Before we go into more detail, it’s important to clarify, as much as possible, the roles and relationships in my family. The core of this has to be my siblings. I’ve mentioned the Great Reproduction Wars in a previous post. Today you get to dive into the core portion of why I have more siblings than many people have cousins. Depending on your definition of “sibling”, I have between 2 and 18 siblings. You see, in my family, there are “degrees of relation” for our siblings.
My mother and father had three children together. This is the core section of our siblings, because we are the connecting factor in the two sides of the Great Reproduction Wars; Mother and Father. After my father was imprisoned for his felony offenses (see Part 1), my mother moved on from him, and started her next relationship, which quickly resulted in another pregnancy. This man had other children when they commenced their relationship. I believe there were three of them, but I don’t believe I’ve ever met any of them.
Around this time, my father was released from prison, and started dating his second wife. They became pregnant not too long afterwards, and then got married. This second wife had one child from previous relationships.
This was the second blow in the GPW. At this point, I now had two half-brothers, a couple of step-siblings on my mom’s boyfriend’s side of things, and a step-sister on my father’s wife’s side of things. As you can see, this escalated quickly, right from the start. I was already questioning the order of things at this age (5). How do you label your half-brother’s half-sister, whom you’ve never met? And the same situation on my father’s side of the family, but with a sister figure whom I actually had a relationship with. Do the same labels apply to both of them equally?
As of the first step-mother, and first step-father, there were 9 of us, with several degrees of 1) genetic relation, 2) interpersonal relationships, 3) time spent together. But wait, there’s more!
After my mother’s second baby-daddy became a felon, she shacked up with another man. Again, the cycle repeated, and I had another little brother on the way. This new half-sibling came with another 2 step-siblings. My mother decided (Thanks be to God), to have her tubes tied. But this round wasn’t over. Almost as if my father and his wife felt an imbalance in the Force, they conceived another child together.
As of this round of Procreation, we were up to 13 siblings. Toss in some drug addiction, untreated mental illness, and another round of criminal behavior, and my father separated from his wife. We had moved to another state, while my father stayed behind. This move was prompted by my mother meeting “THE Step-dad”. He had 2 other children already, who were added to the mix when my mother married him. Then my father met his third wife, and surprises of surprises, she got pregnant. At this point, she already had an adult daughter, and they had another child when I was 20.
Twenty years of the Reproduction Wars, and we had a final count of 18 children tied up in this net. It was practically one child a year for my entire childhood. To this day, I don’t know how to label many of them. Hell, I still don’t know all of their names, or even if that is the full extent of them.
The longest label in our family starts with my father’s last wife’s oldest child and ends with my mother’s youngest child. The label runs as such: Boy A is Girl B’s half-brother’s half-brother’s half-brother. Many of my siblings have zero direct blood ties with each other. Instead, most of them have indirect relationships via other siblings.
Why did this war happen? Well, there were many contributing factors.
The first factor is poor education. None of these adults had proper planned-parenthood education. They didn’t practice any kind of effective contraception. The biggest problem here is that they weren’t taught to care about the number of kids they had. It just wasn’t an issue to them.
The second factor is leverage. The adults involved in conception subscribed (consciously or subconsciously) to the idea that having a child with someone makes the relationship more “real” or “permanent”. This was a direct incentive to have children with each significant other.
The third factor is welfare. The way many welfare systems are set up, parents can get help with their costs (in the form of WIC, TANF, and Food Stamps programs) when they have small children. Unfortunately, a good bit of this dries up as the children get older. This provided another direct incentive to have more children over time. The welfare system is a carrot on a string which drives many families.
The fourth factor is one I mentioned in Part 1. Both of my parents thought that creating more children meant creating more people who would love them no matter what.
In the end, I have “siblings” I haven’t talked to, ever. I have “siblings” whom I grew up with, but have no relationship with, because of our history. It’s painful to discuss my siblings with people, because I don’t want to say I only have 2/4/9 siblings by oversimplifying, but I also don’t want to mis-represent the situation by claiming 17 siblings.
Adding a bunch of people to the mix in this way did not improve our family. I wouldn’t say it made our family worse, though. Each of the children born or brought into our family is precious to me in their own way. I adore all of them for who they are, who they can be, and who they represent to me and my past.
I am sure this post is as clear as mud. My family tree is so complicated (based only on my siblings and their parents) that ancestry websites can’t keep it all straight. I can’t possibly expect you to keep it all straight, which is why this post exists. Below, you will find a reference of my siblings’ names, their relationship and degree of connection to myself, and their parent’s role(s). Of course, none of the names will be correct or legal. This is for the protection of all involved parties.
List of Parents:
Baggins: Mother’s second S.O.
Gamgee: Mother’s third S.O.
Dirk: Mother’s fourth S.O.
Blushing: Father’s second S.O.
Birdy: Father’s third S.O.
List of Children:
Oak: My twin brother, born to Mother and Father
Spoon: born to Mother and Father
Walken: born to Mother and Baggins
Sam: born to Mother and Gamgee
Gem: born to Blushing and past partner
Big: born to Father and Blushing
Little: born to Father and Blushing
Complete: Born to Father and Birdy
Jax: Born to Father and Birdy
All unnamed children who did not make it onto this list did not have a parent in common with myself AND I do not have a relationship of any kind with them.
Disclaimer: The number of kids seems to be different each time I count it up. It doesn’t help that several of the father-types in this list have kids I don’t know, and there are a couple of illegitimate kids I can’t confirm. All numbers are as close as I could get at 2am.