So there I was having a normal hectic day, exchanging kid stories with one of my mom pals while our little girls learned ballet basics at Stifel Studios. Turns out, it was not a normal day. It was the day I met Kathy Blatt. It was a serendipitous instance that occasionally happens to a journalist - a great person with an incredible story just falls into your lap. In this case, my friend leaned over to me and said quietly while looking at a woman sitting near us: "She has 2-year-old quadruplets. All girls." I followed her eyes to the woman sitting on the steps cradling a baby boy in one arm while discussing local preschool options with two other moms. Her 4-year-old daughter was in dance class, so that meant she was the mom of six - under age 5. I was immediately in awe. She looked so ... normal ... and yet I now knew she was anything but. "I need to meet her!" I whispered. I couldn't get over to her fast enough. I really tried to wait for a lull in the conversation so I could be properly introduced, but my enthusiasm trumped my politeness (this often happens to me in "journalist" mode, I hate to admit). I blurted my own clumsy introduction and exchanged a couple rushed pleasantries before coming right out with: "Our Mother's Day issue is coming up and I would love to interview you!"
She was embarrassed. I felt terrible but I told her I knew she would have a great story to tell and I hoped she would let me share it with our readers. If nothing else, I had to clue everyone into how she stays organized - don't you want to know!? Isn't that the first thing you wonder? Being myself a mom who sometimes forgets to pack a lunch for her ONE child, I really hoped this unassuming 30-something brunette had some tips for me! For my MomtoMom interview with Kathy, see Monthly Features on the Home Page or click the link at right.
Kathy and her husband Ron are remarkable, but she insists they are not. Their toddlers are actually not quadruplets but quintuplets; their brother died when he was 4 days old. Imagine dealing with that grief while caring for four newborns and an 18-month-old? I can barely fathom it. When people say she is amazing or she is their hero, she responds she is just like every other mom, trying to do her best for her kids. I see her point. But not every other mom is responsible for doing her best for six little ones at once! Just thinking about strapping all six into their car seats gives me a headache, but Kathy does it every day. I was impressed that she doesn't hibernate or shelter her children from the world, despite the rude comments she gets from strangers. I also loved that, while she takes her job as their mother very seriously, she admits to getting a kick out of putting toy instruments in their hands and sending them marching through the house. Through all our conversations, Kathy never once complained - not that her life is easy, but she accepts it and says she and Ron feel truly blessed. "We always wanted a big family," she said. "God just chose to give it to us in a different form."
I still feel bad about my pushy introduction, but I am so glad Kathy agreed to share her family's story with all of us. And I feel blessed for having met them.
This Mother's Day, I will be thinking of the Blatts - it is an extra special holiday for them. The quintuplets were born that day in 2008. This year, once again their birthday falls on Mother's Day, May 8. Happy 3rd birthday, girls! What beautiful gifts you are to your mom! And Happy Father's Day to Ron on June 19! You are amazing, too!
And to you, readers, no matter what your family looks like, how big or small and whatever your situation, I hope you find joy in each other as you celebrate your special days this year.
- Betsy Bethel is editor of the OV Parent magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.