Thursday evening at 10pm.
Date with my husband. Candle light glows, lavender fills the room, muscles relax in the warm water concealed by bubbles, the silky voice of 80s hunk Richard Marx in the background as I securely slip into the arms of my other half. After thirteen years, these few romantic minutes are the perfect prelude to a restful night’s sleep full of pleasant dreams.
Wait what happened to my Richard Marx dream?
“Huh,” I answered half asleep.
“Momma, I just threw up all over my bed,” says a soft voice.
“Yeah, he did!” Echoed from the end of my bed.
I hear crying. “Don’t cry honey … It’s Ok.”
“No, that’s the baby.” Oh yeah, my husband and I’s current roommate.
Now she is screaming. “Rob wake up Cooper is sick.”
“What?!?! Why is Carleigh crying?!?!” My husband says with no regards to the term whisper, which gets the boys talking.
It’s now 3am, but we are at Mission Go Time. “Rob, Cooper needs a bath. Carter you need to get in your bed. I am changing Cooper’s sheets and sanitizing the house.”
“She is going to have to wait and y’all quiet down before Caylee wakes up.”
That’s right. If you are counting along, I have given birth 18.104.22.168 times. We currently have 2 boys, Cooper (8) Carter (6), and 2 girls, Caylee (2) and Carleigh (1). That’s my “C Crew” or “C4” as my husband calls them or how some have labeled us “Two Too Many.”
I am sure many of you can relate to the scenario of a sick child. Being a mother 4 times over has taught me to have grace, be organized, stay calm, breathe and triage the situation with the precision of a military surgeon in a war zone. My husband and I smiled at each other. This is our life that we created. It’s beautiful, it’s perfect, it’s raw, it’s a blessing, and sometimes it can be messy and filled with vomit.
From strangers in Target to family members, people feel the need to express their feelings on the size of our family. It’s almost comical that society has created this belief that the perfect family is 2.5 children. I don’t view my children as numbers. Every family can be perfectly imperfect if you love your children unconditionally. If you can take care of your children and give them a loving home, then society’s opinion should not matter.
I love watching my boys build Legos, play soccer, and educate me about master splinter and the ninja turtles. If I had listened to society’s opinion and not followed my heart, I wouldn’t have given birth to my two girls. I would not be experiencing smocked dresses, big bows, or dancing classes.
Having children is a personal, emotional, lifelong decision, which solely belongs to the parties making the lifelong commitment.
We have heard comments like: “You don’t look old enough to have 4 children.” “Are they all yours?” “Do you know what causes that?” “Is your husband going to get a vasectomy soon?” “Do you ever eat and sleep?” “Are you finished now?” I always smile and politely respond how blessed I am to be their mother.
I have never viewed my family as “big.” We have welcomed each child with love and open arms. Our particular size might not work for some, but every family is perfectly unique. This is exactly the family we wanted, except for when we were looking for a “family” vehicle, but that’s a story for another blog.
So while we owe no answers to society, I will share some with you. “Yes, I’m old enough to have 4 children.” “Yes, they are all biologically mine and my husband’s.” “Yes, we know what causes it.” “No, my husband has not scheduled a vasectomy.” “Yes, I eat and sleep, only now it’s after the kids do.”
As to the last question, they say you will know when you know and currently we don’t know. Oh and NO, you cannot have my baby clothes. However, I know that the answer to that question will only be found in the hearts of my family, not the statistics of society. Whether we have one child or ten, it’s our decision.
I never found myself until I found motherhood.
We are happy. We are proud. We are many, but I am sorry society; we will never be “Two Too Many.”
Beven Adair Budden Ray is a proud native of Southern Louisiana. She was raised in Lafayette, and craves boiled crawfish daily. Beven moved to Baton Rouge for college. Being a dancer, she enrolled in a modern dance course at LSU where she met her future husband, Rob Ray. Beven is a full time mom and resides in Dutchtown, which is the perfect community to raise her “C-Crew” Cooper (8), Carter (6), Caylee (2) and Carleigh (1). She is having the time of her life. She and her “C-Crew” dance and sing through the day as if it were a Broadway Musical, which always includes color coordinated wardrobe and BIG bows on little girls. She makes no secret that she believes from the food and music to the rich culture and cypress swamps, there is no place on Earth like South Louisiana. She is thrilled to be raising her Cajun Cuties in a place so beautifully unique that even the Target greeter speaks.