Why We Have Eleven Kids (No, We Don’t Think You Have to Have Eleven Kids, Too)
Soon after we had our first baby, I saw a framed picture that has remained in my heart forever. The little girl in the picture looked just like Hannah did as a baby. She was sitting by these words, “A baby is God’s way of saying the world should go on…”
I guess it’s obvious I agree with that statement. 🙂 We just got to experience the birth of our eleventh baby last week. Eleven? 11? As in, more than TEN?? Yes, sometimes I even laugh in disbelief that all these big, middle and little people call me Momma. But as I reflect on the past almost eighteen years of this mom gig, I have to say with resounding joy, I am so glad.
So, just in case you were wondering, or just in case you are a young parent thinking about the pros and cons of the “having babies stage,” or even if you have some criticisms ready under your belt (be nice, please)..here’s my list of reasons why we would welcome such a far-out parenting job.
1. Babies mean life. Everything intrinsically and beautifully human is wrapped up in a baby. It is the ultimate sacrifice for a woman to grow and nurture and bring forth this life, and yet, the sacrifice seems to only strengthen her fierce loyalty to this little person. And the magic only increases as they get bigger. I have watched the effect of our children when we visit my grandmother in the nursing home. She rarely wants to communicate much with me, but the kids have her rapt attention. Everyone in the place can’t wait to get a hug or a smile from one of the kids. I’ve watched our eight year old keep an eighty year old in a ongoing conversation, and what a mournful time when we have to leave.
2. Children are the ultimate mirror. You might be familiar with the late pop singer Michael Jackson’s hit “Man in the Mirror.” Here’s a few of the words of the chorus: I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. ‘Cause no message could be any clearer, if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change. . . Lorenzo and I always jokingly say “It’s not child training, it’s parent training!” So, I guess I’m saying I know I sure need some work, and yep, these children have a knack with holding that mirror up in my face. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. (This is a good kind of “ouch,” lol.)
3. Children tell the truth. Somewhat related to number two, but worth it’s own spot. If you want to know anything about anyone (grown-ups that is) just look at their kids. Look at their eyes and their actions. They will tell you a lot about who the adults are they live with. And what’s so cool is the mistakes we make as mom and dad can only go to solidify our kids’ trust in our leadership . . . that is, if we bite the bullet and apologize when we miss it. You know Jesus put it best: the truth will set you free. I believe God calls children a blessing because they have this ability to very bluntly assess our missteps, yet still, love us unconditionally. Their level of grace is astounding. When our first three kids were under four years old, I had a thing about giving them bananas for lunch with their sandwich, almost every day. I did this for several reasons, the main one being bananas were inexpensive and healthy, so they were a great fit for the budget. Well, Hannah didn’t think much of those bananas, but like a typical first child, she was doing her best. One day, I said, “Hannah, you just have to tell your mouth it likes bananas.” She looked up at me and said, “Okay, but Momma, you aren’t eating bananas for lunch!” Definitely ouch, again. I still shudder to think of that moment. She was four and she literally “had ME for lunch!” I was so convicted that I started eating bananas that very day, along with all kinds of other foods I had never “liked.” In fact, just ask my mom and dad to verify my horrible pickiness. I was 27 years old when this happened, people! Now, our family motto about food is “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” Picky doesn’t stand a chance. Thanks, Hannah, your momma needed that. 🙂
Stay tuned next week for Part 2, “Yep, We Know What Causes That.” I’ll touch on mismatched socks, beans and rice, and why, though it may be hard to believe, I’m going slower than everybody else.