My husband and I, both grew up with one sibling each. I have a younger sister, and he has a younger brother…so what ever possessed us to have 10 kids? I think that it may have been insanity, but who knows…We lost our minds a long time ago.
So why would you want to have a big family?
Here are a few things that I can think of:
1. You figure if you’re peeling potatoes, you might as well peel the entire 10lb. bag. For breakfast, the hoard would go through a loaf of bread, a box of cereal, a large bunch of bananas, and a gallon of milk, or a couple dozen eggs, 2 lbs. of bacon, a package of English Muffins, and a gallon of O.J. We would make dozens of sandwiches at a time, and freeze them for lunches. A flat of strawberries was gone in a day or two. We didn’t eat a lot of fancy foods, but we never went hungry. Once, I got a great deal at our local butcher shop. I went ahead a put a roast in the oven, on the day that I was able to stock up. The kids came piling into the house after school and stopped dead in their tracks. Noses started twitching. “What is that smell?” one of them asked. Another said, “I don’t know, but I like it.” Our oldest shouted out “I know what it is…It’s MEAT!!!”
2. You really don’t care about date nights, eating out, going to the movies, or taking a vacation. Well, maybe not ever going out…fast food was a big hit, and we would rent videos. We did take all the kids to the movies one Christmas (and at this point that included a few extras – daughters/sons-in-law, grands). I think that we went to see CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN. The tickets alone, even back then, were well over $100, so hitting the concession stand, wasn’t in the budget. We brought cans of soda, bags of candy, and individual bags of chips (big purses and diaper bags came in really handy), and we took up a couple of aisles in the balcony. Everybody had a fantastic time.
3. You think that doing homework with your kids, is a great way to spend a few hours each day. OMGosh – I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader! I was probably more frustrated with homework, than the kids were. Math was the worst. They quickly learned that there was no sense in asking me for help…”Just wait till your father gets home!”, was a phrase that was used often…and not because they were in trouble. Dad was the math expert. I was the “go to gal” for things like art projects and posters. Older children were paired up with younger ones, to help with reading and spelling words. We did not do our kids schoolwork, but we believed in pitching in, when needed…AND we were readers. Stories every night before bed.
4. You find doing laundry relaxing. In our “Hay Days”, I did at least 5 loads a day. Whites, lights, darks, and 2 loads of towels. We had separate hampers for clothes, towels, and socks…and speaking of socks – matching them was a paid event. Each child had a small basket of their own. I would do the laundry while they were at school, and place the folded clothes into their baskets (that were labeled), and they were responsible for putting them away. Sheets were washed on Saturdays, and in theory, everyone was supposed to make sure that their church clothes, were ready to go, by bed time. Geesh – I don’t think there was a single Sunday, when we weren’t frantically searching for a belt for one of the boys, or a lots shoe for one of the girls. Ahhh good times.
5. You thrive on little to no sleep. Our oldest was 16 when our youngest was born, and I nursed them all. They were NOT good sleepers. I think that in 19 years, there was only 3 months (when I was 6 months pregnant) between the 5th and 6th, when they were all sleeping through the night. I was a walking zombie for a really long time. Mommy spent a lot of time “playing on the floor”, with her eyes closed! Nap time and bed time were sacred. They really didn’t give us a hard time going to bed…it was staying asleep that was the problem.
6. You don’t need privacy in the bathroom. I don’t think that I had “alone time” in the bathroom until I was a grandmother - oops, I take that back. My youngest was just 3 1/2 when my first grandchild was born, so I had kids and grand kids in the bathroom with me. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. All of them knew that tub time for mom, meant NO DISTURBING. I didn’t get a long soak very often, but when I did, I made the most of it. If anyone asked where mom was, the answer – “On Vacation”! My trip was well planned out, and always included snacks and a book.
7. You love spending time at the pediatricians office. You also, like getting to know the emergency room staff. We made it a point to find a great pediatric clinic, with personable office staff. This makes a huge difference, when it comes to being able to get worked in on short notice, and with communication with the doctor(s). I brought treats, like homemade bread, cookies, and cake, as often as possible. This made a really positive impression, and was worth the effort. Dad took off, when little ones needed shots, or blood work, as I would more than likely pass out, from the stress – AND – he always did the emergency room runs. Our absolutely FAVORITE general practitioner, was a female from the Philippians. Her receptionist and nurse were the best. I could call in the middle of the night, and leave a message saying that we would be the first patient of the day…and they would be waiting for us to come in. I even had the doctor’s cell phone number. Her name was Norma Fernandez. She told one of the kids, in her delightful accent, what her name was, and they thought that she said No More Bananas – so that became her name from then on. Her nurse was dubbed Lollypop. One of my boys was the very last patient that she saw. She added an extra appointment to her schedule. She was only going to be in the office for the morning, as she was having exploratory surgery that afternoon. Sadly, they found that she had advanced cancer. Gone is just a few months, leaving two young girls, a husband, and dozens upon dozens of grateful patients.
8. You like to shop for Christmas all year long. With so many to buy for, I was on the hunt from the “get go”. It was such a help, when the older kids knew that there wasn’t a Santa Clause – they got to stay up all night on Christmas Eve to wrap stocking gifts. One of my daughters told me recently, that one of her fondest memories, is of spending Christmas Eve’s – wrapping presents, and consuming mass quantities of cookies and hot cocoa. Breakfast on Christmas morning was always the same. Scrambled eggs, bacon, 2 or three different kinds of sweet rolls, milk and orange juice. We had a great Tangelo tree in our back yard, and I would spend hours the day before, squeezing the fruit (and straining the pulp – for the pickier family members). Our 8th was born on Christmas Eve. After that, Christmas Eve wasn’t Christmas Eve…until he had cut his birthday cake.
9. You don’t mind NOISE. TV on, stereo’s blaring, kids talking on the phone, little ones, running through the house squealing at the top of their lungs. “Mom”…”Mom”…”MOM!” “He’s touching me.” “I’m hungry.” ‘Mine, Mine, MINE!” What is the definition of a kid? Noise with dirt on it!
10. You have room in your heart, for more love than you could ever imagine. We didn’t have a big house, or fancy furniture. We didn’t buy expensive clothes, or new cars. We lived paycheck to paycheck, and had nothing put away…but our home was filled with something more precious than gold. We had love…in abundance. Sticky kisses, sweet hugs, whispered secrets, high five’s. Our cup was overflowing! Stephen, Stephanie, Simon, Sarah, Suzanne, Seth, Sariah-Lynn, Solomon, Sonnie, and Senterpiece (actual name – Joey – long story for another post:-), thank you for letting me be your mom.