Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mind Your Own Business!

If my parents had ever written a book on parenting a large family, I sometimes wonder if they would have given it the title  Mind Your Own Business.

My mother very rarely went to the doctor's due to an illness.  If mom had a houseful of sick children, our family practitioner, who  was also a dear, family  friend, would make house calls.  He and his wife, Pat, were Godparents to a handful of us and had 13 children of their own. 

Well, when Mom did take a walk down to the doctor's office, we knew that something might be up...like...a bun in the oven - type of up!  So we'd watch. 

During 'The Watch', we'd take turns, rotating every so often because the anticipation was just too much to bare for one person.

Then someone would spot her rounding the corner, which was about three houses down from our location...and they'd yell out, "Here she comes!"  We'd scramble to the window and squint, trying to catch a glimpse of her face.  And if she was crying?....Eureka!  She was pregnant, again! 

We would be clapping our hands, jumping up and down, placing bets on the sex, picking out names,  and try to conceal our excitement before she walked into the house.  I mean, we had to give her a break.

The poor woman, receiving her news and trying to absorb it was enough for one person.  Having to do it and then walk into the house looking at all those pairs of eyes looking right back at her?  Good grief.  No wonder why she cried for the next 24 hours or so.

Remind you, those were the days before modern technology.

And when her shock wore off, our house was filled with utter joy and anticipation beyond anything that I've ever known. (That is, until I carried my first child full term.)


So where am I going with all of this?

Well, a couple of weeks back, Maggie wrote about a very interesting topic ...What's Wrong With Wanting a Big Family? 

To sum it up real quick here, her post talks about society's need to attack the natural want of having a big family.  And it got me thinking...

The idea that big families are looked down upon isn't anything new. 

It has been around for awhile.   My mom and dad shared stories with us...attacks on them...because they had a big family. 

The big difference is that with today's state of moral decay,  society has no qualms about stating their unsolicited, rude and sometimes crude comments ... in front of your kids. 


I really admire parents of large families.  I admire the fact that they remain open to God's plan for them. 

And as I type this, I am keenly aware and completely sensitive to the fact that God has different "family size" plans for each of us.  I am one of those people.

It is how we respond to Him and these plans that matters; allows us to grow in faith.

(Minus 2 in-laws)

I never thought or felt strange for being one of nine. (Mom lost three others along the way.)  It was completely the opposite.  Growing up the way I did, it was life.  We never thought about.  We never questioned it.  It's what it was.  And if anyone did say something negative, it wasn't in front of us

As young adults entering parenthood ourselves, we'd ask the same question again and again, "Dad, how did you feel about each pregnancy?"  With his glasses in his teeth, he'd lower the newspaper he was reading, and nonchalantly he'd say, "....it is all God's plan.  Can't worry about it now."  Back to his newspaper he'd go. 

Dad went off to work each day...NEVER EVER complaining about his life in any way, shape or form. 

By the way, he wasn't a wealthy pharmacist in a monetary sense. These were the pre-mall, pre-mega pharmacy chain days.  Many times he'd put up with the hole in his shoe in order for some child of his to have a new pair.

After Dad died,  Mom told us how even his closest, Catholic friends would come down on him about the size of his family.  They thought  he was a foolish pharmacist by saying, "...come on, Joe.  You work with the stuff that can prevent it." 

Oh! He died very rich; rich in spirit and faith.   I want that death....a peaceful death that we all pray for.  One surrounded by my family, being lifted up in prayer, holding my hand as you prepare to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  You cannot get any richer than that!

(That picture was taken 9 years ago.  We were trying to recreate the picture from here...plus two more kids.)

(Minus Dad and one new grandbaby.  Taken in 2008, first time we all were together since Dad passed away two years earlier.  The little man in front is a dear family friend,  Brother George, OSB.)

How sad to think that one or more of the souls in any of the pictures above should not be alive according to a large proportion of today's society.  I cannot imagine one of my siblings never having existed...nor their children.

How grateful David and I are that our parents embraced their faith and accepted the path that God called for them in particular! 


  1. How wonderful! I am one of 5 (my parents would have gratefully accepted more, but it was God's plan for them). My youngest is the 26th grandchild on my side of the family. We are open to more if it is God's plan for us! I love finding others who understand-so few do. Beautiful post!

  2. what a lovely family you have. Your dad was proud no doubt, and continues to be proud, looking down from heaven. I am one of five siblings, and my childhood friends were all part of big families as well. sigh, those days are gone. how I wish I would have had a large family of my own. As a child I had names all picked out for all the 6 children I was going to have. But things have a way of working out differently, and I consider myself blessed beyond measure to have one child. thanks for sharing, Patty and yes, our culture, sadly, frowns on large families.

  3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS POST! So beautiful I have tears in my eyes! God bless you and your family- you are an inspiration!

  4. I love looking at these big family photos! Just today I went and took 5 of the kids to vote and a lady said "oh, you must run a daycare!" Although she might have been commenting more on how our family looks...;)

  5. AMEN! What would we do without the blessed mothers and fathers bringing souls into the world? The most recent birth census from 2008 shows that the US birth rate is below self-sustaining levels! And the number of people over 70 is higher in the US now than the number of children. Your parents are inspirations. Thanks, Patty

  6. Thanks, from a mother of 6, for your encouraging words.

  7. Beautiful post. Thanks. I loved my big family growing up and I love the big family I am blessed with now. Oh, and I love your title!!!!!!

  8. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Thank you for such wonderful encouragement. I'm very keen to make our own family picture "from this to now". It would be massive! My Granny had 10 and some of them had large families too. I have 10 also and am looking forward with joy to the endless amounts of grandchildren and great grandchildren. (our first grandchild will be here soon :) )

  10. As the mother of five children I loved your post..it made me laugh and it brought tears to my eyes.The pictures of the families...wow....amazing how a family grows when there are so many siblings to start with. I would have loved to have that myself.

  11. I loved this. We "only" have four, but when I was pregnant with my fourth, someone looked at me and said, "Better you than me." It broke my heart for so many reasons and I couldn't believe this woman said this out loud to me. I wouldn't change it - I want more! Big families are good for the environment! :o)

  12. Hi Patty,

    I had to come by to say hi and thanks for your lovely comment. But what a treat I found here. I just loved this post....brought tears to my eyes and felt so cheered with your words. The family pictures are priceless and your family is rich indeed!

    God bless and thank you for your welcome comment on my blog.

  13. I just noticed this little snippet of your blog. I love it! GREAT POST about being proud of being in a large family. I am one of 2 and my husband is an only child... and we get crazy looks and comments in front of the kids about our family. God bless your garden of heavenly children. What a blessing!

  14. I love this post. My husband and I have 7 children and I home school them all because of the bias against large families. (Well, that and Catholic schools are too expensive for us.)

  15. Patty, I love your post! Such a beautiful story. "We would be clapping our hands, jumping up and down, placing bets on the sex, picking out names, and try to conceal our excitement before she walked into the house." Oh my! I can just imagine that scene.

    btw, I hopped over from Noreen's blog. I must go and read some more of your posts!

    God bless!


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