Sisters and Siblings, Cousins and Chaos

If you’ve read some of my other posts you will have discovered that I have a large family.  Being the second of five girls affords me the ability to mine into the nuances of family dynamics in such a way that enables a perspective that is shaped by the phenomenon of learning how to be consequential in seemingly inconsequential scenarios.  In other words, how to be heard when you can’t even hear yourself think, let alone the person with whom you are trying to communicate.  If you are from a large family I’m making perfect sense.  If you’re not, you have already disengaged and begun skimming the rest of this post for relevant information or you’re gone already and I’m talking to myself.  I hope you’re still here.

Sisterhood plus mom.

Sisterhood plus mom.

I bring this up because my sisters are and I are gathered together this weekend for my baby shower.  There are five of us and only one that has not begun to contribute offspring to the menagerie that currently exists.  Besides the youngest, my other sisters have three children each or the intent to have more and I am contributing my second and final offspring to the melee.  I thought that I would be one and done, but as a sibling of four others, I could not stand the injustice of my child being an only child.  Who would talk over him, steal his toys, pester him, punch him in the face for no other reason than existing before he did?  Why should he get to be an only child with his parents’ undivided attention?  These are things that made me the person I am today. 

So it is that I am expecting, any moment hopefully,  a second child and a sibling for my oldest son.  In the mean time, I have relied heavily upon my sisters and their children to provide the harassing that I wanted for my son.  It is often a competition of noise when “the sisterhood” and the cousins are occupying the same space.

A few of the cousins peacefully coexisting for the moment.

A few of the cousins peacefully coexisting for the moment.

My oldest son and two of his cousins are bringing up the rear of the cousinship- merely toddlers mimicking the antics of the older ones who were not too long ago toddling about and setting the precedent for cousin conduct.  It boils down to having as much fun in the limited amount of time allotted them as is humanly possible.  Sometimes that time frame is a week and often times merely a weekend.  They make the most of their time, no matter how long, and there are always tears when the time to part arrives.

They break off into their age appropriate sets, conniving and planning to ambush the others and eventually coming together to create a collective assault on their parents.  Sometimes that’s mischievous and others it’s in the form of a play or recital. 

The brothers in law fall in the middle of the kids and the wives.  They are excellent sports and referees as they monitor the kids and tolerate the cackling and conspiring of their wives as the sisterhood overwhelms the plans and actions of day to day lives for the duration of the visit.  The BIL’s take on a child friendly outing with all the kids in tow while the sisterhood has some alone time, in trade for their own adventure later in the evening.  A deal has been struck, they concede the hemorrhage of money it takes to finance the sisterhood’s antics and all parties are satisfied.

Brothers in law conceding to a group photo.

Brothers in law conceding to a group photo.

Our family is loud and obnoxious, but we are a posse of awesomeness that feeds off of each other.  We came together this weekend for my baby shower, but it coincided with an event in one of my sister’s lives that required a little extra attention.  We build each other up when the world has dared imply we are not what we know ourselves to be- strong, confident capable women.  Sure, we have our flaws and short comings that we have been known to point out in each other during spats, but let an outsider point out the same flaw or insult and it’s: you mess with one, you mess with all.  The sisterhood and our offspring have a pact that though we cannot be together all the time, we make damn sure it counts when we are.  If you happen to be caught in the crossfire or allowed in the festivities, just hang on and hope for the best.  That’s pretty much all were doing anyway.

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