Thursday, June 19, 2014

Large Family Life

Some people dream of having a big family and are thrilled when their dreams become reality. I feel like we stumbled into having a big family and still find ourselves a little stunned by the reality. This is due, in large part, to the way we built our family. Three the "old-fashioned" way, a baby from China to complete things. And then, three years later, two surprises from the Lord who joined our family at age nine and four. Those last two, Joshua and Isaac, have definitely kicked us into large family mode. And sometimes I feel like I am still adjusting over two years later.

There are days when I wonder why God thought it was a good idea to give me, an introvert if ever there was one, six children. I don't really like people. Yet, I am surrounded by six of them who actually expect me to speak to them all the time. I like these people who fill my world. They are fascinating, funny, and quirky. I love seeing the way they are growing and learning about God and the world. But me, really, Lord? And then He reminds me that His grace is sufficient in my weakness. And I unlock the bathroom door (surely I'm not the only one who hides there?) and I face them again with all of their questions, arguing, and commentary on things big and small.

Then there is the laundry. Eight people generate a lot of laundry.  Especially when one of them is a seven year old fashionista who regularly changes clothes several times a day and thinks each outfit needs to be washed before being returned to the closet. This summer, I am changing our system so that the older kids are responsible for their own laundry. Wish me luck.

The whole issue of food also looks different now that our family is large. I shop at Costco and buy enough to stock a small restaurant. Andy recently bought me larger pots and pans, which have been a big help. My three Asian children think American breakfast food is unacceptable so they eat Ramen noodles, grilled cheese or fried rice most mornings. I buy two of everything at the grocery store and know the clerks by name because I go there so often. I often think I have cooked enough to have leftovers, only to find that there are no leftovers at all. Three of our children have some anxiety about being hungry and not having enough food. So my purse is usually filled with a variety of snacks. Before we ever leave the house, they want to know if I have a snack with me. I always do. I can double recipes without a second thought and run the dishwasher at least twice a day. Cooking and cleaning up after meals is a lot of work, but I am thankful for the privilege to fill these  tummies and share precious time around the table.

Is it weird that we have a schedule for seating in the van? It would be so simple if they would just volunteer to sit in the back row. But instead we have a rotating schedule that resets each Sunday. I write it down in my i-phone so no one can argue or "forget" if it is their week. Speaking of the van, it is two years old and already has over 30,000 miles. Almost all of that is going back and forth to schools and doctor appointments (and Costco). And no matter how often we clean it out, it seems to generate trash at an alarming rate.

The children have all learned a poem (several years ago for the older ones, and recently for the younger ones) about Mr. Nobody.  It starts like this: "I know a funny little man, as quiet as a mouse, who does the mischief that is done in everybody's house." It goes on to tell how he's the one that's responsible for the broken dish, the spill on the carpet, the open door. Yes, he lives here.

There is more I could say about life in our large family (the copious amount of toilet paper we use, for example) but the most important thing that I am seeking to remember is how blessed we are by each one of our precious children.
Josiah (11), Amy, Andy, Caleb (13), Kimberly (16), Joshua (11), Isaac (7), Moriah (7)
(This is the small window of time in the year when I have two sets of twins!)

"Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord." Psalm 128:3

1 comment:

  1. Gah, that family photo makes me grin ear to ear.

    (And no, no you definitely aren't the only one that hides in the bathroom!)

    Keep up the beautiful work, good mama. Much love.