“Two kids coming from two broken homes. We had no idea how to make life or marriage work, but we were young and in love. All the odds were against us; we both had a lot of dysfunction in our lives growing up. No one in our lives had role modeled healthy relationships. No one had gone to bat for us to keep us safe. No one had taken the time to guide us. But we were determined.
I don’t think we ever imagined having a big family; it just happened. We had Darby when I was 20 and Chris was 24. As soon as I had her, my entire world changed. I was quite the party girl before having her, and after, I had zero desire to go out again. I spent my 21st birthday nursing her and rocking her in the crappiest little duplex you can imagine. We were broke, and I was the happiest I had ever been. Being parents was the most amazing gig either of us had experienced.
The next 15 years would bring 7 more kids. The amount of rude comments I received over those years were astounding. ‘Don’t you know how that happens?’ ‘Who is going to pay for their college?’ ‘Are you done yet?’ ‘Are you crazy?’ ‘How do you afford them?’ And on, and on, and on.
We would just smile, and then we would talk about it on the way home. We could just not figure out why everyone saw having a big family as such a negative. We never had much money, but we were so happy.
We have adult kids now, a lot of teenagers, and one little one. I wish I could go back to all the people who had the big savings accounts and fancy cars for their kids when they turned sixteen — all those people who made rude comments — and compare lives with them now.
My kids have something money could never buy. They have the biggest support system and the most people who love them unconditionally. It is my greatest joy to watch them together. They are each other’s best friends.
If one of the kids has a break up, they all swoop in and pick that kid up. They tell them every amazing thing they have going for them, and then, of course, how awful their ex is. They are the most protective siblings.
If someone is succeeding at something, they are there hyping them up. They have the biggest cheering section in the stands at any game, concert, and award ceremony.
Every single Christmas Eve, they all sleep together in the same room. They take traditions very seriously, and they love to be together.
No matter what life throws at these kids, they always know they will be okay because they will have 9 people who will catch them if they fall, love them when they make a mistake, and support them at every turn. To watch our kids love each other so well makes us more proud of them than any accomplishments they have achieved.
These kids are the funniest, smartest, most amazing kids I know. You do not have to be a typical family with two kids and two full-time working parents to have great kids. You can be a stay-at-home mom, build forts, go hiking, play all day with your kids, and they will turn out better than you can imagine. In a world of more, I am grateful we had less.
We had less money, but more love.
We had less toys, but more love.
We had less dinners out, but more love.
We had less friends, but more love.
We had less vacations, but more love.
How did we get here? LOVE.
You don’t need to have all the new toys, trips, or name brand clothes. But, what you do need, is unconditional love. Pour your love into your kids, and I promise you they will pour that love into each other. The sacrifices we made financially have paid off a million times over.
So, were we crazy? Maybe. But thank goodness! Did we know how that happened? Heck ya, we did. And look at what we have to show for it.
How did we afford them? I color/cut my own hair. I have never had my nails done. You get the idea. We prioritized what was important to us, and it was always them.
Also, college. They are smart, they are athletic, and they are hard workers getting scholarships. But thank you for your concern random folks.
You don’t have to come from a great start to create something great.”
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