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Fathering Sextuplets :: What You May Not Know

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Hey everyone, Lauren here!  As the mother of sextuplets, I’m often the one in the spotlight.  I’m placed on the Supermom pedestal.  But the truth is, I’m  part of a team.  David is my husband, the father of our kids, and 100% my teammate.  I often joke that we’re stuck with each other because we have too many kids.  But honestly – I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I’m thrilled that today HE is the one in the spotlight and you’re getting HIS view on raising sextuplets.  It’s honest.  It’s heartfelt.  It’s David…

When people find out I’m a father of sextuplets, I can’t blame them for asking the cliche questions such as “How do you do it?” or “How are the kids?”  But honestly, I appreciate the tougher, deeper questions that I don’t often get asked.  If you know me well, you would know that I’m a “heart on my sleeve” kind of guy, and this blog post should shed some of that openness.  This simply reveals some deep truths that you probably wouldn’t know otherwise about me.  As you read this, do not interpret this as me-to-you “expert advice.”  For me personally, this post is an accountability tool for myself; making this public drives me to up my game.  For you, I hope it is something you can relate to about fatherhood, both the good and the trying.

Fathering Sextuplets

It’s not about you.

To quote a friend from college, “Marriage reminds you how much you suck.”  Meaning, sharing my life with my wife Lauren exposes how selfish I can be, as well as other weaknesses of mine.  I learned that being a father takes that quote to the next degree, further exposing that I continually struggle with selfishness, pride, and complacency.  I’m still learning to adapt to bypassing unplanned Happy Hours after work, missing weekly basketball with the guys, or staying up late playing video games with my brothers.  I find it dangerous to ponder “remember life before kids…”   What sets me straight is to imagine my life right now, but without my kids.  To me, it’s an instant smack to the face, as I would miss them terribly.  It reminds me that my kids love me, need me, crave my attention, and that’s enough to ground me to the fact that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Through thick and thin.

Yeah, Lauren and I argue about means of raising our kids.  But since becoming a dad, I’ve never been so dependent on Lauren, and that’s a good thing.  I absolutely need her, and I’d like to think she needs me too.  Divorce rates amongst High Order Multiples parents are high, as well as divorce rates amongst parents of special needs kids.  These statistics do not bode well for us.  The simple truth – our kids could not continue to thrive without Lauren, so I better not mess that up.  Lauren likens me to a volcano: mostly calm, but when angry, it’s pretty bad.  However, no matter how heated our arguments, I eventually swallow my pride, and we are very apologetic and forgiving of each other.  You should be learning that putting pride away has really helped me be a better dad and husband.

While on a mission trip in Nicaragua, we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.

While on a mission trip in Nicaragua, we celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.

Esterina.

Ever been asked the question, “If you could meet someone who’s no longer alive, who would it be?”  For me, it would be a particular older lady who lived in northern Italy.  You see, my dad served in the U.S. Army and moved with my mom to Vicenza, Italy in the early 80s.  {Side note :: I forget how cool my parents are to live abroad from Italy all the way to Hawaii.}  Instead of living on post, they chose to live with a landlady named Esterina.  From the stories I heard, this lady really loved me.  She took care of me, made and fed me gnocchi, and even walked me around the streets of Vicenza in the stroller.  Sadly, I do not remember her as we moved stateside when I was very young, and she passed away long before our family visited Italy back in 2001.  Why do I bring her up?  Because there are so many neighbors, friends, and family who have been the ‘Esterinas’ in our kids’ lives.  From a neighbor that went from stranger to honorary grandmother, to a NICU nurse that we’re still close friends with now, to our church friends who spent the nights over to help with feeding five mouths at 2 a.m.  My parents and Lauren’s parents stay with us for days at a time, treating us to some of our favorite restaurants to-go that we typically can’t go out to enjoy.  I swear, Lauren’s grandparents are reversing their ages when they come over; they are wittier than ever and can even pick up hefty Benjamin and Andrew with ease.  Even friends from work were generous enough to surprise us with the purchase of a LightAide to help develop Leah’s vision.  I can’t forget our dog Maggie, who does so well with the kids and is Caroline’s best friend.  We will do our best to keep our kids involved with these people who love them, so that our kids will never forget them as well.  We have learned that it’s okay to accept help from others; otherwise, you may be robbing a blessing from them, and from your kids.

Me with Esterina for my first haircut.

Me with Esterina for my first haircut.

Dealing with Special Needs.

I don’t have a favorite child, and I truly don’t like it when someone asks me who mine is.  However, I do have to dedicate this paragraph to Leah.  She was the last out of the NICU and faces many hardships.  There isn’t a day that goes by where I wish I could trade my brain with hers. Working in Information Technology, I enjoy challenges of troubleshooting and fixing IT solutions.  I struggle mightily with accepting Leah’s conditions and knowing I cannot fix it.  I’m becoming more and more appreciative of the little things she does and the developmental improvements she makes.  Despite all that she goes through, she can express the most beautiful smiles and even laughter, especially when you sing to her.  To all those who have special needs kids or work with special needs kids…you are heroes.  You see worth in kids that others do not see, and you’re able to help kids develop who others don’t think can be helped.  Thank you.

We love Leah smiles! Photo courtesy of Lisa Holloway photography.

We love Leah smiles! Photo courtesy of Lisa Holloway photography.

Final Points.

  • If you have rowdy kids, it’s not a bad idea to wear a cup around the house.
  • Let your wife have her girl time, and do your best to have your guy time.  Don’t lose those friendships, which could lead to resentment to your kids.
  • Be more ‘intentional’ with your friends and family.  In today’s world, it’s easy to lose facetime and deepness with those you love.  Since when did voicemails become annoying and texting the primary means of communication? {I’m guilty of this big time, too.}
  • Go on dates.  These weren’t as big a deal before kids, but now I can’t wait to go out with Lauren and get away.  Far, far away.
  • If you’re a closet video gamer, don’t be ashamed.  Hey, it’s hard for me to leave the house, so what better way to hang out with my brothers and friends {who don’t live nearby} than by talking and playing on Xbox Live?  Sometimes we talk deep stuff.  Okay, rarely.
  • Every parent wants their kids to be happy and healthy.  In addition, since I can’t force or make the decisions for my kids, I hope to raise them to lean on their experiences, education, friends, family, and faith in order to make good decisions on their own no matter what the circumstance.

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One Response to Fathering Sextuplets :: What You May Not Know

  1. Tyrone June 2, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Ah ha! I will be purchasing a cup asap….especially since my lil one now has hard sole shoes. Good solution to an age old problem.

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