Life Is But A Breath

In watching the weather channel, and understanding that summer has arrived, we began talking about growing up with large families.  My husband mentioned that his parents would throw all seven children in the back of their 1954 Blue Chevrolet Bel Air with no air conditioning, and drive everyone off to their aunt’s house.  Of course, a 1954 Chevy anything back then probably equaled the size of a 2011 General Motors Yukon Denali today.

But, it sparked the topic of big family units.  Myself, together with two of my closest friends were the only daughters born to our parents, and I have always been a bit envious of sizeable ones.  Let’s face it, with so many siblings the chum factor is built-in.    Although, it’s been explained to me that not all of them get along.  Each person has a favorite; I find that a tad strange.  Coming from a single child home, I’ve been told I have no idea.  My defense, I always seem to need one when this topic arises and I guess that is my ghost, but, for a while I lived with a cousin and we were very close, like being born of the same mother.  But, my significant other’s head begins to wag as he insinuates, no – nope – not the same.  I understand it has something to do with being from the same womb.  Pff…what do I know.

But let’s discuss large versus small.  In the first group there are no leftovers to serve for dinner; bedrooms are shared; some may have to forfeit Christmas gifts, and when eating out they’re usually made to drink water, since anything over four sodas is costly.  On the other hand, in a one kid house, the same thing is served until it’s gone – two or three nights even; the individual has their own bedroom; tons of gifts for Christmas, and as much soda as they want.  Is everyone getting the picture?  And, of course, my preference would be to have at least one other soul with which to share memories of mother.

We have a set of cohorts where the husband is from an enormous brood, and he makes fun of his wife by saying her relatives could have their family reunion in a coat closet.  Well, guess what, so could mine.  His on the other hand rents three or four beach houses.  Has anyone seen these beach properties?  They sleep ten – twelve – fifteen people.  My co-worker has theirs at Disney and rents a block of rooms.

By now, we’ve established that many brothers and sisters add up to numerous pals, which in turn is equivalent to countless bodies in the house at any given time.  I remember my mother-in-law’s house at – let’s say Independence Day or Labor Day.  Those times spelled  giant outings; cronies of seven people, including the parent’s buddies, and by the time I came along that meant grandchildren and their comrades as well.  Whew!  That’s a lot of folk.  Now, back before myself, and the grand’s that still came up to a vast amount.  But, what I remember most of my mother-in-law is that she loved – loved having a crowd around, the bigger the number the happier it made her.  I guess that’s the thinking pattern when you make the decision to have four or more offspring.  All in all, added youngsters mean extra aunts and uncles, which comes down to a great quantity of cousins, other relatives, and lastly a whole bunch of acquaintances.  Summing it up, not only am I jealous, but I’m developing a migraine.

Digesting what I’ve discussed here, I can say that what I have learned through the years is that life certainly takes on a different meaning when they begin to lose each other.  For someone like me, who grew up as an only child and all the stuff that comes along with that label, it saddens me when I hear of siblings who have gone years without speaking.  By the time we reach a certain age, we have to grasp the reality that life is but a breath.

Photo courtesy of iStock Photo

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4 thoughts on “Life Is But A Breath

  1. Hi Ronni –

    Your post made me think of the many times my Dad would decide he wanted a Nathan’s hot dog.

    I grew up in Brooklyn about 45 minutes from Coney Island and the original Nathan’s. There were many an evening, usually at about 10:30, when he would get the urge to nosh. He would put us all in the car Mom, my sister, her husband, their three kids (in their jammies), my brother and my grandmother.

    We’d laugh and sing our way down Coney Island Avenue. I never remembered the trip back. I was usually asleep. But the memories have lasted many, many years.

    Thanks for the post and for giving me an opportunity to remember some fun times with everyone.

    • Ruth: Those do sound like great memories. I too grew up in Brooklyn, and spent many days on the boardwalk and eating hot dogs at Nathan’s – before we moved to Queens, that is. Although, like I said I was an only child, I do also remember those trips with my parents, usually my mom’s aunt and uncle, and my grandmother. But, not only Coney Island, we also made those trips to Prospect Park, because the carousel there was my favorite. Used to cry when it was time to leave as a child. Those times were the best. In praise of family, huh??? !end

  2. Good post and you make an excellent observation. My hubby has a brother who is on the outs with him over something petty. I agree that’s sad stuff and we should cherish our family.

    • Thanks for your comment. I guess I struck a nerve you’re my second today. Family is the most important thing, and believe me, mine is dwindling to a one hand count. !end

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