One of the most popular questions people ask us is, “Did you set out to have so many children?”
Good heavens, no. Who sets out to have 16 children? While we believe our perspective of children was positive, we were just like anyone else. “Children are great,” we would have probably said, “and we look forward to having a couple after we get married.”
Today, over 20 years into our marriage, we enjoy a houseful of commotion. We have 16 children today. And the shocking thing is, we’d gladly accept the 17th (or 18th, 19th, 20th, etc.).
In the typically cultural view, we, and families like us, are something of a freak show. We’ve been on a couple television gawk shows [Kids by the Dozen, 2007, Episode 3, Season 1] [“Born to Breed,” 2010, Secret Lives of Women, WE-tv] where millions of viewers caught a glimpse into our life of more than a dozen children. In a world of 2.1 children per married couple, it comes as no surprise that folks are curious as to what actually goes on in our small 2,000-square-foot home.
Want to know something funny? We sometimes wonder the same thing. God has given us one child at a time, sort of “slow cooked” us over the years. Every child comes with the same excitement as the previous. First the news, then the dreamy preparation of expectation, the delivery, the big announcement, the baby shower, and the cuddling of the newborn. Then the journey of the blessing of the child that lasts a lifetime. It is a process of which we have not yet grown tired.
Intriguing, isn’t it? Now don’t put us up on a super-saint pedestal. We struggle. We’re not immune to the same moments of doubts as you. There have been countless times we have wrestled with the obvious questions:
- Can Wendy’s health keep up with this many children?
- Can Chris’s income keep up with providing for them all?
- How can we spread the love to so many in our household?
- Can we really give the individual attention to each child?
Our books attempt to give answers to these questions, sort of “lay it on the line.” Obviously, with 16 children, we’ve settled a lot of these issues and have pressed on. We cannot think of a more joyful, loving, fulfilling life than the life we live today.
Of the four bullet points listed above, there is one question that is not on the list. It is not on the list of most couple’s, come to think of it. You probably didn’t even miss it when you read the list.
But we’re going to save that for tomorrow’s post. For now, could you answer this question: Did you set out to have as many children as you have now? Or better: What doubts did you have? We’d like to hear from you.