The Irwins across the street had seven hooligans hanging out the windows of their house; consequently, I never realized six or seven kids was a lot. It was just how many we had. I thought, when I grew up, I'd probably have a large family too. After having the first one at 20, I took a break, then had two more within 20 months. We decided to stop at three because we honestly figured #4 would show up in spite of our efforts to prevent him or her from doing so. We held at three. Sometimes I still wish for that fourth child. (Then I remember what college cost and come to my senses.)
Only when our children all got married did I realize we DID get to have a large family. God brought three more to our circle, and then their children began to arrive. Our circle has grown to twelve and we have hopes and dreams of more, in years to come. I thought of doing this post as a Thursday Thirteen but it felt too awkward. Instead I'd just like to tell you a little bit about each one. Why we treasure them.
This is Chris with his two boys, Grayson on the left of the photo, and Caiden on the right. His friends and co-workers often call him "Pace". Most of us who are his family call him Chris. It feels nice to have a separate name for him because we're his family. He is an awesome pastor, but an even better Daddy to his three kids. I love that he likes listening to the "preacher channel" even though I don't. He makes great chipotle chicken every time we visit, and is easy-going. He loves to sing along with the radio, and has a nice southern drawl. I love how he throws his head back and cracks up when he gets tickled. I will never forget looking up at our back door, and his head sticking through the door, with a backwards cap stuck on his head. His first words to me, "Hi Mom." I knew then he was the one she'd choose. She chose well.
This is Jeremy, with his son Landon, our newest grandchild. We met Jeremy when he was a few days shy of 19, again with a backwards facing cap shoved on his head. He was a big, bad football player back then. Really, he was a big teddybear of a boy/man, and he fell hard for our daughter. We've sat through his football games, win and lose, just like our own son's. We've watched him grow from a boy to a man. He's a West Virginia native, something we tend to tease him about. Really, though, it gave him a love for the outdoors, for trees and creeks and fishing and hunting. I love that about him. Landon and Leslie are blessed. Us too. He's going to be a great daddy. I imagine Landon will be a good fisherman and hunter, and a fine man because of his Dad's influence through the years.
This is sweet Janae, Dan's wife. I first heard of her when Dan phoned home, a few years ago, to tell us he had a date to his school's Homecoming. He described her as "beautiful" and "elegant". I still think that's cute as can be. She's the oldest of four in her family, three of which are girls, yet she thinks of Dan's sisters as hers also. She's girly and at the same time athletic. Leslie appreciates that she loves reading People Magazine, keeping up on the current status of Brad/Angelina/Jennifer. Sarah appreciates that she loves kids, esp. hers. She just jumped into our family, which was pretty brave, and became one of us. I'm thrilled she's tall, a bit sassy at times, can get us anywhere in Dallas we need to be, and puts up with all of us. Sometimes that's a lot. I love that she loves U2. She has a nice southern drawl, cries easily, eats sushi, and calls her Mom often. She loves Don and I, and as much as we're thankful for that, we're more thankful for how she loves our son.
So God knew what he was doing. If we'd had six of our own, we might have been too worn out to treasure these extra three that came to us. Three boys, three girls. Enough for a good game of kickball, monopoly, or just to love. We didn't even have to get up for those middle of the night feedings, make them do their homework, or pay for braces. Yet, we get to love them and fold them into our ever-growing circle. We don't always do this "in-law" thing perfect, and sometimes we forget to let them know how much they mean to us; how grateful we are they are a part of our family.
posted at 11:43 PM