The Traumas When You’re the Oldest of 11…

My dad's kids sitting with an awkward, teenage me
My dad’s kids sitting with an awkward, teenage me

Yes. I am the oldest of 11 kids. I’m 21 years old, if you’re wondering, because that’s usually the next question people ask me. Yes yes, my mother is a very strong woman–what does that have anything to do with it? I know you’re thinking she’s crazy, why not just say it? Jeez. No, for the sake of skittles, I am not the child of a polygamist family. I am LDS not FLDS. The FLDS are the ones you are looking for if you want pligs. I frequently see them cruizing through Walmart here in lovely Cedar City, UT, bang poofs and all. And no, I don’t have a million siblings because I am Mormon, though I do know quite a few Mormon families with quite the litter–and a ‘Mormon Assualt Vehicle’ to go with it (that means a van of awesome proportions). We of my religion are known to have lots of kids because we like kids, okay? It’s not that complicated. It’s not because we don’t believe in birth control or because we women are enslaved baby-makers. I have been asked that way too many times.

But, as I say, the reason I have such a buttload of siblings in my family is not because I’m Mormon. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s a combination of a ‘Yours Mine and Ours’ and ‘Juno’. Mom had me in high school, got married three times, and then my dad got remarried to. Add up all my half-siblings and step siblings and you get: ten little barbie chucking, peeing on the corner of their beds…children.

And let me tell you–they know I am the overlord of this little shabang. Mom and Dad was like facing God when you’ve sinned or done something wrong, so usually when they had a quarrel among themselves they’d come to me and ask me to resolve it instead. Usually I’d just look at them like ‘why you asking me?’ but I guess I was the self-appointed ‘Savior’, so if it got too much I’d just go straight to ‘God’, who’d sort them out real quick. Hey, with five kids in the house at a time, you need all the back up you can get. Strangely enough, though, I got along pretty well with all of them. Sure Steven and I took a year or so to get use to each other (he was my step brother after all, and the nearest in age to me—had to, you know, re-establish my lordship), and it was always rough with Victoria (but she didn’t really get along with anyone), but over all we stuck together pretty well. A few of my sisters I had never had a tuff with at all. Can’t remember really getting into a fight with them. Usually I just stood on the sides and said ‘FIGHT’ when the Mortal Combat round begun. I wonder who will be the referee for those wars now that I’m moved out. Probably Torrey.

Some siblings
Siblings from my mom’s side, standing with me, my mom, and my step dad

When I did move out to college it wasn’t homesick that I got. It was sibling-sick. I felt too alone. My apartment was too quiet and creepy without dozens of legs pounding up and down the stairs and mom screaming at them to do the dishes right. My roommates kept to themselves and were annoyingly mature. I even tried to purposely be immature and obnoxious just to see if it would draw out something that was familiar to the bloodlust of my siblings, but still they just handled it like adults. It was awful! I had always been the adult one–the mature one. It was why I was always the unspoken lawyer whenever they broke the laws of the homestead and had to face ‘the judge’ and the dishes. But suddenly there wasn’t any snot-nose brats to balance me.

I’d often think of them. I’m suddenly reminded of Steven again. One day he came sauntering down stairs in that manner of his and whined, “Taylor, make me a sandwich.”

I have no idea where he got the idea that telling me thusly would get him a sandwich.

“No!” I said, “I’m not your woman! Make your own sandwich!”

He’d moan and groan and complain and insist he couldn’t fend for himself–that I had to make him a sandwich or else he’d starve. And he was very serious about this. Other times he’d randomly appear in my bedroom doorway all casual-like. Then he’d say something along the lines of, “Taylor, do you know just how beautiful you are? You really are.”

That would be my queue to say, “Whaddya want?”

It would usually be to borrow my game systems, which I protect like a mother bear protects her cubs. When you have THAT many siblings, if you have anything nice AT ALL, you need to protect it with your life. So of course, I’d say no. Then forget about whatever compliment he had given me, for now he’d call me a jerk (lacking the use of a theasuarus), shaking his fists at me in anger and cursing my name like some badly written Gladiator movie. Yep. Good times. Good times.

Or there was Matthew…the daredevil. He was born without that voice in your head that tells you to not jump off a cliff.

Kayla, the youngest, is now three years old and isn't included in the other pictures
Kayla, the youngest, is now three years old and isn’t included in the other pictures

“Hey, Taylor! Watch me jump of the roof!”

“What the FREAK are you doing up there?!?”

“Just watch, it’s really cool!”

“How is jumping off a roof cool? Get down here!”

“Aw, come on, just watch!”

“No!”

“You’re watching noooooooow.”

“Just get–”

And then he’d jump. I lost track of how many bones he’s broken already. Weirdo.

Then there’s a few of the really young brothers that just fling their heads back and yell while running around in circles, shaking like Quakers all the way just to watch the world go fritzo as they go. What’s really funny is that the two aren’t related at all. One is from my mother and one of her husbands, and the other is from my dad and his wife.  They certainly make me feel lazy, that’s for sure. All that running in circles, wagging their heads somewhere by their shoulder blades.

And of course, there’s the kleptomaniac sister, the hypochondriac, the baby (who has perfected what I like to call ‘the hyper-sonic scream’), the emo, the oh-so-snarky-one,  and of course…me, the overlord. And don’t let anyone dispute that.

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