Growing up with 5,000 Siblings


Joy Bilal

Meet my huge family. My mother (Hellen), Gigi, Julie, Joy (me), Justin, Jasmine, Jeremiah and Jonah.

Joy Bilal, Stafff Writer

I was raised in a family of seven kids and a single mother. I do not actually have 5,000 siblings, but sometimes it feels like it. Being the third oldest child in my family comes with a lot of responsibilities, pressure and perks. Though 51% of the time it is exasperating having so many siblings, the other 49% it is so much fun and nice to have so many people to look out for you and love you endlessly. 

Being one of the oldest in the family, with my mom trucking seven kids on her own, I have to take on a lot of responsibilities kids my age do not usually have. These include driving them from school to practices, buying things for them that they need from the store and making sure that they eat dinner on time because my mom has gone off to work for the night shift. I was forced to grow up faster than most kids that I went to school with. I had to get a job right when I turned 14 years old because not every time I needed money my mom could give me cash because she has a ton of bills to pay on her own. This taught me responsibility and maturity through the stormy and sunny days.

I could look at my life as the glass half empty and question why I couldn’t just live like all of my friends and why my childhood had to end short. However, I look at my life growing up as a blessing in disguise: the glass half full. Though I was raised with so many siblings and many looking up to me and the decisions I make, including the urgency to step up, this all is preparing me for my future. It is preparing me for when I go off to college on my own, teaching me patience, when I have my own family in the far future and just shaping the person I am becoming.

 It sounds cliche but everything happens for a reason, and though some days are dreadful, I know I mostly will be thankful for the route God has placed me on. Some parents cannot have multiple children, so there are some kids out there wishing they had 5,000 siblings. So, I am grateful for our full house.