The Rowe Tribe

The Rowe Tribe

Friday, July 27, 2012

There Was A Family...On the Marsh

"One day my friend and I were walking near the marsh along the southern shore and we saw this family, at least that's what it appeared to us to be.  We were quite alarmed, there were so many of them, but then, no, we realized, they were not an extended family, but my goodness, it must be one whole family.  My, my, but why in the world are there so many?  My friend whispers, 'They're probably Catholic.' 
Maybe, but I just don't know.  But why?  Even Catholics don't always have large families; so what's wrong with them?  Don't they know how to fix that?  In this day and age, it's just too expensive to have all those children.  My friend, readily agreeing, clicked her tongue adding, 'college is just out of the picture, why we could hardly handle the 3 we had; they're so expensive and my word I just always wanted some peace and quiet.' 
Yes, I responded with a sadness in my voice, those crazy people will just never know what it will be like to retire and have the things they want and the time to do whatever they want.  They'll never get to do things because they'll be paying for all those children forever. 
I just don't understand that weird group of those out there who have loads of children.  Really now, God gave me a boy and a girl and now I can get it over and done with.  You, my dear, have 3, but that's ok; you had 2 girls, so it was okay for you to have another. There's so much more to life and they're going to miss so much.  'Well', said my friend, 'just don't ask them these questions.  They always have such perk and cute answers and usually it's embarrassing to ask so please just don't say anything to them.' 
We continued to walk and gawk without being noticed, in silence, watching this crazy family and yes, the children must all belong to both those parents, they all look alike.  And I just couldn't help but feel sorry for them, here they had this teenager and a baby and all those others in between.  How miserable they must feel knowing they have to start over again and go through all those stages, the terrible twos, the horrible teenage years, oh yes, they'll see the error in their ways and they will regret it.
My friend lifted her hand slightly to nudge my eye toward the wrestling that was now taking place on the soft marsh grass.  'If they keep this up, they'll be very wet at high tide and that mud will never come out of their clothes.  And, can you imagine doing laundry for that crew?' 
She continued, 'Just how old do you think the baby is?  She can walk but she's so tiny.  Maybe they don't have time to feed her.'
'Yes, that's it', my friend said, 'I'm sure in large families, there's just not enough time to help everyone and someone's always left out.  I wonder just how much attention she gets?  Probably never enough.'
Look over there, those younger ones are wild and acting crazy, I said.  Don't they know that out in public they must be civilized and behave extremely well?   Because they're such a large family, people will really look at them more closely; people are always watching and it's important what others think of them.  Those parents shouldn't let them act
'Oh no!'  What, I exclaimed?  'Just look over there at that, that, rabble rouser of a youngster.  He has stepped into a puddle hidden under the marsh grass and look what happened to his shoe!  If he were my child.....'
Oh, it's just mud, it will wash. 
'But what a chore and shoes are expensive.  See this is exactly my point from before, children are expensive and they cost you so much time and money.'  I just nodded my head.
I do want to know one thing though, How do they get that teenager to hang with them?  There must be some secret bribe going on. My son would never come out here with us.  He thinks we're weird and doesn't want to be seen with us anymore.  He just wants to hang out with his football buddies.   But this guy, he's throwing football passes with his dad...HIS DAD! and running them back.
My friend pauses for a moment and points out a beautiful girl sitting on the marsh with the dad taking lots of pictures.  'She looks so sweet and happy, I wonder what she thinks of all those children? They must have lots of conflict and surely they don't always get along, but why have so many?  Spare yourselves all that work; let them grow up, get jobs, and then they can learn how to get along with people.'
And the mother...hasn't anybody ever told her that she needs to wear make-up and look a little more, umm, put together?  Her hair doesn't look like it's been brushed in several days.  See, I told you, having all those people to take care of will just wear you down; you'll never have any time for yourself.  Someone should tell her that she needs to think about herself some and get some 'me' time.
There they go again except now the tide has turned.

'Speaking of tide, it's time for us to move on home.  The real tide is coming in and we're going to lose our beach to walk on, let's go.'

Look, that family is leaving too, taking the same path back to their house that we are. 
I know, I know, I shouldn't be looking in the windows as we walk, but it's so easy to see in now that it's dark.  Can you believe it's this late and those children are still up?  You'd think they were on vacation or something!  And really, who lets their children wear mis-matched pajamas and eat popcorn on a weeknight?  My friend replies, 'I think they are playing some kind of game and maybe drinking hot chocolate?  It's very warm out here, why in the world would they do that?'
Yes, they're nuts, they'll never have any peace or fun because they just plain have too many children.  Work work work all the time, I'm sure those parents never get to do anything they really want to. 
So, when we get back home tonight, what are you going to do?  My friend fidgets with her hands and sighs, 'Oh, I don't know, sit on the couch and watch TV, I guess, it's a little lonely and boring at our house.  I might try to call my son, but he's leading such a fast-paced life, he doesn't have time for me or anyone.  Seems like he could marry and have a family, but alas, no grandchildren for us.  Maybe I'll listen to music and clean the house again, even though it's already clean.'  What about you? 
And I have no answer because I do not know.

The next morning I take my coffee out to the deck alone to watch the sun make its first streaks across the sky and I happen to notice 2 solitary figures pulling a dingy from the bay, their laughter echoing softly back towards the shore, the woman spilling her hot tea on her jacket, her hair, crazy and uncombed, a man's deeper voice speaking as he helps her out of the raft and hand in hand they walk up the rocky path from the dock.  Oh, I see, it's the parents of that family who has moved in down the lane, the ones we happened upon last night in the marsh.  But where are all those children, I wonder?  And then I realize, oh, yes, that teenage son, he's old enough to be left at home sleeping with a host of sleeping children. 
They have come out before 5 am to take a misty boat ride, both of them now slightly damp, leaning on each other, drinking in the sight of a new day and I have to turn and go inside.  I cannot watch.  They make me feel, yes, that's it.  I'm so glad these people and others like them with their crazy ideas of letting God control their family, or whatever it is they say, I'm just so glad they're not my friends and that they don't go to my church.  I mean, they just wouldn't fit in, no one I know is like this, not in my church, not in my life, and if I knew them, I might just begin to feel, well, maybe, just a little....guilty.  No, surely not, and I set my jaw and step inside where no one is there but me.


  1. This is a wonderful post! I am crying! I have nine children & have personally experienced other people's negative attitudes. How it must grieve the heart of God! I love your family & your blog! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

  2. This was awesome to read!! So much fun. Thank you.