Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Today has been a difficult blogging day. I had a lot of stuff that needed to get done today, leaving very little time for reading - and then when I finally did get the book read my computer starting doing weird things and kept kicking me off the Internet. I did manage to make it through the computer problems without resorting to talking like a drunken sailor though - so I consider that a personal victory.

I think, other than today's scheduling problems, that writing this blog has finally begun to get easier. It's starting to feel like a natural part of everyday life, like eating or sleeping. It's just what I do. I get up, I read, I work, I read some more, I blog, I work some more, etc. It feels like normal life now.

Today's book: "Those who grow up with only one or two siblings may sometimes gaze longingly at large, unwieldy families, believing that with multitude comes mirth, and that these big clans lead a zesty, Cheaper by the Dozen kind of life. Zanichkowsky's wrenchingly honest account of being one of 14 children neatly destroys those rosy misconceptions. He artfully describes his place as eighth in a seemingly endless line of children born to a hotheaded father and an overwhelmed mother, and how, despite the nearness of so many allies, the children grew up feeling emotionally isolated and ready to drift apart."

It's funny that the description mentions the book Cheaper by the Dozen because I think I may need to read that book, or some other happy book, to pull myself out of the funk that reading this book created. This book was bleak - which I knew that it would be going in, but I didn't anticipate it affected me emotionally the way it did. There were parts of the book, where the author was talking about the abuse he suffered, where I felt tense and almost sick to my stomach just reading about it. I guess I'm just high-strung when it comes to books. I can't read about something sad/disturbing/horrifying without feeling sick while reading it. I guess that's better than reading about something horrifying and feeling nothing - but it does make reading dark books somewhat draining. I think a nice, happy, light book is in order tomorrow. I don't think I can handle two bleak books in a row.

My busy schedule for the day was already making it hard for me to get the book read - and then I started to get bored by this book mid-way through, which unfortunately has been happening a lot with the books I've read this month. So I wasted a little time with pointless things, like obsessively staring at the list of names and birth dates for all the kids in the family. The list is truly amazing to look at because I can't even fathom how anyone could keep up with that many kids, all born so close in age. And, so you can be amazed too dear readers, here's the list:

Martha - February 26, 1943

Louise - April 1, 1944

Martin - March 22, 1945

James - August 29, 1946

Anne - October 23, 1948

Catherine - June 16, 1950

Paul - August 7, 1951

Stephen - July 21, 1952

Anthony - September 13, 1953

Elizabeth - October 11, 1954

Grace - October 22, 1955

Rita - April 25, 1957

Jane - September 18, 1960

Stephanie - October 25, 1961

After I was done looking at the list, I renamed the kids in my head. I do this whenever I don't like some one's kids names - I try to think of names that I like better that start with the same first initial. I do this all the time when I'm watching 18 Kids and Counting (a reality show about a family with 18 kids who all have names beginning with a J). It's a show that I'm weirdly fascinated by - but also repelled by - so during the parts that bug me I start renaming the kids. Sometimes I try to think of 18 names that I like that start with a J - and then when I can't manage it, I switch to trying to think of 18 names that I don't hate that start with a J. Then I just try to think of 18 names starting with any letter that I actually like. I usually tap out of names I like around kid number ten. I guess that settles it, I can never have more than ten kids or I'll end up having to call the 11th one Hey You (and then that would just cause all kinds of problems because I wouldn't be able to decide whether to put a hyphen after the Hey or not). I like about half of the names from today's book, so I didn't waste too much time on it - although the name Paul did trip me up because I just couldn't think of a P name that I like. Well now you know dear readers, this is the kind of boring thoughts that are going through my mind all day long. But, on the upside, I never get bored. There's always too many strange thoughts moving through my mind for that to happen.