It’s a peculiar thing how being raised in a large family can impact one so much. Some days I think the size of my family has minimal influence. Then there are days where I can’t get over how much it does determine who I am.
This past weekend we attended two/deux/dos two year old birthday parties. It was fun to watch the kids interact with each other. Not only was the weekend about birthdays, but apparently it was also about getting naked. We witnessed a Filipino festival complete with traditional dance rituals. It was very cool, no pun intended. We saw lots of skin and discovered our daughter enjoys lumpia. Later in the day at the second party, the young girls decided it made sense to celebrate in their birthday suits. Spontaneous celebrations erupted with little girls running around naked. I was careful to not appear in any of the photos taken of the naked children. Next thing you know my face would be plastered on a website featuring inappropriate gestures men make.
All this naked stuff got me thinking about myself again. Certain life lessons were overlooked when I was a youth. The social interaction as a youngster involve mainly my immediate family. Perhaps this is why I do clip my fingernails in public. Maybe this explains why I rarely left the state of Washington. Travel isn’t cheap when you have a heard of children.
Raising a child is a lot of work. I enjoy being part of a big immediate family, yet there’s part of me that wishes to have experienced more of life at a younger age. Not only can you not travel so much with a large family, but you’re not afforded good quality one-on-one time with your parents or siblings. Everything is done as a group, which is probably why I shun anything group related to this day.
Thank You notes — think my mom ever had a chance to write those?
Books — I was fortunate to have books read to me as a child, but there still wasn’t enough emphasis on reading. Sports, sports, sports! I so want to be a bookworm, but it’s still a struggle for me.
Camping — discovering the great outdoors didn’t happen until I reached my teenaged years. It only happened then because I vowed my dedication to Jesus and went on a church adventure in the Olympic Mountains. Despite the constant mention of how wonderful things are because of Him. I, me, still enjoyed himself immensely.
Singing — nobody in my family can sing. Maybe it’s the sports thing, but maybe it’s also because learning music/singing requires patience. Seven kids in a house is chaos.
Wiping — come on dad, show me the proper way to wipe? Don’t make me learn this wiping stuff and the birds & the bees on my own in my mid 30s. So unfair.
If this doesn’t paint a romantic picture of who I was and where I’m going, then I don’t know what will. In order to look forward, we’ve got to look back. Our upbringing is who we are today. It sticks with us for the rest of our life, much like the sight of naked in-laws.
I guess my whole point to this post is how parenthood makes me feel like a tourist in my lifelong hometown. On some level it makes me sad how little of the city I was introduced to as a child, but the good thing is I’m a relatively young buck of 36 years with plenty of time for discovery ahead.