2004: The McCaughey Septuplets at 7
7 Years of Happy Memories
As for being in the public eye, the couple is confident they're doing what's best for the children while giving something back to the people who have supported them. "From the beginning, the outpouring of love -- the prayers, the gifts, the financial help, the new house -- was overwhelming," says Bobbi. "We're no more deserving than any other family, so we're grateful that this is how God chose to provide for us."
Granting a few interviews and photos around the holidays and updating people on the septuplets' progress, she adds, is her way of returning in kind. While the kids know that they're septuplets, they don't know that it's anything special or that they're famous -- and the McCaugheys would like to keep it that way. "I certainly don't want us to be the next Osbournes," Bobbi says with a laugh.
"Who's that?" asks Kenny.
In fact, they're in no rush to see the children grow up too fast, although of course children always do. "Kenny and I are looking forward to having the freedom we did early in our marriage, and we've decided we're going on a cruise to Alaska or the Caribbean," says Bobbi. "But it's a different stage of life now, and when it passes, I'll be sad. Not long ago, the rest of the kids were visiting friends or relatives and we had dinner with just Alexis and Nathan. I was putting the plates on the table when I said to Kenny, 'It's too quiet.' And he said, 'You're right. This is what it's going to be like when the kids are all gone.'"
An empty nest is still many years -- and happy memories -- away. And what has been the best one this past year? Bobbi thinks hard. "Things always seem so cool when they happen, but then you can't remember them," she says. Kelsey walks into the kitchen and asks for her vitamin. Alexis clambers onto Bobbi's lap and starts kissing her elbow. Nathan asks if someone can take the bandage off his boo-boo. Joel and Brandon come clack-clack-clacketing into the kitchen on roller skates. Bert wants another graham cracker.
Suddenly Bobbi's face lights up. Christmas morning, when Kenny reads the Nativity story from the Bible before the presents are opened, has always been her favorite, she explains, "but last year was the first time the children bought presents for one another." Not big-ticket items like dolls and toy cars, but clumsy, achingly sweet little gifts like plastic jewelry and coloring kits. "That made it one of the best holidays ever," says Bobbi. "You know, I'm just trying to enjoy what we have. I'm not one to think, 'I can't wait until they're in junior high.' That would be wishing my life away -- as well as theirs."
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, December 2004.