You have HOW many kids? Don’t you own a TV ?? Haven’t you worked out what causes them?? ……………Over the years I have come to expect the clichéd responses to the simple statement “We have six children!”. Well guess what ,my wife and I love having six children. They are our greatest blessing.
Not a day passes that I am not grateful for the joy,the fun,the memories,the countless unique experiences and yes the challenges we have had raising them over the last 26 years. Sure it’s been hard work at times; it has meant sacrifices on our part as parents and on the part of the children,but the benefits have been overwhelmingly greater.
Our home is always filled with activity, it often feels like Grand Central Station with a departure and arrivals schedule to match! It has regularly been the hub for the neighborhood kids looking for someone to play with and the scene of many great parties and extended family get togethers ; Our children have learned to share (not always willingly at first!) ; they rarely get a chance to be bored;-there is always someone to talk to ,to play with or to share the experiences of the day with.A shoulder to cry on over sad events and an ally to laugh with over the fun events..
The younger children have benefitted from having older siblings to help them with schoolwork, sporting activities,including coaching and umpiring their sporting teams ,Organising social events- taking them to movies,sushi trains and concerts.In turn our older children have become experienced babysitters and even decent nappy changers!…. and having younger brothers and sisters has kept them level headed-nothing keeps you grounded in reality as much as being totally embarrassed by your youngest brother in front of your friends!
Raising the children has kept both Maria and I young (well young at heart at least!). It has not allowed us to focus on the negatives of“getting old” , although it has made us appreciate the immense value of “peace and quite”!
Perhaps the most important aspect of having a large family from my perspective is that it has increased my love and admiration for Maria, my wife. I have witnessed the love she has shown the children; and I am constantly inspired by the amount of work she does running “Team de Leeuw” all done with total selflessness and compassion.
“Cheaper by the Dozen” …I’m not sure…….. but “Better with a Half Dozen”-Definitely!!!!!!!
–The following are a collection of images of my family (the de Leeuw family)—