Nulph and her family celebrate her older brother's wedding June, 2018 in Indianapolis.
Open-Minded: The fifth “one”
Growing up in a big family, life is never boring
Nothing says “Catholic family” quite like five kids plus pets, in-laws and grandkids. Also known as my family. Good job, mom and dad!
Morning eggs and bacon, church at 11 a.m., dinner at 3 p.m. and football with snacks at 7. That’s Sundays for my family. These events have included not only the whole family, but friends, spouses, significant others, pets, roommates and whoever smelled the delicious cooking my mom made for dinner.
My family, while dysfunctional, has shaped me into the person I am today. My parents are my inspiration to strive for a successful career and an overall happy life. My siblings are my role models, my rocks and my punching bag occasionally. I would not change my big, crazy family for anything in this world.
Growing as up the youngest, my name was never actually used. I was always referred to as “[insert sibling’s name]’s younger sister.” There was always a mix-up in names with my mom as well. One minute I would be Sophie, the next I would accidentally be called my sister, my dog or anything really. One time my mom accidentally called my brother by my uncle’s name. That was awkward.
Name mix-ups were the least of my worries growing up though. I had many nicknames as a kid, some good but mostly bad. My siblings and I fought, wrestled, yelled, cried, laughed, and subsequently, got in trouble with our parents together. While we would argue almost all the time, we all knew where our loyalties lied.
My oldest brother is known as the Courageous One. I was only three or four when he went into the military, so for the next 13 years of my life, I never saw my brother. He was always stationed somewhere new, fighting for our country.
My next brother is known as the Big-Hearted One. This nickname is figurative but also literal because he suffers from a condition that makes his heart grow abnormally. He will do anything for his siblings. I remember when my sister may or may not have crashed the car into our garage — don’t remind my mom — and my brother used his lunch break to come help her.
Then there's my sister, the Smart One. She is the one who everyone looks up to academically. She is the one my parents talk so proudly of and show off to all of their friends because she studied abroad, graduated a year early, went to graduate school and was the first one in my family to finish college.
My other sister is referred to as the Social One. Only being two years older than me, we were the closest growing up. We would play soccer and Wii together, and she taught me how to tie my shoes and shave my legs. She always had the most friends in school and participated in the most activities, but she would always be sure to include me in her hangouts and group activities, knowing that I didn’t have very many friends growing up.
Being the next kid in the family falls to me. Who am I? I have always thought of myself as a mixture of them all, just being “there” in the family without any specific role.
So, I asked them what role they thought I played in our mini family tree.
These responses included names such as:
The Creative One.
The Young One - obviously.
The Loving One.
The Jealous One - ouch.
The Worried One.
The Dramatic One - again, ouch but not wrong.
These names all represent stages that I have been through in my life, and my siblings have watched me grow through them over the years. Some names have developed as I have gotten older, like the Worried One.
While I’m still not sure which “one” I am in the family, these names are all a descriptive part of my personality. It couldn’t make me happier that this is not only how I am seen by my siblings, but that this is how I am.
My family is one crazy bunch. From the outside, we are dysfunctional. From the inside, we are equally dysfunctional. We just don’t prefer to use that specific terminology. We prefer crazy, wild, unique.
We are by no means a normal family. We swear together, we screw up together and we pray together. We also know when someone needs a 44-ounce Mountain Dew and we go ahead and get one for everyone. Except my sister, it is always Coke Zero for her.
It is amazing to think that this is my life; all of these hilarious traditions and people are real. I look up to them every day and I don’t know what I would do without them. I can't imagine myself in a family any size but big.