When people build families, they think that new people will come into their lives one or two at a time. A new husband, maybe a baby, all of it manageable. It’s not hard, adjusting to a new person. There’s some work involved, maybe some new attitudes, a stab at generosity and understanding. Take it slow and easy.
There’s no slow and no easy, when four babies enter the family all at the same time. When cousins of my cousin had babies, they had four at a whack. Natural born quads. They had a significant stint in the hospital, lots of prenatal and postnatal care. But once the kids were old enough and developed enough to eat and breath, it was up to the parents, Robert and Sally. No sleep for years.
Robert came home and went to work, working three to five jobs for over 30 years of his life. His idea of retirement? Only working one job, an eight-hour shift. Sally stayed home especially when the kids were little. Who could afford day-care for four kids at once? It was marginally controlled chaos.
The kids turned out great. They are in their mid-twenties now, in the life-development phase of young adulthood. It’s so fun to watch them together. If they could find a way to all sit in the same chair, they’d do it without self-consciousness. They are so used to being in the same space at the same time that it’s second nature to them. They have the same stare, a really, focused, intense looking, a grasping for understanding and direction. It’s fearsome.
There are two boys, and two girls. Crystal is married to Eric and has earned a Ph.D. in physical therapy. Jennifer, usually shortened to Jenn, did a stint in the armed services and is a respiratory therapist. Matthew is married to Charlotte, a nurse. He’s a musician, given to gypsy music played on an ancient accordion. It is utterly endearing and he’s fabulous in a svelte black hat. Then there’s Steven, maybe the last to find his footing. He’s gorgeous, but he doesn’t know it yet, although the time he spends on the back of a bike will make that more apparent. He is wickedly funny. All four kids share a happy trait: they are both frugal and ambitious.
As far as I can tell, Robert and Sally did a majestic job of parenting.