If someone had talked with Nate as a high school student and told him he’d end up married with seven kids, he’d have guffawed heartily while sputtering, “Never!”
The fact that it panned out that way is a credit to his flexibility. Each one that came along turned into a fascination for him, each for different reasons. Nate knew nothing about babies as a newlywed, and when Nelson was born weighing in at 10 pounds, his first words as a father, spoken in the delivery room were, “He’s so tiny!” The medical staff had a good howl over that one.
But even though Nate didn’t relate in a natural way to newborns, he jumped in with both feet and participated wholeheartedly. I remember watching him hold Nelson for the first time while still in his green scrubs, bringing the baby nose-to-nose and staring at his face in silence. Nate was mesmerized, or maybe just in shock. Although I’d like to ascribe a spiritual meaning to what he was thinking at that moment, it was probably something basic like, “I can’t believe a real human being just came out of Margaret!”
As the years went by, he became adept at handling one, two, three kids at once. I was focused on babies from the time I could hold onto one. Nate, on the other hand, hadn’t held a baby until his own. Hunting for certain pictures to post each day, I’ve come across endless photos of Nate amidst crowds of kids. His smiles are broad, and he appears to be having a good time. I’m not sure I ever gave him credit for how far he’d come on that score. He wasn’t just willing to raise a large family but was enthusiastic about doing it. And for him the real pay-dirt came as each got older. The more birthdays they had, the better he related. And when his life was given an end-date, his kids were the people he wanted to be with and talk to, his greatest treasures.
Since many of you have commented on how much you like to see pictures posted on this site, you’ll find a whole bunch today. Lets title the gallery, “Kids, Kids, Kids… and Nate.” The random nature in which the photos attached themselves to the post is somewhat representative of life with seven kids, even though the real reason they’re all over the place is that I don’t know how to do it right!
“Who are these with you?” he asked. Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant.” (Genesis 33:5)