Family Photos

You should collect kids instead of coins.

My kids don’t get what other kids get. Because there are so many of them they kind of get the shaft. I have five little clones and there just ain’t enough to go around. Ever. The shaft is not limited to my time. There ain’t enough of anything around here. Except kids…there are plenty of those.

So tonight, as I was brushing my teeth, I was thinking about my kids. (I always think about them when I’m brushing my teeth. Cavity bugs and kids have a lot in common…they sneak up on me every night at 1 AM.) Anyhow, I was thinking about how shafted they really are. When I compare what we give to our kids┬áto what so many other parents give their kids it’s actually a little embarrassing and perhaps criminal.

It’s just impossible for us to give our five children what other people give their one, two, or three children. Maybe four is pretty even, but for argument’s sake let’s just skip four. Knick knack, paddy whack, give a dog a bone. (You double-figure families are a whole other story.) From me and my hubby, my kids may never get a European tour, a cruise, college tuition (much less room and board), ski passes, equestrian pursuits, private music lessons, designer clothes, sports camps, unnecessary shoes, to fly (anywhere), and/or a lot of other things.

I’m not judging you that do have fewer kids and/or can afford the finer things in life…more power to you. (Although, one warning: the therapeutic boarding school I worked at was full of kids from really wealthy families. They had a lot of “stuff” but not enough of what really mattered.) I’m also not writing this for you to feel sorry for me or my kids. I am just trying to paint a picture of what it is like to live in a large family. Let’s face it, when a couple chooses to have many children (I’ll let you define many, but I would definitely say our family is large) they know they are choosing family over wealth.

Interestingly, last month, in my environmental writing class I learned this FACT: When societies are more successful economically their family sizes drastically reduce…so, of course the opposite is generally true…when families are large there is typically less of a focus on materialism. In my family size I know I’ve chosen the better part. All one has to do is spend some one-on-one time with my kids to see that they trump any amount of money, possessions, or leisure I could ever stockpile. (Do not judge my opinion over one of our family dinners, with all the noise, you’d never possibly agree.)

So, as I was circling the bristles onto my gums encasing my molars I got a grand notion: instead of focusing on what I am NOT giving my kids, maybe I should start pondering on what I am giving them.

After all, they are amazing kids. They really are. I must be doing something right. I might as well give myself some credit.
what they getCome to find out, I am actually giving my kids a lot of pretty amazing stuff.
As part of a large family here are what my kids get.

They get to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
They get to learn how to make do.
They get negotiating skills.
They get a model of two parents who value family more than “stuff”.
They get communication.
They get never-ending support.
They get to live vicariously.
They get first-aid proficiency.
They get “do-it-yourself”.
They get trade secrets.
They get friends for life they also call siblings.
They get respect for the institution of marriage.
They get respect for the organization (or chaos – however you see it) of family.
They get a master’s degree in child development before heading to college.
They get to learn selflessness.
They get make it from scratch.
They get more psychology, human relations, and sociology than most people.
They get others to divvy with the responsibility of aging parents.
They get to know how to share.
They get a greater understanding of the opposite sex.
They get a greater understanding of the same sex.
They get goodnight John Boy’s and Maryann’s.
They get how to take care of a baby.
They get their place in a bigger plan.
They get to serve.
They get to survive living with a hormonal teenager before ever having one of their own.
They get gratitude for the little things.
They get cooperation and collaboration.
They get “fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
They get emotional know-how.
They get respect for difference of opinions.
They get empathy.
They get joy in the little things.
They get real appreciation for anything and everything given to them.
They get frugality.
The get homemade.
They get love.
They get even more love.
They get so much love, they don’t want anymore.
They get real connection.
They get patience.

After writing this little piece, I am now believing that all of our societal woes are actually based in the shrinking family size. Also, I came across this video that expresses the four most important things that a parent give to their child. 1-Time 2-Education 3-Spirituality and 4-Love

I guess I am doing a pretty decent job after all. My kids now sound like the luckiest kids alive. And, well, maybe they are…even without the expensive vacations.

Next time I will write about what I get. I’m sure it’s way better than any coin collection.

Lessons from the trail: family bikeride

Man, I can’t wait for spring.
The following pictures have a funny story
that you would never guess just by looking at them.
One summer day, the year before last, a mother got really greedy
and decided that her family could ride their bikes
farther then ever before.
She wanted to make it from home to the nearby waterfalls.
It was only 16.5 miles round-trip.
bridal veil
Every family member, but her, complained the whole way.
The mom didn’t understand, she was having the time of her life.
Even the oldest daughter who was used to running all the time seemed to hate every minute.
At mile 6.5, (1.7 shy of their destiny) the mom cut her losses
and finally told everyone they could turn back.
The mother was so disappointed. The father was almost dead.
The kids vowed to never ride again.
But, to this day, all but the mom
are still all heard to brag of that long family ride
a few summers back.
(The mom is still waiting for the family conquer expedition.)
They still ride together as a family often
but never ever more then ten miles at a time.
The mom now sticks to the long distances by herself.
The moral of the story:
Sixteen miles for one person might be a piece of cake,
but just because you are that person
it doesn’t mean that you can automatically
expect your family to be as capable.
The other thing that we learned:
Together time is the best time to make memories,
even if everyone is in physical pain.
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Isn’t She Lovely

So, today, I was at McDonald’s with the playgroup from church. The other moms were watching my youngest, Bella, eat her hamburger. They all admired her and said how cute she is. One mom said, “She is just beautiful.” I said, “I know, isn’t it great, she looks just like me?” The other mom responded with a chuckle and a look of bewilderment, “Wow, I never thought that you would actually turn that compliment into yours!” [Hey, you have to take them how you can get them.] I just laughed because I guess I think I am beautiful…that’s a good thing, right?

I have three daughters and it took me that many to get one to look like me. I told the other mom,”Well, everyone always tells me that she is beautuful and she does look just like me. I am so happy about that.” What could they say; they all agreed that she does look just like me. I guess I really am beautiful. Who would of thought that having kids could overfeed one’s ego?