Do I ever have a treat for you today! I would like to introduce to you to my dear blogging friend, Jaime Buckley.
Why does that name sound familiar, you ask?
Well, I’ve done a 6:00 shout-out on Facebook about him, there’s a huge ad in my sidebar promoting his blogging book, AND he is the rascal who publicly challenged me to participate in NaNoWriMo! I would describe Jaime as brilliant, kind, generous, and passionate about life. He’s seriously a hoot and I can’t wait for you to meet him!
Also, make sure to claim your FREE GIFT from Jaime at the end of this post… it’s an awesome goody!
So without further ado, here’s Jaime sharing:
The Top 10 Things People Say to a Father of Twelve
I want to thank Jennifer for suggesting this topic.
It’s a pleasure to write guest articles, to be invited to another domain and have the confidence of another blogger to share thoughts and feelings with their circles of influence.
The sad thing is, the article requests made to me are usually about fantasy, writing, worldbuilding, blogging or some other aspect of business. This is the first time I’ve ever been invited to talk about my family... which is the joy and center of my life.
Thank you for that, Jennifer. I’ll try my best not to disappoint.
My name is Jaime Buckley
If you don’t mind, I’d like to share some personal parts of my life with you. My friends say I have a fantastical life, but I like to think of myself as an ordinary guy.
Yes, I work with elves & dwarves, tame dragons, train heroes, topple kingdoms, craft magic and shape worlds of wonder…but that’s just my day job.
The real magic in life always begins when a girl’s involved.
This was no different.
Twenty four years ago I meet the most remarkable woman in the world.
She was perfect.
Truth be told, she smiled at me once and it was over.
My heart melted and this wayward soul did a dramatic 180 degree turn and never looked back.
On our very first date, she started crying.
“Are you ok?” I was seriously worried—girls usually didn’t cry unless I tried to sing to them, and that was usually due to pain.
“I…think we belong together,” she said behind the tears.
I smiled, “And…that’s a problem?”
“My mom said this doesn’t happen! The whole love at first sight…”
My smile grew wider. “Well, let’s see here. Happened to my grandparents—they were engaged within two weeks. Happened to my parents, who were engaged in two weeks. Sounds like we’re right on track.”
We were engaged in just over a week.
Hey, what can I say—when ya got it, ya got it.
To this day, when Kathilynn smiles at me, I still get butterflies.
I love that about her.
If I could describe my wife in one word, it would be:
Seriously, that says it all. Everyone who knows her would back me on that definition as well.
Kathilynn will deny it, but this has already gone public, so she can’t do anything about it.
She was everything I ever wanted…and over these few short years, I’ve also learned she has always been what I needed. My darling, my best friend, counselor, critic, strength, inspiration and truthfully…the beat of my heart.
We have the same religious beliefs, live by the same principles and share the same passion for family…and especially for children.
So we decided to have twelve of them.
It’s humbling to have such an amazing family. To have the privilege, joy and honor of being a “successful father” to twelve intelligent, strong, beautiful and talented children.
So you know, my wife insisted that I use the term “successful father” in that statement.
How do I define successful?
Out of our twelve children, three are married. Two daughters and now a son—who has yet to come home from his honeymoon. These three have chosen to live by the principles and spiritual teachings they were brought up with. They are thinkers, doers, followers of Christ and have chosen to impart these same beliefs and standards to their own children…which we already find reflected in our four grandchildren.
My married children have chosen wonderful spouses. All three saved themselves for their betrothed and two refused to even kiss their love until the marriage ceremony. Both son-in-laws came to us and asked my wife and I for permission before courting or proposing to my daughters (which blew me away).
It’s difficult not to get overly emotional when I see the caliber of men God presented to my daughters, due to their faithfulness and diligence in remaining unspotted.
All of our children have a deep love for family. They all choose to remain close to my wife and I. Most of their friends do not share such a relationship with their own parents, which is heartbreaking to see. Our children are leaders, guides and productive members of the community we live in, earning their individual reputations among both peers and parents.
In a world where Wal-Mart shelves are packed with birth control, DNA tests and the government asks every new mother if a child was conceived by their marriage partner or someone else… I cringe. All I have to do is look at the millions of broken marriage vows, broken homes, latchkey kids and teens who hold up celebrity hussies and athletic malcontents as role models and yes, I most assuredly consider myself a successful father.
The thing is…the credit isn’t mine.
It has never been about me.
All of these blessings are mine to enjoy, but the glory belongs to God.
