How big is a big family?
My Moms family is quite large. 6 kids (all married) had 18 grand-kids (10 are married) and 13 great grand-kids. For a total of 49 living members on my moms side. (See the breakdown below). But this isn’t anything compared to some families here in Ecuador!
What are Families like here in Ecuador?
I had a conversation with a taxi driver a couple weeks ago. He told me that the only time off all year he gets is New Years Eve and New Years Day (for a total of a day and a half!). For this time, his family comes over and they spend time together. In the course of conversation, I asked him how many in his family. He said: We are a big family – we are 450. That’s 450 direct descendants from his parents! His wife’s family is small (he says) with just 180 members.
So how does the math work? It sounds kind of incredible, doesn’t it? He said he has 11 brothers and sisters. So here’s a possibility (completely hypothetical – of course) of how the math might work:
- 2: 2 grandparents
- 24: 12 kids x 2 (they are married)
- 180: 10 kids each (120 grand-kids) with half of them married (60 spouses)
- 300: Each of those married couples have 5 kids each (60 X 5)
- Total: 506
So, it’s possible – albeit pretty incredible.
I met a man here in Cuenca who is roughly the same age as me. He lived in the States for a while and when he returned, he build a really nice, large house where his parents and brothers and sisters can also live. His parents are in their late 50’s. He is in his early 30’s. I’m not sure of how many brothers and sisters he has, but a couple are the same age as our daughter. They are a solid 20 years apart in age. Of course, this isn’t unheard of. But now it gets interesting! His grandfather recently remarried (after his first wife passed away). He is in his late 70’s and his second wife is in her early 40’s. And just a few months ago, they had a new baby. So. . . this man has an uncle more than 30 years younger than he is. After he told me the story he said with a huge smile: “The men in our family are very fertile!”
Families are very important here. Its not uncommon for parents to work 6 or 7 days a week. But when the parents have any time off, they head to the park – as a family. They spend time playing soccer or sharing an ice cream. The closeness of the families really stood out to us, especially when we first arrived. And it’s something we really admire in the Ecuadorian people.
Here is my much less significant lineage.
- My grandparents (maternal) have 6 kids.
- Uncle Dave had 2 children – both married, and has one grandson
- My mom Linda had 3 children – all married and has one granddaughter
- Aunt Betty has 2 children – one married. She has 3 grand-kids
- Uncle Bob has 4 children – one married and has 2 grand-kids.
- Aunt Lillian has 5 children – three married and has 4 grand-kids
- Aunt Nancy has 2 children – one married.
Total: 49 living family members on my maternal side. (2 grandparents, 6 children, 18 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, 10 married). While I was in elementary school, I often had the largest family in my class. But Ecuadorian families make this look pretty small.