One of the boys’ favorite books is “Wild About You,” a sweet story about a tree kangaroo and a panda bear couple who each adopt a baby animal from a different species to raise them as their own.
The last lines of the book read,
“Every kid needs a family, we know that it’s true.
And to bring up a baby…
IT TAKES A WHOLE ZOO!”
Living here in Oklahoma during our Ling(uistics) time among 14 adults and 13 children often feels like a zoo. Especially once you add all the creatures that have been found, captured, and caged in: scorpions, tarantulas, lots and lots of crawdads, lizards (Judah had his own pet lizard for a while and named him Kerry John), frogs, stickbugs, a turtle, and various beetles. Imagine the noise of dinner time with everyone eating together, and you even have the sound effects of a zoo.
Although it can get loud and crazy, it is truly precious to see our Ling family here working together to “bring up our babies.” These other adults (and older children) may not be our boys’ parents, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have an impact on Judah and Elias. It’s in the small things.
It’s another dad throwing the ball back and forth with Elias.
It’s the 9-year old boy teaching Judah how to hold a crawdad so it doesn’t pinch you.
It’s the 4-year old girl feeding Elias little pieces of her food during dinner while giving him kisses on the head.
It’s the other mom who watches our boys so John can go to language session with us.
It’s the older kids allowing our younger ones to be part of their adventures.
It’s the guy who’s carrying around Elias because John and I are busy cooking.
It’s the gal who greets our boys with a loud and genuine “Judah!!! Elias!!!” like they’re the most important people in the world.
Although life here in Ling-land can be challenging (and just plain loud and crazy), I hope we can always take time to cherish those moments of raising our children together.
It does take a zoo.