The way family is defined these days look very different that when we grew up. Well at least for me, it was a lot of family, all the time. We lived together under one roof, multiple generations, and I spent just as much time with my grandmothers, aunts/uncles, and cousins as I did with my own sister and parents.
It is a freakin’ village because it takes one.
For instance, my mother’s mom had eight kids – 3 boys and 5 girls, and often times, half of them were in town. My oldest uncle had 6 kids of his own and between the other aunts and uncles, the average was about 2 children per family. And that was only my mom’s side of the family so you do the math.
With this number of family members, you can only imagine what meal times are like. Big round table – yes picture the ones you see in Chinese restaurants that seat 10-14 people? YES. That’s our family, complete with the staple Lazy Susan centre so that food can rotated and distributed to all family members. Usually, the kids eat first, with the youngest fed by grandma and aunties and the oldest kids hurried off the table if they took too long with their meals. It is no wonder I eat at the pace that I do. Lingering and allowing your stomach to digest by today’s meandering standards were considered bad table manners.
Sleep was no different. The cousins (and sometimes there were 6-8 of us) would all fit into one large room, mattresses laid out all in a row.
And our everyday life is this. Rinse, spit, repeat. It’s the mellow ebb and flow, from breakfast to play, to lunch to play, to dinner to bath, to bed. Aunts helping kids, older cousins helping younger ones, my grandmother at the helm. My parents both worked so they came and went during the week, picking us up for the weekends for our family time. This is our own version of hustle and bustle in this corner of my childhood and I have the fondest memory of my extended family because of it. It took a village to raise me and I appreciate what a beautiful thing that is.
Spending these two half-days with R&J brought all this back for me. I stood there in their kitchen, watching their aunts and uncles, grandparents, and nanny alike, buzz about their home so that R, at 36 weeks into her maternity and still working, can have some time off her feet. Their twin girls are incredibly comfortable with the idea that even though their extended family live elsewhere, they are often here in their home. Plus weekly pedicures are a solid perk! Everyone’s familiarity with this home, from kitchen layout to the girls’ personal preferences, and everyday routines is a foundation for the solid attachment that the twins do and will continue to have with this village that helped raise them. I have no doubt that this bean in R’s belly will receive equal care and love as her older sisters have!
And if you haven’t had enough of photos, here is the slideshow of R&J’s maternity Day in the Life.