Living In a Family of Nine

by Marisol Cortez, SUNY Cortland

Posted in on Wednesday, Apr 30


“It’s a girl,” said the doctor to my mother. Yes, another girl. I was the third girl in a row to be born to my family. You can imagine what my parents must have been thinking: Not another girl! Well, my parents had no choice because here I am. After me, my mother thought she was done; she didn’t want any more kids. Why would she? A fourth child might turn out to be a girl, too! However, a year later my mother gave birth to another child, a boy. Four lovely children and two parents; this was surely the perfect family. Well, not exactly.

When I was two-years old, my parents got divorced. I would say the divorce was difficult for me, but I was too young to even know what was going on. Not too long after the divorce, my mother found someone else. My siblings and I quickly became attached to my mom’s friend and called him our father. However, mom’s boyfriend had two children in a foster home because his wife had passed away. I guess my mother really loved him because she adopted his two children. My mother then had six children, four girls and two boys. Then when I was four years old, my mother and father had another boy. My parents were excited because the new child was their only child together. Now, how in the world were my parents supposed to maintain seven children?

When I was younger, my family moved from house to house so many times I couldn’t even count. Sometimes our house was too small for the family, sometimes it was too big. One time our house was robbed, another time our house flooded. My family never seemed to be content with where we lived. Moving was never fun; you can only imagine how much stuff we had to pack, carry back and forth, and unpack. Good thing there were nine of us. Since there were four girls in my family, my sisters and I had no choice but to share rooms, no matter where we moved. Sometimes the boys all had to share a room and other times my older stepbrother would have his own room. Privacy at home was hard to come by and things were pretty chaotic.

All seven of us kids had different personalities. My older stepbrothe,r Roberto thought he was big and tough. As Roberto got older, he engaged in gang activity and my parents had a very difficult time controlling his behavior. On the bright side, Roberto was the funny one in the family; he always knew how to make us all laugh. Today, Roberto is doing much better. Roberto lives with his girlfriend and they have an adorable son.

My oldest sister, Lisa, was fun to be with. Most of the time Lisa was the babysitter and she always came up with fun games to play. Other than when Lisa was babysitting she didn’t really spend too much time with the family. Now Lisa is married and has two beautiful daughters. My second oldest sister, Josalyn, was and still is my favorite. Everyone says Josalyn and I look and act alike. Josalyn and I always did everything together when we were younger and she and I always shared a room. Even though Josalyn is not as smart as me, she still graduated from college and has a degree as an Administrative Assistant. My other stepsister, Lilly, is quite an introvert. My siblings always tried to make Lilly feel comfortable, but she preferred to be by herself most of the time. Lilly lives in Florida right now and is planning on getting married in May. My brother’s name is Tony. Tony likes sports and cars very much. I was always entertained growing up with Tony. Now Tony lives in Puerto Rico and just recently proposed to his girlfriend. How exciting! My younger brother, Roberto Jr., is one confused child. Roberto Jr. followed after Roberto and has the same attitude. Roberto Jr. never finished high school, but he did get his GED. I am very proud of Roberto Jr. because he plans on going to college soon. Also, Roberto Jr’s girlfriend is going to have a baby girl in a few months.

Growing up in my large family had several advantages. I never felt alone. When I needed to talk, someone was always nearby. Most of the time there was someone to play with; I could never be bored. But if everyone happened to be too busy, I always had a book to read to entertain myself. The good thing about having three sisters was that we had a large selection of clothing. My sisters and I were all just about the same size, so we shared clothes when we wanted to. I was very grateful that there were fewer chores for each person to do since there were so many people in my family. Every Saturday was clean-up day and I used to hate it. My mother always had a list of things to do with everyone’s names next to it; that way no one complained or fought over certain chores. Even though I hated doing chores altogether, my siblings always made it fun. My parents were the strictest parents in the world. When my siblings and I were younger, the only time we had some freedom was when our parents threw parties at our house and were too busy to pay attention to us. Those were the best times!

Now, of course, living in a large family is not always good. No such thing as privacy existed in my house. Sometimes when I wanted to spend a moment alone, people would bug me. When I did not want to share my clothes with my sisters, my sister Lilly would get so mad at me that she would secretly take my clothes, stick them in her backpack, bring them to school, and put them on when she arrived. Can you imagine how furious I was when I would see her walking down the halls of the school with my clothes on? When the kids in my family pulled these tricks, there was always revenge. After the revenge came the complaining to mom and dad. Sometimes our parents did not even want to hear what we did. In my family my siblings and I were always being punished for some reason. Many times punishment was to stand up and face the wall, which was the worst form of punishment. Other times my siblings and I would be spanked, get an ear pulled, made to sit quietly on the couch, or be sent to our rooms with no radio or television. Another bad thing about living in my family was that my parents had to go food shopping almost every week. My parents had a lot of mouths to feed and everyone ate a lot. Sometimes my parents would buy stuff and hide it away in their room. Of course, us kids used to sneak into my parent’s room just to see what they had or to take a bite of something. My parents always found out.

Today I am grateful for the family that I have. My family has a very close relationship and we love each other very much. I do not know where I would be today if I did not have my family.

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