My parents have 6 children. Four boys, angelic-wonderful me, and my little sister.
My aunt has 7 children.
For a few years, my aunt lived in Gresham, Or while we lived in Portland, Or. During those years, my aunt went to school, became a teacher, and then the primary support of her 7 children. During those years, my mother had her gallbladder out. This was the old school, long incision across your stomach version of the surgery. Her muscles then contracted pulling on her scar and causing agony. So, for that Christmas dad was in charge.
Dad loves Christmas. He loves shopping for people he loves. He might have gone a little crazy, gift-buying wise. My #3 clear memory was of a giant box that ended up being a Dish Washer for my mom. I can’t remember what I got, but knowing my dad, it was a stupid amount of something or other.
My #2 clear memory was the microwave my mom got. Since I’m super old and ancient and nearly decrepit, this was the first microwave we ever had. The second memory is the microwave hot chocolate we made. I approved. We also made popcorn–just so you know.
That same Christmas, my aunt came around to help, so our house had 13 children in it. Thirteen children running through the halls, falling down the stairs, shouting, and fighting over the ONE TV or the ONE toilet.
It was also clear memory #1. My brothers broke our dining room table. Was it Christmas Eve? Doesn’t it feel like it should have been. I mean, here’s our house–13 kids, 2 healthy adults, 1 agonized adult. Oh, 1 dog. I can’t remember the details, but stupid-louty brother’s rough-housing ended up in our table being broken, while my dad was overwhelmed taking care of children, working full time, and not killing us. All while poor Mumma lay in agony.
The happy ending of this story was that a friend of the family made the a fixed the table and all was fine. But I imagine, maybe remember, a few shouts, maybe some tears, certainly some guilty-style trips. You know, before the best Christmas ever (present-wise) rained down on us.
Thank goodness, I was the angelic daughter rather than one of those hooligans.