The Comical Side
With an opening like that, you may think we live in a remote community, cut off from the world, wearing shawls and using horse-drawn buggies.
We’re quite the crazy family, filled with love and a whole lot of laughter. You can’t help but have fun when each member of your family is artistic, intelligent and mentally quick.
I’m the epic fantasy writer/storyteller. My wife is a master crafter/seamstress/candy maker. My oldest son is a comedian and game maker. My second oldest son is a master sculptor, sings and plays the Ukelele. All my daughters sing, draw, sew, craft, make toys…and even the smallest children follow in their footsteps.
We are also Whovians.
So I’ll just say it outright: We’re a hoot.
To not like a Buckley is, well…you’re probably one of those people who don’t like kittens or puppies.
…or talk in theaters.
Now, I’m a talker and no matter where I go, I’m in conversation—even with strangers.
It’s what we do as Buckley’s.
So it never ceases to amaze me what people say when they find out that I have twelve children. If you spend any time on WantedHero.com, you know that I’m always talking about my kids. Working with parents and especially teens on a daily basis gives me many opportunities to talk family shop.
Here’s the top ten things people ask or say in my day-to-day life, including my usual responses (Jennifer can vouch for my personality in these responses, BTW):
#10: What is it like to have so many kids?
Well, how can I describe this….It’s like having one child, with a few more thrown in.
That’s what all these questions and comments turn out to be—caparisons. This question is usually followed by, “Do you take them everywhere?”
Yes…but they always seem to find their way home.
What people fail to understand is that my experience as a father has been so utterly fantastic, it’s the very reason I have never hesitated in having more.
It’s blissful to me.
When Roman, our newest addition, was born—my oldest daughter took all but our youngest to her home, giving mom a few days to rest. You know what happened? Both Kathilynn and I had separation anxiety and wanted them all back.
#9: How Many Boys? How Many Girls?
I always answer this the same way.
“I have all boys but eight.”
#8: Are They All Yours?
Well, no. Some are rented and a few followed us home one day. Since their owners didn’t show up, we decided to keep them.
#7: Can You Remember All Their Names?
There are so many of them, I don’t bother with names—we just glued bar codes to the backs of their heads.
You know what’s actually comical about this question—is when I tell them all my kids have a second middle name. My wife is half Samoan, so when we got married, it was important to us to teach our children a little about their heritage. My father in law was asked to give each of his grandchildren a second name.
Ohhhhhhh boy. Talk about tongue twisters.
My daughter Leilani’s middle name is 19 letters.
Nathan’s is 17 letters.
…but the grand prize goes to my grandson, Sam. His second middle name is 52 letters long.
He’s still only 2, but I can’t wait to watch that kid write a check.
#6: WHY Did You Have So Many Kids?
Ok, this one is a really sensitive one for me.
A friend was with me once, standing in line at a grocery store when someone asked this question. Bless his heart, before I could respond, flustered as I was, he placed a hand on my shoulder, leaned past me and smiled.
“Lady, trust me when I say—if you met his kids, you’d want as many as you could get.”
Made me cry, but that’s exactly how I feel.
Before Kathilynn and I got married, she pulled me aside. She told me quite passionately that she wanted to have twelve children. She’d always wanted twelve kids and asked me if that was alright.
My children are blessed with a mother who has dedicated her life to them…so here’s how I look at it:
Amazing Kids + Amazing Mother = Bring It On!
#5: Are They All From One Wife?
I still laugh until I hurt with this one.
Yeah, I get that they mean have I been married before, but we also live in Utah.
When I started traveling to the East Coast for work, that question was often followed with “You’re from Utah, right? How many wives do you have?”
I got a lot of laughs as I stood there, completely confused.
“How many…WHA—HUH?!?” I stammered.
Yes, they are all mine and Kathilynn’s.
No adoptions. No twins. No polygamy.
#4: How Do You Provide For Them All?
You might be wondering where all these questions start from.
More often than not, it’s when we go grocery shopping and start putting 6-8 gallons of milk, 20 dozen eggs and 11 pounds of butter on the counter, just for starters.
“Well someone’s having a party!” A person in line will say.
Then the fun starts.
“Nope, this is just to feed the kids this week.”
“This WEEK? How do you provide for that many kids? You must be RICH!”
Well, I am wealthy—which I attribute to my family, but the secret is, we know the difference between wants and needs. That’s where many families find themselves bound.
Is your heart focused on things or people?
That simple distinction allows me to do quite a bit for my family and we have always had enough for our needs.
