Friday, December 11, 2009

a mother's heart

I've been blogging for almost four years and in that time, I've stumbled across quite a few other blogs. There are only a handful, actually less than a handful, that I read with any routine frequency. Partly because I don't have the time. And partly because I don't have the time. But believe me, there are some fascinating stories out there that I could so easily get pulled in to if I didn't require a little something called sleep.

One of the blogs that I've been reading since I've been blogging is this one. I like it because the author, Chris, is the mother of seven children. (I am one of seven children.) This family once lived in a big house in New England. (I once lived in a big house in New England.) Their family is filled with an energy that was and is so similar to my own.

Other than those striking similarities, I really admire Chris's humor, what I perceive to be her outlook on life, and the stories that she has to share about raising a large family. While some might consider our family to be large - everything is relative - and her's is larger than ours. (By three. I counted and I real good at math.)

Chris's most recent post really touched my heart. She sums up so well the beauty of the team mentality that is created when one has a large family. And she sums up so well just one of the reasons that I feel so blessed and lucky to be the mother of children who are similarly aged.

This past week, Charlie took the kids out to lunch. While they were running around the indoor playground, another boy that was there knocked Henry off the small jungle gym. According to my husband, the triplets who had been doing their own thing and he thought were oblivious to the baby, immediately formed a circle around this boy who was bigger than any one of them individually, but not combined. They demanded that he apologize to their baby brother and then they pointed to their eyes before pointing to him, with the warning that they were watching.

They recognize that they have strength in numbers and that makes me smile.

This morning my sister Beth called. In addition to catching me up on how my father is doing (very well, thanks to those that have inquired) she told me that a little girl in her nine-year-old son's class died of leukemia. Ashley was diagnosed this past January and she died yesterday, less than a year later. Her funeral services will begin tonight. Although her mother had wanted more children, Ashley was an only child. When my sister told me this story, all of the breath that had been in me, was completely sucked out and I had hot tears for a mother I have never met.

My life is unbelievably crazy at times. My children argue and fight and break things and cause a tremendous amount of disarray at home and on the road. There are days that all I want is absolute quiet. No noise. No messes to clean up. No battles to settle. No questions to answer a hundred-fold. No distractions to wipe bums or put on socks or help put baby dolls in dresses that will only be removed and need to be reapplied ten times over the next hour.

Today is not one of those days. Today, I am keenly aware of what my alternative could be. Today, I am so thankful for my healthy children who love one another desperately. Or at least when they're at the indoor playground of Chic-Fil-A. Today I am so thankful for the noisy chaos that my family creates.


I've never heard such a beautiful sound.


  1. What a beautiful post. What you say is so very true. I will be sure to soak in all of the chaos tonight and keep that faimly in my thoughts.

    AND I LOVE the marshmellow picture! AWESOME!!

  2. Jen, I so get this post. My two boys have been sick this week. My marriage has been really tough since we've added #2 to the mix. My job is miserable and while I hate it, I have to stay there, because we need the money to eat. I lost my temper several times this week to my toddler's incessant sick whining. And then it dawned on me...

    THREE years ago, I would have DIED to be in my shoes. Why? Because I was told I could never have kids. Here I am losing my temper because my oldest is not feeling well. Yeah, fabulous mom I am. But it was a wake up call I needed. I adore my children, healthy or sick. I love my husband, annoying or not. And in spite of the chaos, I love my life. I KNOW what the alternative could be. I've been there. It's a lonely and desolate place to be and I don't want to go back.

    Great post.

  3. Such a timely post for me today. My beautiful cousin passed yesterday morning of complications from breast cancer. Though she was 31, my heart breaks for her mother and the daughter she leaves behind. Thank you for all that you do in fundraising for cancer research!

  4. *smiles* My mom was the baby of seven children... but they lived in a small house in New Orleans. LOL So there ends the similarities.

    Loved this post by the way. How awesome for Henry to have such caring older siblings... and so many of them!

  5. How true it is and how fortunate you are to have a happy family with marshmallows all balanced on their noses. Forget the house work and live every minute with your blessings.

  6. Oh how awesome that they gathered together to protect Henry. I wish I could have seen that. I especially liked the eye pointing, very creative!

  7. One of our neighbors has a daughter the same age as mine. She was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago and is now, thankfully, in remission and well on her way to being considered "cured." The girls have become friends over time (they are both quickly approaching age 6), and continually looking at the two of them on play dates and remembering how sick she once was keeps me both humble and grateful for the healthy children that I have.

  8. I read Chris' blog too and I loved that story. If and when we have more kids, I hope they are as close. Love the marshmallow pic ;~)

  9. Yep, Yep, Yep!!!!!!!!

    Side note: my sweet Amanda came home from the hospital yesterday. SIX LONG WEEKS and still a long road of rehab, but the best Christmas blessing ever. Thanks for your prayers.