When my mom first told me she was going to remarry, I was shocked. She had been seeing Mr. Sullivan for a several months, and I had met him and his five children numerous times. We were all pretty friendly with each other, but I couldn’t believe that our family of four would combine with their family of six. There would be ten people all living under one roof! I knew this would be a monumental change in my life.
Before our parents married, all of us children were pretty friendly with each other. We got along well and enjoyed our company. This soon changed. Once our parents married, all ten of us moved into my family’s house. Our house only had three bedrooms, so an addition was necessary. My mom and step-dad slept upstairs while all seven of my siblings and I had the basement. We were stuck down there for six months. During those six months, our living quarters turned from a pleasant jocular area to a war zone.
Us children had never been so close together. There were three bunk beds set up, and the two girls had control of the couches. I’m fairly sure there is a law forbidding this many children to be living in that close of a proximity. I didn’t realize how annoying seven younger siblings could be. I had been friendly with all my new siblings at first, but that was mostly just time spent with one or two at a time. When all of them were together, they were unbearable. I think my brother, my sister, and I felt outnumbered; we just couldn’t take the constant yelling and screaming, the throwing of projectiles in the air, and mostly the nonstop talking.
My side of the family was more quiet and relaxed than the Sullivan family, so we did not know how to adjust. I tried yelling to make them quiet down; no affect. I tried being more subtle and friendly; nothing. I tried beating them over the head; still the same constant chaos. My brother, my sister, and I did not adjust to their company very well during that time in the basement. As a result, our relationship with our new siblings did not start out very well.
Once the addition on the house was finished, I could not wait to get out of the basement. All eight of us children received our own room. Words cannot express how happy I was. I moved all my belongings into my new room and just stayed in there by myself for a while. I finally had some solitude and could get away from everyone. My relations with my new siblings were still not going well, however.
My brother, who was the second youngest in the family, was picked on constantly. I, being the oldest, was not pestered much at all. I had to stand up for my little brother very often. Because everyone picked on him, I became angry at my other side of the family and began to hate them. Everything they did annoyed me. I was embarrassed to be around them. I hated them for being mean to my little brother. He was the only one in my family they could pick on and get away with it. I heard them complaining about my side of the family, and that upset me too. I tried to stay as away from them as possible even though they lived in the same house as me.
Our family went through some tough times for a few years. My parents made us go to counseling to try to fix our social problems, but it didn’t really work. We, the children, didn’t want it to work. We couldn’t stand each other and wanted to get away. The time we spent stuck in the basement started an anger toward one another that just grew and grew. Our parents didn’t know what to do.
Fortunately, over the last year or two, things have gotten a lot better. All the kids are a couple years older and more mature. Our own rooms have given us a chance to cool down. Things have gotten bearable again. I am friends with my step-siblings again. I can finally tolerate and enjoy their presence. Things still aren’t perfect, but I guess things are never perfect with a family. I still don’t treat all five of them like brothers or sisters, but at least a few of them I am comfortable with. Things are not as crazy anymore and that suits me well.
Overall it has been an experience; I’m not sure what kind of experience, but it has definitely been one. If we hadn’t all been stuck together for six months, I think things could have gone better and our relationships could have grown more. I will be off in college next year, so I’m not sure how well I’ll keep in touch with everyone. The future will tell how well the family sticks together and how good our relationships become.