As some of you know, there are more sisters -- and brothers -- in the family than just us three sisters who run this blog. We’re three of the seven Speckhard siblings. (Yep, that's really us in that picture. What can I say -- the camera loves us.) Growing up in a large family has its upsides and downsides, but one thing’s for sure: It shapes you and your whole approach to life. Here are a few of the side effects I’ve noticed:
1) I will stay in the car to finish serious conversations.
Say that Dave and I start a somewhat serious or intense conversation when we’re driving home from church. Once we pull into the driveway, instead of getting out of the car and finishing the conversation in the house like a normal person, I’ll just keep sitting in the car. I realized one day that I do this because growing up, if I had a serious conversation in the car with my mom, I kind of had to finish it in the car. Once we went in the house, all bets were off -- who knows what shenanigans other siblings would be up to or what crises there could be to avert. But, as Dave now points out, there’s no one else in our house. We really can go inside and keep talking there.
2) Going out to eat and going to movies STILL feel like novelties to me.
You know what you don’t do a lot when you have six siblings? Go to sit-down restaurants or go to movies. I still feel disproportionately excited when I get to do either of those things now.
3) I have a very high tolerance for long car rides and road trips.
Flying is almost never economical with a large family, so we drove EVERYWHERE growing up, including to Florida, Washington, D.C., Yellowstone, and California, from Minnesota. So, not only do I have a love of road trips, but my sense of what makes a long drive is very different from other people’s. I couldn’t understand my friend growing up who said a two-hour car trip felt like an eternity -- our nearest relatives were three hours away, so that was my baseline for a short trip. Two hours wasn’t even worth mentioning. A trip doesn’t even begin to feel long to me until it’s at least 7-8 hours.
My distorted sense of time in the car didn’t really hit home, however, until a month before my wedding. Dave met my mom and me in Pittsburgh to get our marriage license and do some wedding errands. The plan afterwards was to drive the six hours back to Indiana to join the rest of the family for our annual Fourth of July reunion.
“So,” Dave asked, “Are we staying overnight in Pittsburgh and leaving in the morning?”
“Oh no!” I said. “We’ll just leave after we get our errands done and get there between 10 and 11. No big deal.”
As I said this, I realized for the first time that many people wouldn’t even consider this. Driving for six hours after driving around Pittsburgh all day? Forget about it. But I didn’t think twice about it.
4) I feel a disproportionate level of anxiety when preparing for trips and vacations.
On the other hand, something that I don’t handle nearly as well as some people is getting ready for trips and vacations. I absolutely hate packing and I feel very anxious until we’re finally in the car, on the road. I finally put it together that I still associate preparing for trips with preparing nine people to go on a trip, which is, admittedly, an undertaking. But getting two people, adults, no less, ready to go isn’t really that bad, so I just need to chill out.
5) I still take (relatively) short showers.
If you have a lot of people in the house, you have a lot of people who need to shower. When we were little, my parents sometimes set a timer for five minutes when we took showers: wash your hair, wash your body, get out. Mercifully, they didn’t hold us to five minutes as we got older, but they wouldn’t hesitate to knock on the door if they thought we were taking too long. It absolutely blew my mind when I got to college and realized that some people took showers for half an hour. How was that even possible? What were they doing in there? To this day, although I definitely take longer showers than I used to, I still can’t fathom just standing in the water for ten minutes without doing anything else.
So, if you ever see me sitting in a car for no reason or freaking out over packing, just remember from whence it came.