This is a photo of Katie and I in 1996, moments after we found out she was pregnant for the very first time. Nine months later, we had Abbie.
We had set the camera up on some makeshift pile of teetering books in our apartment, set the timer, and ran into position. It’s an interesting moment. The photo itself seems to have captured us off guard, like we weren't quite ready when the timer went off. And when I look at this photo, it seems like a reflection of how I remember feeling. Close to Katie, not quite prepared, and not sure how the picture would turn out.
Katie was 21 years old, and I was 25. How could we possibly know how our picture would turn out? It’s been 16 years now, and, metaphorically, the picture is still developing. But the development is exciting. It’s interesting, detailed, and colorful. Sometimes it’s unexpected and imperfect. Most times it makes me smile. And I’m grateful for the people that show up as our family photo develops. I am privileged to know them. Including the newest one, who will be arriving in November.
Yep. This is our official announcement. Katie is pregnant with our 8th child.
I must admit that this was not a complete surprise; still, my reaction was kind of like this:
And that’s why I would like to pitch a new show to TLC, titled “Ken & Kate Plus 8.” But unlike TLC’s previous show, “John & Kate Plus 8,” we will be entertaining, and also not go all crazy-pants while the nation looks on. (Confession: I've never seen the show. But I hear things kind of went bananas.)
A good portion of the public gives me incredulous looks when I declare that I love having a big family. And I can see why. After all, I have consciously selected a lifestyle where nothing I own looks nice for very long. Not the couches, not the carpet, not my dress shirts, not our books, not the yard, not the computer keyboard, not the stair railing, and certainly not the car. My gosh, the car.
I suppose there is also a heightened level of inconvenience associated with having numerous children. I can’t remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. I've had to, for the most part, surrender to any form of timing or rhythm in scheduling life. Bedtime is sometime after 8 p.m. and before 10 p.m. Sports, church activities, piano lessons, Cub Scouts, and dinner are all strategically scheduled (by outside forces) to occur at the same time. And if you are supposed to be somewhere at 8:00 a.m., it doesn't matter if you start getting ready to leave the Tuesday before, you will not make it before 8:12 a.m., as you will get halfway there before you have to turn around and go back because somebody is not wearing shoes, or socks, or pants. And you just pray it is one of the children and not you.
But the frenzied mayhem and borderline lawlessness of the wild frontier known as Parents of a Large Brood is truly inspiring to me. Nothing makes me as happy as my family. Nobody makes me laugh more. Nobody makes me feel more loved. I never feel more centered than when I am doing something for the emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical well-being of my family. I am a better person because I get to be a dad to these seven souls. And here's to one more!