Three times the diapers, three times the feedings, three times the clean-up, but as Julie Cates sees it, three times the fun.
Forget the more than 300 diaper changes every week and the nearly round-the-clock feeding schedule when they were infants. Those first days are a blur anyway.
What Julie sees now when she looks at her 4-year-old triplet boys is a miracle.
Julie wanted nothing more than to become a mother after she and her husband Paul tied the knot in 2003 but it didn’t come easy.
Their sons Baxter, Mills and Taylor are the result of five years of acquired-patience and prayer not to mention a difficult pregnancy that culminated in an eightweek hospital stay before a premature delivery. Still translucent when they were born at 29 weeks, the boys could fit in the palm of their daddy’s hand, the largest weighing in at 2.11 pounds.
Looking at them, Julie remembers the five years she spent on her knees asking for just one baby.
“Whatever God has in store for you is ten times better than what you plan,” Julie says. “To have one would have been wonderful, but to have three … we just feel so blessed.”
Her gratitude doesn’t make bath time, tooth brushing or the mountain of laundry easy, but it does put it all in perspective.
When strangers see her herding the boys about, they often give her the standard “Bless your heart” or “I don’t know how you do it.” But Julie’s thinking to herself that they’re way off base.
“It’s always chaotic at my house. It’s always messy and something’s always broken,” she says, waving those worries off with her hand. “But that’s so small in the scope of things. There’s so much more of the fun stuff, and I get to multiply it by three. What God has given me is truly a blessing.”
The Grands: Doug and the late Nancy Cates
Julie says she called Nancy, who raised five Cates boys,
constantly when the boys were babies.
Pete and Elva Mills The boys call Elva “Sunshine,” and are ready to go with her
at a moments notice … as long as they can stick together.
The Big Brother: John Paul, Paul’s 25-year-old son, has been a help since the
boys were born and still comes home every couple of
WHOSE GRASS IS GREENER?
While moms of singletons look at Julie and shake their heads at her schedule, she counts her lucky stars. “On some levels it’s easier…I look at parents with children that are three different ages and think ‘how do they do that?’ Getting those kids to three different ball fields, three different classrooms… At least we’re all going to the same place.”