- When I started having children, my parents were also adopted children.
- Between my mother and I we have eight children, three of which are mine.
- It’s hard for people to understand that I have siblings the same age as my kids.
I still remember how my mom and I tried to hold the kids while eating burgers at a local restaurant years ago. We filled a lot of booths, thankful for the removable partition between them so we could keep a good eye on everyone. A woman passed by and said how well the children were doing. Then he asked something I will never forget: “This a day care group?”
Mom and I had a laugh. There were just two of us with eight children. Our eight children. Three of them are mine and five are his, all six years. This was not routine care. It just was our extended family.
We know it’s not traditional
I had parents when I had children adopt children. Mostly when it’s grandparents is thinking of retirement and those of mine who attend sporting events to cheer on their grandchildren are still in the thick of parenting, cheering on their grandchildren and their own children. They were changing diapers while I was changing diapers.
When I am back to school night, they were on back-to-school night. And I like teach of my children will drivethey teach themselves to drive.
Ever since we bought a house in my hometown, we’ve been doing all of these things not in parallel, but intertwined. Our children go to the same schools and participate in the same activities. Our lives overlap in ways that most people can’t imagine.
The best thing is that our children are growing up together
When they were little, my children had aunts and uncles who felt more like cousins or sisters. They built Lego bricks and spent movie nights together. They played on the swing set and spent countless hours in the pool. With eight kids in the mix, there was always someone to play with, laugh with, and even argue with. It was as busy (and loud) as you’d expect.
But we worked together. My mom and I used to spend a lot of time together, especially when the kids were little. We bonded, helped out on rides, gave each other breaks, and healed when needed. Co-parenting made me feel less alone on ordinary days. And it made fun days even more fun.
There were challenges along the way
People do not always understand what they are not used to. In elementary school, my children stopped explaining how it was possible that these children, some of whom were younger and of a different skin color, could be their aunts and uncles. Feeling like you have to explain your family is exhausting.
It’s not just children who have trouble understanding. I have to regularly explain to adults that these children are my brothers. People often try to fix me, thinking that they are my nephews, nieces and nephews. I’m just explaining and adding that my parents adopted five children the same age as me. Many people accept this explanation when they try to mentally grasp such a foreign concept.
Living with so many kids isn’t always fun and games. Just like siblings fight, my children fight with my brothers. And my mom and I don’t always have the same parenting style. It can be difficult when you are so close. Thankfully, we always have it figured out. We have learned to prioritize our children while loving each other.
It may not be typical, but we make it work for us
Despite the challenges, it’s still pretty amazing. My children enjoy growing up in a large family with lots of siblings, but they also have a home life with the five of us. When they go to school and have hard days, there are people there who know and love them. My mom is in the middle of the same phase of parenting when I’m having a rough day – with a little more wisdom on her side!
My mom and I will do it together. It may be unconventional, but it’s definitely something special.