This is what a father said to me after making somewhat of a spectacle at the 4th of July parade last summer. Our town of Monument hosts a 1-hour kids’ bike parade before the real parade. Approximately 500 kids wrap their bikes and trikes in red, white and blue tissue paper and walk through the parade route. The Jeubs carved out their own section waiting for the parade to start, and I naturally started a conversation with a dad right behind us.
“Eleven kids?” he laughed. “Good for you but not for me!” And then he swore.
He didn’t realize how rude the comment was in front of my children. This dad for whatever reason wanted to make it audibly known that he would never be so crazy as to have so many children. (Hint strongly realized: we’re crazy!)
My children heard it, and they noticed my simple smile in response to the rude comment. The Jeub Family is often misunderstood by folks who don’t know the joy of a large family, and this wasn’t any different. What was heartbreaking was that this father said this in front of his one child. A young boy, maybe 5, seated in a neatly decorated battery-operated toy Jeep. He showed no response. He didn’t look to be enjoying himself much. The parade started soon after and we marched through the Kiddy Parade. It didn’t take 30 seconds for my kids (or myself) to forget this short conversation and return to having a blast on the 4th of July.
In fact, I didn’t remember this conversation till yesterday when I took this picture (below) at a wedding in Colorado Springs. A friend of mine, Ron, father of 9, had the honor of launching his oldest son into marriage. I showed up with nine of my kids (didn’t want to out do the father of the groom) while Wendy stayed home and enjoyed a day of rest. The day was gorgeous, so after the reception the kids and I went outside and snapped a few good pics.
Is a large family good for some and not for others? Who knows but our Lord. Perhaps the father I met briefly in the parade was meant to have only one child. What I do know is this: the joy the Jeub kids have with one another is a joy that knows very little boredom or isolation. A life with many children is a rich life, full of blessing and adventure, and full of opportunities like this to take a great picture.