I have been very fortunate to grow up in a big family. I am the oldest of six kids, five boys and one girl. Living in a big family, you learn some very important lessons that you might not learn otherwise.
For example, my brother Mike was born a little over a year after me, so I had to learn how to share from a young age. My mom tells me stories all the time about Mike's and my epic battles over toys and attention.
A few years later, JT was born, and that’s when things really got crazy. Three young boys in the house is sure to test your patience, and I am still amazed at how well my mom and dad handled us. They never lost their patience, and always had an important lesson for us when we misbehaved.
My dad worked in Sioux City at the time, so my mom stayed home to watch us. Her being there when we got home from school everyday was something that we always took for granted, and I truly believe that the time she spent with us shaped the way we are today. She always had a snack for us ready, and would ask us how our day was. She would help us with our homework, and would give us advice for our problems at school.
In 2009 the whole world was flipped upside down when we learned that my mom was going to have a baby girl. I was terrified. I had no idea what it would be like to have a girl in the house that wasn’t my mom.
When Ella was born, though, I realized that my fears were unwarranted. Ella brought a joy to our house that I had never seen before. Mike, JT, and I spent a lot of time playing with her, and helping her as she began to crawl, then walk, then talk. I was in fourth grade at the time, and was struggling a little. Luckily my mom and dad were always there for me, and their encouragement helped me to get my grades up.
In 2013, just when we thought the house couldn't get any smaller, we learned that my mom was going to have twins. It was complete pandemonium in our house preparing for two more members of the family.
When Ryan and Tyler came home, things were completely different. I was now in Junior High, so I thought I was way too cool to hang out with my new little brothers. However, I soon realized how important they were to me and my family as a whole, and I can’t imagine life without them now. They may be naughty sometimes, and they’re double the trouble, but they really tie our family together.
While I enjoy living in such a big family, hopefully we won’t be getting any bigger, and I don’t think the Brands Clan is planning on it. If having such a big family teaches you a lot about life, I should be an expert on everything by now, but alas, not everything you hear is true. I’ve still got a lot to learn before I start a family of my own.