Ask my kids if they feel deprived and they’ll laugh you out of the house.
#3: Well I Know What YOU’VE Been Doing With Your Wife!
Thank goodness someone finally noticed!
All the driving, cooking, cleaning, reading bedtime stories, community activities and church functions…it really wears a parent out. It’s nice to have someone see the efforts Kathilynn and I make to be good parents.
Now on a side note: REALLY?
There was once a woman who made this statement with such volume and vulgarity in a grocery store, my wife was almost in tears. You may not believe as we do, but our family is our life and joy.
Kathilynn is the saint of this marriage, IMO.
I am not. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
My duty is to kill the snakes, face the dangers and prepare the path so that the bare feet of angels my tread softly, without fear or hinderance.
Mock me if you like, but you will not mock my wife.
(see #2 below)
#2: I Could NEVER Have That Many Kids!
Hey, having children isn’t a contest.
If it was, well…
Besides, the prize is what you make yourself. If you truly want Heaven on Earth, nothing’s stopping you. I have it nearly every day.
Get to work and make it happen.
We all have different wants, needs, capacities, passions, beliefs and goals in life. Diversity is awesome and we should be supporting one another in our good choices—not being cruel.
This statement is very common and is made either with a smile and laughter, or with intensity and disdain.
The same woman I mentioned above, added, “That’s just DISGUSTING! I could never have that many children!!”
The people in line were both shocked and embarrassed. The checker, who knew us as frequent customers, frowned…while a man and his son, standing in line behind us, growled.
With a kiss on her forehead, I whispered to Kathi that I’d meet her in the car.
I teach my children that you should always be kind…until it’s time not to be. There are times when people should be made aware of their unacceptable behavior. Private trespasses should be kept private. Public ones, well…you get the idea.
The process isn’t always pretty—especially when a barking dog only hears another barking dog.
I thanked the cashier for the change and smiled at the woman.
“Maam, may I ask you a question?” My tone was calm, soft and even, but loud to be heard to the back of the line.
“What,” she sneered at me, pushing forward in line to take my place at the counter.
My grin never faltered as I politely stepped out of her way. “Do you realize that you hurt people’s feelings when you talk like this… or are you just an ass on purpose?”
Everyone froze, including the cashier.
“My wife and I love and adore out children. We care for them, clothe them, feed them and care for them tenderly. We didn’t need your permission, your consent nor your approval to have them, but you felt to be cruel to total strangers who did you no harm whatsoever.
“That was unkind.”
“I do want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, however, for expressing that you’d never have that many children. It makes me feel SO much better.”
”Really, why is that?” she jeered.
“Because some people really shouldn’t breed,” I winked at her and added, “Bad for the gene pool.”
The cashier slapped her hand over her mouth.
“How dare you!” the woman stammered. “Who the hell do you think you are?!” Then, spinning around to the man behind her, standing with his son, she asked, “Can you believe the nerve?”
Without missing a beat, the man glared at her and put his arm around his son’s shoulder. “Yes, I can. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Looking to me, the man added, “God bless you. I have seven myself.”
The woman bit her lip and stood there silently, avoiding eye contact until she scurried off.
#1: Are You Going To Have More?
Laughter usually comes with that question.
If I’m with Kathilynn, I’ll nod and say, “Ask her.”
We were asked that today while out and about, and though Kathi stood there grinning, I
said, “We just had number 12. That’s not a very nice question to ask.”
To which my wife added, “Ask us again in a year.”
So who knows…
To me, life is about family.
Always has been. Always will be.
It’s why I write. It’s why I teach. It’s why teens and parents are the focus of my existence in a professional capacity.
There is nothing I love more, than being a father.
It’s what I was meant to be.
I’d love to hear about you, about your family and what you define a ‘successful parent’ to be. Leave a comment below and lets’ get to know one another.
Thank you Jennifer, for this fantastic opportunity to share a sliver of my life with you and your friends =).
Loving husband and father of 12, Jaime Buckley is the children’s champion. This self-taught writer, illustrator & game maker, entertains the young and young-at-heart with epic fantasy and parental cleverness. His focus and passion? Just one line: You are more than you think you are.
Jaime can be found over at: WantedHero.com
A special gift for readers of The Deliberate Mom!
Jaime is offering 40 free copies of his e-book, The Good Parent: Essential Principles For Raising Your Kids.
To claim your free book, just click the link for the book, place one copy in the cart, and use the coupon code: deliberatemom at the checkout. Please note, only 1 e-book is available per email address.
Thank you for your generosity Jaime!