Thursday, June 23, 2005

Let me introduce my family - or at least a few of my dozen!

Hi – my name is Christi and I am ‘mum2twelve’! A nice round even dozen, and as my son who is eighteen, recently pointed out - my children are trans generational. They spread across three decades, the 80’s, the 90’s, and the 00’s. I had four between 1982 and 1987. When first married and asked how many kids we wanted - I would always say; “I want two girls, and then two boys; or two boys followed by two girls, whichever way as long as they are born in groups of two so they can have playmates. (And I want four, God.) However, I forgot to tell Him that I meant 4 children spread over 6 or 8 years, not crammed into just over 4 yrs! So when the fourth was born, and I was asked if he would be the last, I responded that at 25 I was not ready to answer that question.

However, thyroid issues ensued, so it took four years before baby number five joined us. Gabriela Elizabeth is a miracle baby. Not only should I not have been able to conceive her because of such low thyroid levels, I should not have been able to carry her to term. Contractions started in her fourth month. She was the first of our 90’s babies and was born on her brother’s 4th birthday. We continued on to enjoy another feast of babies during the 90’s, giving birth to 5 in that decade. By the end of that decade we had nine children, and we really didn’t think there would be more. However, in 2000 number ten, a delightful remake of our 18 yr old son, was born. Same Roman nose and curly red hair, only Tanny’s eyes are blue and he has a dimple! Temperament is not quite the same as Miguel’s either. Both are very handsome and that’s not just my opinion either. According to Tanny Paul, he is “han umm” and all other males in the family are “dood lookin”!

In fairly rapid succession Nathaniel Paul (Tanny) was followed by two sisters. Emma Louise Kathleen, and Elsa Marie Bernadette. Emma is currently 2 and a half and a huge burr in Nathaniel’s life. To such an extent, that he actually cried for three days when he learned that the sonogram showed that his next sibling would be a sister. He was devastated! I am sure in his young mind he visualized Emma’s tortuous twin being born ready to walk, talk and able tease him in conjunction with Emma. However – he is in love with his darling baby sister, now 9 weeks old and definitely not a tease. (Yet…)

(If you click on this picture of Jenny(21), Tanny(4) and Elsa(18 hrs old) it will open up into a larger picture)

The oldest four children are all busy with their young adult lives, but still very involved with their younger siblings. The oldest, now 22, lives in NYC but only for another 7 short days at which time she will move to Boston where she has obtained a wonderful job at Harvard. Amanda Caroline is delighted to be a faculty assistant to two professors in her favorite department, Literature. And better yet, these Profs specialize in British and American Literature, as well as poetry – all great loves for Amanda. As she recently posted – God is good. In Boston she will attend First Day meetings at Friends Meeting at Cambridge. This daughter has left her Catholic heritage behind, and joined the Quakers recently. While this greatly saddens all of our family, we pray that her journey with God will be blessed, and maybe one day bring her back to our beautiful faith.

My second child – also a girl (God got the pattern right for the first eight babies and then He got bored with it!) is only 14 months younger than Amanda and is currently interning at Room At The Inn , a home for unwed mothers. I saw it recently and it is a lovely home beautifully decorated, and very, very peaceful! A rather joyful place for a young mother in need of support to pass those wondrous, but difficult months of pregnancy, and then to begin her recovery from birth and journey to independence with her new baby. Jennifer Alicia, typically a 4.0 student, is also attending summer school while also waitressing in the evenings. She is a bubbly personality and full of energy, but sometimes I worry about burn out for her. But then that is part of a mother’s job – worry.

Our two sons Jonathan, 19 and Miguel, 18 are giving their summer this year to our family business. We are at crossroads and determined to make it to the next level, and hopefully begin to bring in sufficient profits to support our large family without requiring outside assistance, beyond prayers that is! We are praying hard for success. When my husband lost his job three years ago due to lay offs, he immediately turned a part time hobby into a full time business. We have sacrificed our home, taken our sanity to the very edge and back and still we are not quite there – financially. But I think our family is somewhat stronger from the struggles of the past three years. Definitely we have learned the need for prayer, the need for family and, most of all, how much we depend on God to get from day to day – even minute to minute.

Jonathan, when not working for us – is a student at Belmont Abbey College which is where Jennifer also studies. This fall Jonathan will be a sophomore, and Jenny will be a senior. Where has the time gone, eh? Miguel, because of a few learning disabilities will continue to pursue his high school diploma from home. In 2006, if the family no longer needs his help with the business, he will either leave for college, or perhaps the military. My heart stops at that thought, as every mother’s does! Another area requiring prayer as my son seeks to know God’s will for him.

Well – I am off to bandage one of the many invisible ‘ouchies’ that only a “band-aid” will fix. I wonder if the fellow who first invented the band-aid realized the miracle cure he was offering to mums across the world – sometimes surpassing even a mother’s kiss in its magical ability make it stop hurting!

Another day – perhaps tomorrow, I will catch you up with the younger crew. Until then – adios. Read more!