basketball (3 boys), Lego and Star Wars (all 4 , yes!) . Homeschooling, through daily interaction and joint experiences of fun and learning,  seem to have created a good ground for closeness to bloom and I am hoping and praying this carries on to adulthood and unto to their own families/ children as well.

IMG_9860 IMG_0729 IMG_4572

 

IMG_5203

My sister in law in my husband’s side observed the closeness among our children and asked me what Gilbert and I did to foster that.  It’s not as if “closeness”  became a goal,  I guess, you just naturally related with one another and treated each other in the setting  of warmth,  positivity, love and yes, with lots of fun in loads of quantity of time ( something HomesCool provides).  That comment made me think for some time. I  eventually asked my own siblings what they believe were instrumental in keeping the bonds close as we grew up. I shall share them to you in another post very soon. Keep checking the blog for Part 2 then!

 

Hebrews 13:1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.

 

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *