Having a large family definitely comes with its set of challenges, not the least of which is having lots of different personalities trying to live together in harmony for the most part. There just are so many possible combinations of family members to interact with one another that conflict cannot be avoided all the time.
Yet, by the same token, seeing our children being sweet and loving with their siblings is one of the greatest joys for this mama.
This big guy has been with us almost since the very beginning. Truly, children of the youth are as arrows in the hands of a mighty man. My husband and I were both just young pups ourselves when we had this guy, so he's been there for most of the growing and learning we have done as adults and as parents up to this point. I'm thankful he is an especially loving and forgiving soul! :)
Isaac loves helping with his younger siblings in the service. Little Boaz is clearly enjoying it :) Anna in particular adores him, and always wants to have him be her "buddy" when we are out in public and the kids are paired up. Isaac is also my go-to guy for helping with getting the youngest ones ready for bed and all tucked in. He can brush their teeth, bathe them, and wash their hair like a pro!
John is another doting big brother. Little Boaz is very popular around here :) His favorite thing is to bring younger siblings along on his animal chores, and to play Legos and Playmobil with them.
Relaxing on Miriam's shoulder while waiting to get our tire fixed. She's basically a "mini me" with the babies.
Becky is only allowed to hold Boaz while she is sitting down, so she usually mothers Stephen and Anna. Here, she is pretending "house" with them and her dolls, tucking them in for a nap.
Look at the difference in size 22 months make! Stephen is still super excited about his baby brother, and dotes on him daily with kisses, hugs, pats, and occasionally trying to sneak him food.
I am thankful that for the most part, our kids get along with each other wonderfully, and treasure their siblings. I truly believe that there are two keys to their close relationships: For one, the fact that rather than being separated from each other all day in different grades at school, they are around each other all day, every day. And secondly, the fact that we view children as God's greatest earthly blessings has been impressed on each of them as the years are going on, and the family keeps growing. Somehow, they seem to have caught on to the notion! :)