You should see the look on people’s faces when I first tell them that we have five children. While I believe large families are more and more common, there are still those people who think, “holy cow that is a lot of kids”. I sort of always giggle to myself and add a comment about being “those people”. They often press on with more questions and the top is generally what their ages are. People are often more shocked to hear the large range we have,
My oldest will graduate high school before my littlest even starts public school. She will probably have children of her own before the youngest two finish school themselves. And I could very well be a grandparent while still navigating the waters of elementary.
I have 18 more years of kids at home. Well 18, give or take.
Before I had Devlynn, the oldest, I swore I’d never marry. That I’d never have kids. I sat in the bathroom of our tiny, one bedroom apartment with that pregnancy test and my work apron in my hands, wiping the tears. I was scared to death. Unmarried and now setting sail on a sea that was far outside my comfort zone. I sort of denied the whole idea of it for a long time and continued to think nothing in my life would change once this little baby arrived. I continued to wait tables, play video games and act like a stupid kid and then, she was born and like that it all changed.
Except we thought she’d be the only one.
Some years later we added Davis and then Drew. Dexter and Dixon graced us a few years later and here we are, a family of seven.
I like my big family. There is always something to do. We have preschool and lacrosse and baseball and football and homework and dodgeball and playdates. They all have different interests and all talk about different things. They’re a great group of children. And I wouldn’t change anything about any of them.
However, as my daughter approaches the end of her school career I have found myself mourning the one on one time I feel like I may of lost with her, adding so many siblings, so spaced apart. I’ve missed a million roller coaster rides sitting on the sidelines with baby and while I am at every.single.game, I know I miss things because I have to protect the toddler from falling down the hill. And it works both ways. I go to far fewer story times because I am so busy with baseball or whatever and the babies are drug all over and I worry that the dragging is making them miss out on free range babying.
It’s the story of having the bigs and having the littles.
You find yourself wishing away the toddler years and praying the teen years slow down. It’s a stark and strange contrast in parenting such a broad range of ages. It’s going through all the good and all the bad all at once.
It also adds an element of weirdness to making adult friends. I have people I know from each child’s age but no one who gets the struggle and awesomeness of having it all at once. So while they relate to my pre-pubescent boy fun-ness, they don’t get that I am having to navigate it while dealing with teen angst and a baby who is teething so badly I want to jump off a cliff.
Large family, big gap. Lots of fun.
Yesterday I was talking to a friend about college and how I worry Devlynn and all she has to give up. And that I hope she doesn’t resent me for encouraging her to stay home and go to school. Not because I don’t think she’ll thrive in a big college far away, but because I want her to have less debt and not worry about working. But by encouraging her to stay home, I am also keeping her with the zoo family. And I worry if she’ll look back and regret being part of it.
There is a lot of guilt that goes with the bigs and the littles.
Parenting is hard enough and sometimes I feel like I have dealt myself a tough hand. I’d never change it. Never. Even when they upcharge me for Great wolf lodge and my Disney entry tickets cost more then your entire vacation. Love my bigs and my littles and every big and little thing that come with them.