Okay. I’m tired of pretending. Raising seven kids is no joke. When we’re out and about I’m always trying to put on the “this-is-a-walk-in-the-park” face. But I must admit that there are bees and gnats and spiders and lots of sweating happening on this particular sunny walk. When I don’t call you back, it’s not because I don’t want to talk to you; it’s because I don’t have time to talk to you.
I’m sure when you think of seven kids you think of your own struggles, and you multiply them. Seven not-so-little plates around the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table and all the snacks that go in-between. Seven attitudes that go along with those plates of food because more than likely, not everybody likes hamburger casserole or sweet potatoes or chicken Marsala or pasta (but only on Tuesdays). Then there’s seven people to dress and teach and cart around. Seven people saying, “It wasn’t me. I don’t know who left the windows down in the car. I didn’t know it was going to rain.” Seven people who don’t feed the dogs or take them for walks. Seven people who have to stop by your bedroom at night, even if it’s just to tell you who won the basketball game or to ask if she can have an apple now that she’s hungry because she didn’t like the sweet potatoes you had for dinner. Seven people who want to play soccer or take piano lessons (okay, to force to take piano lessons) or do Mock Trial or star in the community theater. Seven people who don’t like riding in the backseat or hearing “Because I said so.” Seven interruptions when you’re using the bathroom. Seven fights over the iPad or television. Six people who don’t want to listen to the baby’s Wee Sing CD again or watch Doc McStuffins heal her toys again and seven people who don’t understand why I need to hear Shirley Caesar croon “No Charge” again.
And that whole idea about “Oh, by the time you had M&M I bet it was easy”? No, I wasn’t spitting out the last two children like they were watermelon seeds. It’s called labor for a reason and Number Seven was as much fun to deliver as Number One. Ten centimeters is still ten centimeters, and they really aren’t that much to work with if you really think about it.
And don’t get me started on potty training.
So, why seven?
Because God said so. That’s my true answer. This is all Him. I never imagined more than four. But then I never imagined marrying my sweet husband and living in a beautiful, old Victorian or taking my family to Europe and wonderful sister-friends and having such a precious relationship with my parents. So, just because I never imagined it doesn’t make it bad. To the contrary, it’s more like, “exceedingly abundantly over all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
While we’re multiplying the tests and trials I should count the blessings, too. With seven you get more than an eggroll (that’s a nod to the generation who knows about the Doris Day/Brian Keith movie that’s really about six kids, but oh, well). Seven is the Biblical number of completion and perfection, after all. It relates to the days of Creation in Genesis and the Holy Spirit in Revelation. Scholars says that the Bible itself was originally divided into seven parts—the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms, the Gospels and Acts, the General Epistles, Paul’s Epistles, and Revelation.
For all of you who are like me, Bible thumpers but not Bible scholars, think on these things: I got seven chances to hold a new baby and soak in that new baby smell. With seven children I got seven opportunities to hear a first word, to see first steps, to witness the first smile that’s based on gas or angels or just snuggling with mommy. I’ve been blessed to count seventy little fingers and seventy teeny toes and wake up seven thousand nights to nurse, comfort, cuddle with, or pray over seven warm bodies. Having seven kids gives Eddie and me time to get it right (or work on our mistakes); we can afford to mess up with the first one or two or three and still get it mostly right. Not to mention all the fodder for the blog I don’t have time to write. Multiply the laughter, family movie nights, the games. Extra helpers to wash the dishes, take out the garbage, mow the lawn, and clean the bathrooms. More hugs, kisses, first dates, first proms, in-laws (oh, wait, this is the list of positives), and “I love you, Mommys.” Seven favorite board books (although Miss Spider’s Tea Party is my favorite, hands-down). Seven sets of hands to hold my feet when I do sit-ups and seven pairs of lips to tell me I’m beautiful even when I don’t . By the time M&M graduates from high school, somebody will probably bless me with a grandchild or two, so my nest will never be empty, dusty, or lonely (though they’ll have to mail Eddie and me a picture to our beach house where we’ll be hiding out by then!). And if the Rapture doesn’t come before our retirement runs out we’ve got seven places to wear out our welcome when we’re older and crankier than we are now. I mean, somebody’s gotta take us in!
So, I think I got the short end and the long end of the stick, and I’d rather have the whole stick than none, even if it’s used to beat me over the head from time to time.
People love to tell me, “Oh, I couldn’t do it” and “God bless you.” And even if you don’t mean it, I will say that yes, He has blessed me, and I couldn’t do it without Him.