As I was walking to our Church for a young parents group today (after taking the bus with all four kids in tow!), I met 2 members of a not very common club. It's wasn't the Red Hat Ladies, or the Stonecutters, or even the Illuminati. As a member I can tell you we don't have a secret handshake nor do we whisper suspiciously in an ancient code while plotting world domination (not that I would lump the Red Hat Ladies in that category, you lively, lovely ladies! But then, again you never suspect the butterfly!). Members of our club are very noticeable up until we're in our 50s, but after that we look like any other person.
Our club doesn't have a fancy name (probably because we're too busy to think of one) but we are easily identified. We are the parents of many children. For whatever personal reason, at some point in our lives we decided it would be a good idea to have more than the average two kids. We joined the club when we had 3 and some of us kept going. The couple I met today were older than my parents, but once they had established that yes, all four children were mine, spoke to me at length about the huge blessing it was to have had their own five children in five years. The rare occasions on which all your kids are crying at once (which are nothing less than spirit crushing and usually result in Mommy bawling too) are more than made up for by the daily experience of having children who are never at a loss for a dance partner, someone to chase or giggle with, a confidante or, in other words, a best friend. If they're fighting with one sibling they can always play with another. While I do employ the electronic babysitter, I can trust that when I turn it off my kids will have some sort of wild, incomprehensible game going without any need of me in minutes. They feed off each other's imagination and energy. All of that is fabulous and the greatest gift I feel we've given our children. My Dad was an only child and he's told me more than once that the downside of that was that if something got broken his parents always knew whose fault it was. With 4 or more kids it would take the sleuthing skills of Sherlock Holmes to figure out who unravelled all the toilet paper or got marker all over the table. I'm relatively certain that that's because they're all accomplices and instigators.
It only took a few moments of conversation with the older couple we met while out on our walk to know we shared a common experience that's becoming all too uncommon these days. So to those of you out there thinking about having more kids I invite you to join the club. We have plenty of kool aid on tap (unless my kids have figured out how to open the fridge door) and we always love company. Sometimes it's better to live an uncommon life when that means there's always someone clamboring to say I love you, give you a peanut butter kiss, then get back to whatever mischief his or her siblings are up to. I promise once you join our club you'll find a hundred reasons every day to be thankful for your membership.