Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Besties and Thoughts on Large Families

I realized the other day that I seem to have a fascination with families with a large number of kids. "A large number" being defined as anything over three. {Wow, Sam, isn't that kind of a low number?} That does seem like a low number... until I thought about it some more and realized that most of the people I know really do come from families that average two or three kids. Even only children are decently rare in my age group. Out of a GOC class of forty-ish, I think there were... two? of us who are only children?

While thinking deeply on the fact that larger families are rare{ish} amongst the peoples I know personally, I came to the startling conclusion that all my best friends have come from families with four or more kids. Huh. I had to stew on that for a while. I'm glad I was thinking about this alone, at night, in my room, because my puzzled, "huh." face isn't super attractive, methinks.

From age three through sixth/seventh grade, my bestest friend was T, the third child and second girl in a family with four kiddies. We were in the same Sunday School class every week for years upon years and had a tendency to spend Sunday afternoons together, alternating almost weekly between her house and mine.

I rather liked going home with her, since that meant running around barefoot in a house that was constantly under construction, experiencing the freedom to take walks around the block by ourselves without parental supervision, attempting to feed bread crumbs from our grilled cheese sandwiches to our temporary ladybug pets, and playing with mosquito larvae in backyard puddles by sliding them by the cupful down the slide {we were a little strange, what can I say?}. Honestly, she was ohsomuch braver, more independent, and more inclined to take risks or push boundaries than I was back then. And yes, that observation probably hasn't changed that much over the years. *rueful grin* What can I say-- I know my weaknesses.

But I think my favorite part of going over to T's house was the fact that there was always someone else around, making noise, getting in trouble, being messy, or goofing off with their own friends. It was hardly ever quiet. And I loved it. Growing up in a house with no other kids and in a neighborhood where the only kids around were a good ten years older than I, this everyday chaos and commotion was amazing.

Starting around middle school, T and I didn't get to see each other as much due to changing school districts and switching churches. Distance-wise, we lived a good twenty to thirty minutes away from each other by car, so it wasn't like we could just walk down the block to hang out. We drifted, and I know we both have completely different sets of friends now, with basically no overlap, but we're still Facebook friends, who share the same nerdy sense of humor, and she still has that special status in my heart of Best Friend. Someone once said that Best Friend is a tier, not a standalone title, so there's no problem with having more than one. And I completely agree.

In high school, I met my second bestie, D. We didn't get along right off the bat, I must say. Like... at all. Oh, I was nice to her because she seemed to have her eye on my past crush and he seemed to be looking back, which meant I needed to watch out for this New Girl Interloper Person. And what better way to do so than to befriend the potential enemy? {Fyi, she kind of already knows all this, so it's not news to her. Girl knows we've had our fights}. Turned out, she was actually pretty decent. Our hangout crowd let her in because of her connection to The Boy, and funnily enough, ended up keeping her and ditching The Boy when they broke up and he moved on to another. High school is weird.

D and I spent a lot of time arguing in high school. Like full-out wars of words that resulted in the silent treatment and cold shoulders for days. Awkward for our mutual group of friends, I'm sure. I think the battle that stands out the most {and if I'm being super honest, it's because it's the only one I can remember what the cause was exactly} was during our senior year {or was it junior year? meh}. Although she had been voted President for our debate team, she was also heavily involved with several other extracurriculars, which divided her attention and time and unintentionally dropped Debate into the lowest priority slot. As VP, her duties therefore fell upon my shoulders and, since she was always busy during lunch period, I usually ran the meetings.

One fateful day, D happened to be available during our debate team meeting and I guess made some attempt at overruling something I had said at a previous meeting. And being young and immature and hot-tempered, I freaked. Long story short, I called her out on her absenteeism and zero attention to the team while still claiming the President title when really I was doing all the work, she conceded the point, but then proceeded to call me out on not bringing this up with her if it had been bothering me for so long, and we both huffed off in different directions without resolving anything. Ah, teenagers.

