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A Large Family

ve8QAd   |   November 01, 2001

Karen and Brent Zeringue had an article in the Celebrate Life magazine a year or so back that I recently dug out. They have seven children, and the article was entitled, “This Is The Life.” It’s a humorous song of joy for having a large family. It is very appropriate considering the issues we deal with, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Brent writes, “When a lady in the supermarket line asks how many children I have, I tell her, ‘seven, so far.’ Her gasping and stuttering make me thankful that I know CPR. To the customer who inquires as to when I’m going to get fixed, I tell him, ‘With seven children, I’m obviously not broken. Why should I get fixed?'”

“There are many advantages to being surrounded by an army of one’s own progeny. For example, I never say, ‘Hold my place in line.’ We are the line. Nor do I despair that church attendance is down. When our family hits the front row, the building suddenly takes on the atmosphere of a tent revival.” He says, “In 14 years of marriage, we’ve only gotten one traffic ticket. We’ve probably gone over the speed limit more often than that—well, we do drive with care because our cargo is more precious than all the gold in Fort Knox.

“But, on the other hand, if a cop should ticket my wife, she would probably tell him, ‘I’m sorry, officer, my seventh child needs a nap; he has a dirty diaper and just spit up on his brother. I just didn’t see the red light.’ Eighty percent of the time, he’ll let her out of the ticket, and 99% time of the time what she told him wasn’t a lie. There’s also safety in numbers,” he says. “Who would dream of kidnapping a minivan holding seven kids?

“Sacrifices? Yes. We don’t have the money for the clubs, teams and lessons that are so important to those who contracept because they want their few children to have everything they need, except siblings. Instead, we play together in the back yard.”
“Many parents tragically ‘club’ their kids to death—soccer club, Girl Scouts, bands, etc.—but kids get tired of these. Personally, I enjoy playing basketball with my kids, jogging with them in the evening, learning German and Spanish with them, and happily watching my wife teach them aerobics and cooking.

“We couldn’t afford the antenna, so we trashed the television four years ago. Now we spend more time in the garden together and less time in front of that square ‘god’ that has assaulted families with prophets like Ellen and Roseanne.

“On any given day, we are psychotherapists mending a broken heart, doctors healing a scraped knee, priests giving forgiveness, referees delineating limits, judges determining guilt or innocence, chefs inventing new ways to present hot dogs, and clowns finding new ways to elicit smiles. But, most of all, we’re a captive audience, always marveling at these seven diminutive actors and actresses who forever delight and amaze us. And, best of all, these performers really love their audience. They kiss and hug us with great affection after each evening’s performance just before the curtains close.

“As Mother Teresa said, ‘How can there be too many children? That’s like saying there are too many flowers.'”


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