I Wouldn’t Change a Thing
Who hasn’t wished at one time or another to have a different family? Someone from a large family might long to be an only child, if only for a day. An only child might wish for siblings, even if only one. I remember telling my mom that I wished I could be someone else. It was a friend who had a cool bedroom, and brand-new clothes, and dark straight hair. My mom told me if I got my wish, I wouldn’t have anything that was a part of my life. As I thought about what that meant, I instantly knew I only wanted my mom and dad, and my siblings too.
Mom and Dad
I was born the 8th child in a family of 7 girls and 4 boys. We lived with our mom and dad in a large 2-story house in Abbotsford, Wisconsin. We had 5 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and no dishwasher.
Spence Siblings Minus the Youngest
We didn’t have a lot of money, and our dad sometimes worked 5 jobs to make ends meet. So we learned to share (big time). There were hand me down clothes, and only 3 bikes between us 11 kids. Since the bikes were first come, first served, we learned to eat very fast.
- We were taught manners and to respect our elders. We were never allowed to use certain words or phrases like: stupid, shut up, or I hate you.
- We prayed together. We prayed before each meal and before we went to bed at night. And we went to church together every Sunday.
- We played together. In fact, we generally had two teams for almost any game or sport.
- We celebrated together and regardless of the occasion, there was always a crowd.
- We laughed together and we still do.
- We sang together – while doing the dishes (us girls), on long trips in the car, and while waiting to open our Christmas gifts.
- We slept together and told each other our deepest secrets. Many of those sleeping arrangements created extra special lifelong bonds.
- We told on each other. I think our parents counted on it.
- We fought with each other and also forgave each other. We defended each other too, especially if someone had the audacity to say anything negative about one of our siblings – even if we felt or thought the same way.
- We looked and sounded like each other. We still do.
- We loved each other. We just didn’t say the words back then. Today, we say them every chance we get.
- We also grieved together. In 1969, our world came crashing down around us, with the death of our mom to cancer. She died a week before her 50th birthday. Thirteen years later, our dad died from cancer too. He was 64. They never got to grow old together or see all their grandchildren or great grandchildren. But, what a rich and amazing legacy they left behind – all 87 of us and counting.
I’m glad wishes don’t always come true. Because when it comes to family, I wouldn’t change a thing.