I'm not really sure why I told you that story because it has nothing to do with the number of siblings she has {she's four of five ridiculously smart kidlets} which was the original point of this blog post, but there you have it. Just to clarify, it was actually through debate team that we ended up such good friends. Every fall and spring quarters, there would be a three-day debate conference at some big-city hotel, and D and I would spend hours and hours talking, into the wee hours of the morning, usually about The Boy, but sometimes just about life and deepestdarkestsecrets. Of all the human beings in the world, this girl probably knows me the best.

On a related tangent, I had a conversation with an acquaintance this summer about close friends and how we define them. Apparently, I said something along the lines of "bestest friends are those whom you can argue with and fight with, and still know you've got each other's backs the next day. for me, the people I'm closest to now are the people I've fought with the most in the past." And the acquaintance was really confused by this odd way of defining close friends. But really, it's true. If we've never had a disagreement and we get along all the time, how will I know what our feelings towards each other will be when we finally do argue? What if our friendship can't handle one or both of us getting upset and saying something stupid and hurtful in the heat of the moment? Admittedly, this isn't the healthiest way of looking at relationships, but who said I was a completely sane, normal human being? {Just kidding, guys}.

Back to the topic of D and I-- I'm pretty sure that having multiple siblings and dealing with them on a daily basis gave this girl the massive amounts of patience she needed to become and stay friends with me. I'll be the first to say that I was no picnic in high school {and even well into college... heh}. Her ability to remain unfazed and be my voice of reason when I was flipping out {which was often} was super important in terms of me growing the heck up and learning to consider others before myself. I was such a brat sometimes, and she was very good at letting me know when I was being one. Which turned out to be exactly what I needed. *grins* Sometimes I'm not sure why she puts up with me; you'll have to ask her about that on your own. I'm afraid to ask. (:

Junior year of college brought about my third bestie {remember, Best Friend is a tier, so I'm speaking simply in terms of time order here, not a ranking system}. Although I met her winter quarter, freshman year, she and another of our friends were actually college besties first. {Sidenote: I actually met and became friends with her older sister before I ever met her. So. Interesting tidbit}. I'm not exactly sure how we morphed into being inseparable, but it might have had something to do with having basically the same class schedule every quarter, starting that year...

S is the middle child of five and, having met all of her siblings and her parentals, I can honestly tell you that they are one of the sweetest, nicest families you'll ever meet. We tease S about being a grandma, in that it's her nature to care for and worry over other people. The girl is always trying to feed everyone around her. She's happy-go-lucky and easy to get along with and gives hugs like a pro.

I've been blessed mightily with friends who balance out my crazy {or rather, I balance out their crazy. all three girls are more exuberant/outspoken than I}. Looking back, I probably did do a bit of living vicariously through them in terms of experiencing sibling relationships and such, but it's them I adore-- their big families are just a small added bonus.

I am really thankful that I've gotten the privilege of calling these girls friends. I'm not really sure how to end this gushy-mushy-d'aww post, so I guess I'll tangent again...

The reason I noticed my odd interest in big families {though I'm not personally inclined to create my own... just throwing that out there in case people were getting "ideas"} was because several of my favorite Instagram feeds to look through are of families with lots of kids. There's Ashley Ann, Miko, and Ruth, just to name a few. I find interactions and relationships between siblings fascinating, especially since I don't have any of my own. Unless you count Zoe. In which case, I've got a very hairy younger sister with a short attention span and an incessant urge to play all day, errday. {Zoe's our border collie for those of you now confused}.

If any of you have sibling stories, I'd love to hear them! I've heard some great ones over the years and they never fail to make me smile like a loon. Thanks for reading this rather long, rambling post about a single observation I made at one in the morning. As it is now almost four, I think I've been working on this too long and should really go to sleep. G'night, y'all, and I guess my saga on waiting to hear back from potential employers will just have to wait until tomorrow night. *waves*

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