[Written last night]
Earlier this week, I was out running errands with a few of the kids [Lauren, Carrie, Sara Grace, and Steven]. We had a doctor’s appointment at 12:30, then made some stops on the way home. At one store as we walked down the bread aisle, we were stopped by a sweet elderly lady who commented on the girls’ and my matching skirts and shirts. She then turned to Steven.
“You must feel a bit left out sometimes, being the only boy,” she said with a knowing wink. “I had five brothers growing up–all older except for one.”
“Oh, but I’m not the only boy, ma’am,” Steven hastened to say. “I have five brothers–they’re just at home.”
“Is that so? You know, there are such benefits to living in a large family. I know what it’s like: besides my five brothers, I have seven children and ten grandbabies. People think having many children is harder, but in many ways, it’s easier.”
That lady was so right–and sometimes, I need a reminder of those benefits. I decided I’d list some of the best ones here.
1. There are always eager, willing helpers to be found. Whether they’re pulling weeds, loading the dishwasher, or playing with the baby, my little ones are always ready to help.
2. Older girls do everything. You cannot imagine how much of a help Rhonda and Carrie are to me! They are constantly cooking, ironing, dusting, vacuuming, teaching the littles, and saying, “I’ll do that, Mom; you go sit down with the baby.” And Lindsay, who turned twelve last April, is starting to lean more and more towards adulthood, as well. Often she will forego a game of Indians or hide-and-seek to help cook dinner, even if it’s not her job that day. Thank you, girls!!
3. The kids always have someone to play with. I think the only time I’ve ever heard one of my children say they’re bored was last spring when eight of mine were out with John. Micah and Lauren had stayed home because they were too young to go, and Jackson because he had had a bad attitude that day. Games are constantly going on in and out of our house. Indians, trucks, tea parties, hide-and-seek, pillow fights, tag… the list is endless!
4. We almost never have to buy new clothes. The children’s clothes are passed down from one to another until they simply wear out. When the boys’ jeans are too ripped-up for them to wear any longer, we hit the thrift stores.
5. Jobs get done fast. With two parents, ten hard workers, and two littles who sit and watch, we can accomplish nearly any job in a timely manner. Note the word “nearly”–there are some jobs that just can’t be done.
Example: It’s been raining a lot the past few days. Someone left the lid off of our sandbox, and it filled to the brim with water. Yesterday, I looked out the window and saw Steven directing four of his younger siblings in filling various containers with water from the sandbox and dumping the water in the yard.
“It doesn’t seem like this is working!” Jackson complained after a while. “There’s always more water. It all soaked into the sand.”
Eventually, they gave up and ran off to play–leaving the sandbox lid off. You can guess what the weather is like tonight.
6. Along the same lines: We can work together and accomplish a lot. Earlier today, we were rushing to finish school before my sister Kathryn and her three kids came over at 12:00. Lindsay played with Sara Grace, leaving me free to read to Micah, Thomas, Lauren, and Jayne. Rhonda helped George and Jackson finish their grammar, while Mark read his science book and Carrie and Steven made lunch.
There are many more, too… but I won’t bore you with any more stories from our family’s past. One last note from today: Fall is finally here, and the weather is beyond perfect. Off for a walk we go!