|This is shaping up to be an interesting year with many, many adventures and changes for us!|
She says "Mommy, Mommy pleeeease" in an amazingly sweet toddler voice when she wants something and it's pretty killer-cute.
Life in a Big Family
All of the kids are so excited about the new baby. When I told Charlotte she jumped up and threw her arms around me hugging me excitedly. I was really, really touched that this 18 year old "kid" didn't see her mom and dad as being too overextended to have another baby to love and cherish. I actually cried I was SO touched and it was also reassuring that we are doing a good job. Our days are filled with a lot of love, but also a lot of work. Living in a large family is quite a lesson in selflessness for all of us. Meal times are hectic, groceries disappear three days after they arrive, showers turn cold if not staggered, dishes are washed around the clock, gas is expensive wherever we go. Someone always needs me. Someone is always running through the house. Depending on the kids' ages and stages we'll go through periods of time where it seems like somebody is always crying. The youngest kids are always in the fridge, running around, or asking somebody to play something with them. Everyone shares almost everything. We sweep floors 3-4x daily. We raise our hands if there's too much talking going on and another person needs to say something. (Beatrice has seen her siblings hand raise and started raising her hand and walking up to me to show me she is doing it too! It's very, very cute!)
I'm an experienced mother (which makes things easier each time), I'm a good mother, I'm a confident and empowered mother, but I'm still very much human. I still question, doubt, and struggle. I still have good days and bad days. I still learn. I still worry about if I'm doing a good job. There isn't a time that we aren't expecting a baby that I don't ask my husband why I think I'm good enough to do this again, and if we are taking care of the kids well enough to spread ourselves thinner. He says it's probably really good moms that worry and wonder if they are good enough.
I am of course busy, so I sometimes forget to do things I say I'll do: sew something for someone, make an appointment, mail something, or give someone a hair cut that has been asking. Our kids are so patient and forgiving though. One of the negative implying questions you might get with a big family is: How can you have time for ALL of them? Besides the obvious fact that we love them and don't have any other option other than to take care of them and make time for them, we also all roll with the punches. It's understood that we all do our best and we have to have patience. We know there is a bigger world in front of us than just ourselves. We respect each other. We make the time if we have to, and we get creative with it too. Homeschooling helps a lot. The kids are actually always around me. Most of all, Ricky and I structure our life around our kids -not them around us.
It's neat to to see that the kids are totally happy to add another love-bug of a baby to this life of ours, even if it means we all have to think of another little person sometimes instead of ourselves. I remember when it was Everett, Sebastian, and Penelope who were the babies. They could melt tears away from sad siblings with a goofy smile or dance, they could change bad moods in cranky preschoolers or moody teenagers, and oh how they make us laugh! Beatrice is constantly making everyone laugh and smile. It is really special how much love she adds to our life. All of the children and teens add such specialness. Seeing the children and teens interact with each other, play together, share together, work together, problem solve together, and dream together is a priceless gift. We feel like we haven't just given them the gift of family though, we feel like we have taught them to cherish children and that children are worth the work. Kids come first. Kids matter a lot.
|When you break it down we only have: three big kids, two medium kids, and three small kids. Easy enough. ;)|
There was a special nostalgic moment early this spring I had been wanting to write about. I was at the park with the five youngest kids. When it was time to leave I was loading up a toddler, preschooler, and the elementary aged kids into our van. I was being asked for: snacks, water, what was for dinner, when will daddy would be home, could we have ice cream, and I heard someone say they dropped their toy. It was chaos, everything happening at once. I fetched water from the front seat because some of them were certain they were going to die of thirst. After I had the littlest kids buckled into their seats I just looked at everyone and froze. I took in the craziness as kid voices filled every space of the van. I just stared at them for a moment. My heart rate was up from chasing Everett into his seat, loading up kids, a stroller, a picnic basket, a diaper bag. My heart thumped on, I felt tired but accomplished. I had a sudden and totally nostalgic feeling of when I was doing this with these five guys:
|2008~ When there was five~|
I saved the following comment a while back from a dad of seven about large families. My heart smiled when I read it. I thought this post would be a nice place to keep it:
"I had 7 and loved every minute of it. Oh sure, we shopped at only the most exclusive garage sales, drove 5 year old vans, and built large utilitarian homes with 3-6 bathrooms, but it lasted so briefly and now they are all gone with many children of their own. The flashlights work, the car has gas every time, there's milk; the house is clean; and I'm bored. What a riot it was..."