The Little Things About My Little People

I have a number of children.  Not a significant nor exorbitant number of children, but still, more than a few.  Recently it's been on my mind, why?  Why have a bunch of children?  What is it about having children that makes me so content?  Why do I want to have a million more children?  Is it in my DNA?  My cultural orientation? 
Maybe it's the conversation I had ten years ago with two mothers who each had eight kids.  They said, "You never regret the kids you have, you only regret the ones you don't."

Having children is the most difficult thing in the world.  It's so hard.  There's so much work.  The babies come and they're just like little kittens -- balls of cuddle to love and care for who rely entirely on you.  That's satisfying.  

But babies ruin your body and your sleep and your errands.  
And then they grow up.  They're noisy and needy and naughty.  And I'm right in the thick of it, looking into the chasm of summer alone all day with four kids. I'm ready.  This is my thing. Kids are my passion.  
I wake up every day exhausted and during the day I am alternately amazed and hell of annoyed, bored and keeping 25 balls in the air, humbled to tears and exalted with pride, worn out and invigorated, grateful, oh so very grateful and feeling grandly cursed.  And that's just before noon.

I feel like having a handful of kids is living a hardcore lifestyle.  Three of the most impressive women I know have 7, 7, and 5 kids.  They're big time.  They're in deep and I admire that.  Their every day lives remind me of Marjorie Hinkley's quote:

But I just can't help myself.  I love all four of them and I worry I will never be done having children!  
I got this note for Mother's Day from Mimi.  The best line is not that I'm (obviously) the best mom ever and that she loves me.  This is a thank you note.  She writes, 
"Thank you for having Lou Lou for me."

From the mouths of babes, no? 

Look at that little blessing.  Mimi's sister!  Who wants to grow up without a sister?  
It was the least I could do for her.

 And look at this little blessing.  The world needed Silas' kookie smile and fun loving personality.
 Look at these little naughties.  So what if I wanted to make dessert for a bunch of people and turned to get the strawberries and found the basket empty?  They exist to thwart my progress and their messy faces give them away.

Who else is going to gnaw on our record collection?
Who else will walk the baby on the leash?

Who else will idolize Hush so much so that he has to sit just like him while playing the guitar?

Who will invite me on rainy field trips to local cultures day and then talk me in to ditching it and buying them all hot chocolate?

Who will steal my 12 hour lipstick and look like a clown for two days?
How will Hush and I spend our Saturday evenings if not for these little piano performers?
Why would I bother to cook?  Who would I eat with? Who would I train as my sous chef?

Whose smooth skin will I bury my face in?  Who will I sneak Oreos with?

Yes, they are hard and burdensome and expensive but the payoff is so worth it: imagine the army my sisters and I are creating.  I've always felt great security being a member of a big family (8 kids 2 parents) and I want my kids to have somewhat of the same experience. Having a brother or two to beat up on you is good. Having a sister or a few presents challenges and gave me a resource of experience.  

So my errands are slow.  And my grocery receipts are staggering. Those of you with just a couple kids (by choice, not because of circumstances or difficulty) are welcome to your neat lives.  But I feel powerful and validated in my little army of minions.  And I know exactly how lucky I am to be blessed with 80 fingernails and toes to clip.  So me and my family?  We're gonna ride the rails.  We're going to swan dive into the maelstrom.  And we're going to happily drown in flailing limbs and drooly kisses.


Jennie said...

Love this post. Although I had to read it while drinking a Diet Coke; not because you weren't witty, but because I am utterly and thoroughly exhausted from this week (end of school) and all that my littles bring to my life. I read your post slowly so I could absorb each word and truly remember and embrace why these feelings I have are sweet and not something I should wish away. Although.... I kinda thought there might be a baby announcement at the end of your post. Hmmmm, maybe in the near future? :))))

One Fish said...

I love this. I've spent a good amount of time thinking about this very topic. I've spent a good amount of time, emotion and physical discomfort attempting to bring more children into my family. I'm pretty pleased with my success despite the obvious challenges it has presented. Now that it has become obvious that I'm not going to be having more children, I'm determined to make sure my kids have a close cousin posse to fill the gaps. My kids call their closest cousins their "cousin brother and cousin sister" because we spend so much time with them. It has been fun and healing to find a place to channel that extra love because I would fill my world with more kids if I could- I'm okay relying on my siblings to produce the rest of my army of tiny loved ones as long as they will share with me.

Circe said...

Perfect. I love every word. And I love your army.

Mama Coons said...

I couldn't, wouldn't trade any of my seven back. Money and sleep are just passing fancies... The love of family is eternal!!!

Jo said...

Amen sister! You have a great army. Silas was cracking me up at that Spring family night! How do I feel like I'm drowning and I don't have an army...yet? Teach me your ways! Or I may die, but seriously this is exactly what I've been feeling lately and feeling guilty about not being very patient or nice. Anyway, we need to hang out more.

Nurse Graham said...

Loved every word you said. You are so right about the cooking thing. Now that my children are grown and out of the house, I find that I do hardly any cooking. Cooking for two is not nearly as much fun (or as rewarding) as cooking for four or more. Keep being awesome. Your kids are in for a grand life.

Pam said...

Your message was gloriously said, and I agree with everything.

Camille said...

I love this post! Being around people at work that only want one kid or two kids or NO kids makes me feel sorry for them. I once heard one fellow nurse say: "Anyone who has more kids than they have hands is stupid." How sad is that?? I am happy you have so many kids because I love your kids! The world definitely needs Silas's lipstick face.

Caroline C. Bingham said...

I wish that I was able to have more kids. I always wanted at least five... just wasn't in the cards for me.

Luckily. I just happened to move across the country and just happen to live closer to all my sisters who just happen to be having lots of babies... so at least there's that. ;)

Unknown said...

What a beautiful post Nor. Way to think positive because raising children is the hardest thing ever. Also the most rewarding thing I've done, but very hard. Especially for little old me who grew up as a lonely only child. Having 3 feels like an army to me, but that's because I didn't have any siblings to practice on. This mama thing is completely new unchartered territory. I love it when I get it right. When dinner is delicious and everyone eats it and we're on time for church and activities and I push myself to give my kids realistic consequences for their choices even if that means using a lot more of my precious energy. If my body weren't so old and tired, I would try for another. I'm not strong enough to survive another pregnancy and birth. Do they let women with 3 children already adopt? I don't know. One happy thing I don't think I have told you is that our family will have our first baby cousin soon. Stella Monroe is due 8/15/15. I wish she were closer than Alabama so she and Eden could grow up together but you never know. Folks do move on occasion. I love big families. Especially yours. I remember having dinner at your house before we were married and watching Pam in total and complete Awh. She was passing out bread like you would deal cards and she made a delicous Cour'don Bleu another time (I think. Spelling?) I remember thinking, "WOW. How does she do this and keep track of so many people and a children's theatre?" I am still amazed. Your family is fun. Big families are so fun. I am happy that you want to carry on this tradition despite the challenges because there is nothing better on earth than having your own people!

Camille said...

I read this again when I hate being pregnant.