Let’s go back a few years…

In 2007, I had Keira. She’s my beautiful #9. 

Brendan on graduation night, with Keira

About a month later, Brendan, my #1, graduated from high school. Yes, I was a train wreck. My first born was graduating and my hormones were on a roller coaster. Not a great combination for an evening of photos.

Now that 10 years have passed, I can safely say…I was INSANELY busy back then. I’m so glad I didn’t know any different!

I had an 18, 16, 14, 10, 8, 6, 4, almost 2 and a newborn.

So, as you can imagine, everything was happening from nighttime feedings to college visits and a thousand things in between.

Driver’s Ed? Check. Potty training? Check.

Keegan, about 6 years old

Hockey? Piano? Horseback riding? Check. Check. Check.

Every age group was accounted for. Keira needed a bottle and diaper change. Declan wanted a story while sitting on the potty…Llama, Llama again! Katie was learning subtraction and Aidan was practicing cursive…badly. Abby was learning how to write a paragraph and Keegan was tackling pre algebra.

Popcorn for morning snack? I can make that happen. Let me put in another load of laundry, first. (four a day back then!)

You want to try out for the school play? Sure, go for it!  You got the lead?  THAT. IS. AWESOME!

The March For Life is this Saturday? I’m Catholic and I have 9 kids – like I’m gonna say no to that

I will always remember Brendan, age 8, in the locker room at the not-so-local hockey rink. In full gear, he would hold Keegan, 4 months, on his lap while I tied his skates. You do what you have to do.

Brendan and Katie, Christmas ’07

Equally, I remember Brendan calling from college to talk to Katie, four years old at the time. He was worried that she wouldn’t remember him. Nothing to worry about on that one…

Occasionally, there were times that relating to other parents was tricky because of our family dynamics. Like the time that I was at Keegan’s hockey game. He was 12 and I was texting his big brother, then 21 and a senior in college, with updates from the game. What I didn’t realize was that Brendan had gotten a ride to a college football game and was happily tailgating his afternoon away. Suddenly, as I sit with the other parents-of-12-year-olds, my phone rings and my less than sober adult son calls to make sure I know how much he loves me and that it means soooo much to him that I send him these game updates, and how much he loves me(again). Keep in mind, folks, that he was an adult and I knew he was safe and I’ll admit that it was all pretty hilarious. I’m not sure the other parents could relate, though. That’s ok. We didn’t have that much in common, anyway.

Then there were the logistics of keeping this family up and running. My husband is the master planner…thank God. The kids learned how to wait, sometimes getting dropped off early at their activity so that we could get a sibling to their activity.

Some days included a quick 20-mile trip to get one to driver’s ed and another to swim practice or someone to hockey and another to the store to buy a homecoming dress. Team dinner? REALLY??? (at least that meant I didn’t have to cook that night!)

Speaking of cooking, dinner for eleven? You bet! Every night. It was an event.

The dinner table, before Meg and Ryan joined our family

There were days when I would be up at 6 for a quiet cup of coffee with my husband and then start the morning with homeschooling at 8 and the next time I noticed the clock, it was time to start dinner. Of course, making dinner for this crew usually took two hours from prep to table.

Some days Dad’s schedule allowed for him to pick up the older kids from high school. They would walk through the door and smell whatever was cooking. I could see it in their eyes; they were home and it was good. Their shoulders relaxed, backpacks were dropped and the little ones were hugged and snuggled.

S-u-p-p-e-r!!!!! The favorite call. Another evening to gather at the end of a long day.

The table was loud, the platters were gigantic. The grocery bill was astronomical.

We have been doing our own thing for so long, I’m not sure I would know how to parent any other way.

People used to say, “I don’t know how you do it!” I would just respond, “Oh…well…you just get up and do it, I guess!” It didn’t dawn on me that everyone’s life wasn’t like mine.

Now that I look back, it was crazy. But I wouldn’t change one day.



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