The simplest way to learn my siblings’ names and everything would be to use a list. A quick, simple, read-through-the-names-and-learn-what-you-can way to see who I am and who we are. Unfortunately, I don’t believe in lists of children, as families are far more complex than anything which would belong on a list. So in this case, a brief summary, perhaps – still simplified far more than would be preferable – is the best way to learn our names.
First, fifteen years ago, there was my mom, my dad, and my oldest sister Philippa, along with the dog, Gulliver. Then, fourteen years ago, I came along, probably stealing much more attention than Pippa would have liked. After me came Beatrix, a year-and-a-half my junior, then Juniper, a year and a half after her. Mom and Dad started thinking about adoption not long after Junie was born, and my brother Nikolai, from Bulgaria, who is my age, came home only a few months after our fifth baby, Coraline, was born. With them, we started a whirlwind of family-growing, during which we added one family member per calendar year for eight years. A year after Niko came home, Delphinia (nickname Delia) joined us, from the same orphanage, and months after she arrived, our sixth biological baby, Annis, came along. The next year Lewis arrived, this time from China, and the year after him came Verity. Then, the following year, Thaddeus (called Teddy) came home, also from China. And the year after that, which was 2018, Freya was born. She is now one year old and will turn two in July, the same month as our newest member is due.
This is us, in age order. It’s a bit hard to figure out who everyone is, because the ages and order-in-which-we-came-home are messed up by the adoptions, but it’s Pippa, then me, then Niko, then Delia, Teddy, Lewis, Bea, Junie, Coraline, Annis, Verity, and Freya.
My name is Romilly, and that is my family’s story, about as abridged as I can get it. Apart from Lewis and Teddy, who both attend school (except for right now, when everyone is trapped at home due to COVID-19), we are homeschooled. In sixth grade, I did decide to go to school for one year, so I can’t brag that I’ve always been homeschooled, but I am definitely a homeschooler and probably can associate with many of the stereotypes which people would peg on us. Yes, I do spend an awful lot of time reading, and no, I don’t play any sports or have many friends outside of the family. But that’s all right because the friends which I do have, the ones who I live with and grew up with (and am growing up with!), are so great. I don’t know what I would do if I hadn’t been blessed with such a wonderful and maybe strange family.
Our life is loud and crazy and at times chaotic, and we don’t always love and treat each other the way we should. But that’s not all there is to this life; there’s also love, and laughter, and friendship. I am so, so grateful to get to be a part of this life, this wild, insane life which gives us all so much joy. Especially since my room is usually a safe retreat when the living room is too crazy.
Of course, there’s much more than feelings to our house, and again, there’s more than noise and an underlying friendship. There’s always activity, motion, people playing with LEGOs, people crocheting, people (okay, I guess mostly me) writing stories and reading probably more than is good for their eyes. Our house may be full of action, people doing their own things, but our family does come together every day, every meal. There are usually cookies waiting for “tea-and-snack” at four o’clock, and there’s always an extra place on the sofa for a movie night. Or at least, an extra place on the floor. On movie nights, the couch seems to be first come first serve.
So, even though life is busy and sometimes a little wild, there’s always a chance to sit back and rewind. A quiet corner to step back from the whirlwind of activity which is always swirling in the living room, and catch your breath. A brief walk around the neighborhood if you need a moment to think.
And life continues, through strange times like this one, through the rough times. It’s easy to get caught up in the action of the world, so in some ways, I am grateful for us to be stuck at home together right now. When life is wild, the best way to take a break from it is to retreat to your home, even if it is quite as loud. We’re taking advantage of this chance to deepen some friendships and end some feuds (which are mostly caused by the Legos, anyway). And, since it’s always good to get out of the house, we’re trying to stay as up-to-date on our jogs as possible.
This quarantine has also given us a chance to jump into some new hobbies (cough cough, this blog), or at least to continue old ones. Since we’ve been trapped here, we’ve been getting a lot of crocheting done, and I’ve made immense progress on a project I started in January, a book I’m writing. We’ve also somehow managed to continue our daily scurry-up of the living room, so our house is still as neat as ever, which, okay, doesn’t really mean that much. I have to admit, I’ve had the most productive month crocheting-wise, reading-wise, writing-wise, and exercise-wise ever. I suppose having to stay at home and therefore getting school done by two every day has some upsides.
Now, I don’t know if I’ll be a good blogger or if I’ll post only once in a while, but for a short time at least I plan to blog quite often. So watch this space!