Thursday, April 25, 2013

Here's to One More

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:


Comedian Jim Gaffigan, who grew up in a family of six children and is now a father of five, once said, “Big families are like waterbed stores. They used to be everywhere, now they’re just weird.”

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.)  

I don’t know what the threshold is before one is considered A Large Family, but I do know that it’s already been several years that we've fielded that “Ah, nuts” look on the faces of waitresses, library workers, and people sitting behind us at the movies. Once, while shopping at Costco (natch), an employee actually watched our parade and queried, “Is this a school field trip?” Katie responded, “No. It’s a family.” (As if schools spend FHE at Costco, dude.)

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!


Lessa said...

Congrats! You guys are pretty much the best parents I know, so this is one lucky little soul!

Ms. Hugener said...

If any two people should continue to make more versions of themselves it is you two. I am so happy for you both and the whole fam. We love you!!

veronica said...


Kacy Faulconer said...

This is one of my favorite posts. Congratulations.

~j. said...

Beautiful and exciting! Congratulations!

Brooke said...

Replenish that earth!!! ;)

seashmore said...

I loved the photographic progression of this post. It's because of people like you (and Katie) that make me want to be able to afford a large family someday. (I hear kids are expensive.)

Heather said...

That is awesome and how come Katie still looks so great after 7. Maybe I will have 7 and see if it reverses my aging as well??=)

merathon said...

yes, Costco employee, it IS a class field trip where everyone in the class looks exactly alike!

and man-- that picture of you and katie with abbie...i had to double take because i thought katie WAS abbie!

Melayna said...

Yay for you guys!!! I am so excited for you! And thanks for filling in where I'm slacking off -- no multiplying and replenishing the earth on my end, so somebody's gotta make up for people like me... :-) And who better than the best parents ever?? It's been forever since I've seen your brood -- I'll have to fix that sometime soon... :-)

mamagale said...

Welcome to the Eight Kids Club! It's kinda exclusive and not for the faint of heart, but oh the joy! The baby of our family is 14 and the oldest is 29 so the rewards of grandchildren are beginning. Congratulations and blessings to you and your beautiful family!

Unknown said...

Yeah!!! I want some more sit down comedy - when's the next gig? Congrats! We love and miss your family!