Mom’s the word at home of 10 kids
Though her schedule never lets up, she's maternally grateful
Keesha Lane lives by her planner.
The 33-year-old Grand Junction mother of 10 children would be lost without it.
With all the scheduling and nonstop commitments, Lane is excited to enjoy a Mother’s Day off. The family usually visits their in-laws for the holiday, but tomorrow will be different.
“I’m a mom, too,” she said seated among her family in their spotless living room last week. “I want to enjoy that, too. Just to have a day…”
While most mothers work really hard to keep family life in balance, Lane’s busy schedule with children ranging in age from 4 to 18 would make most anyone’s head spin.
She and her husband, Larry, wake up each day in the 6 o’clock hour. They shuttle children to four separate schools. The family is five girls and five boys, some of them adopted. There’s a lot of counting heads to see if everyone is there, they said.
Keesha often has to hustle. There are three 10-minute intervals for afternoon school pickup at 2:40, 2:50 and 3 p.m.
And don’t forget about school sports, music, doctor, dentist, orthodontic and physical therapy appointments. The family usually regroups at home at about 9:30 p.m. for dinner, homework and bed.
Keesha and Larry crash at midnight.
When she felt overwhelmed once, Keesha commented to her husband about the heavy workload. His reply still resonates with her.
“He said, ‘You don’t have to do it. You get to do it,’” Keesha recalled.
“I’m lucky enough to be blessed with all these kids,” she added. “I think that’s what it’s about.”
The local mother doesn’t do anything halfway. She hits all the sports games, and some children participate in two sports.
“I missed one baseball game this year,” Keesha said, smiling. “It’s important to me. I love being able to watch them.”
The effort does not go unnoticed.
Mariah, 17, said she is in awe of her mother’s stamina. Mariah is dealing with a medical condition and sees a doctor daily. It’s given her a chance to witness her mom’s schedule.
“She was already doing an amazing job beforehand and the fact that she can continue to take all of her tasks on with this new problem is crazy to me,” Mariah wrote by email. “She goes from middle school to high school to preschool and finally to elementary school. After all of this, she returns home to get kids ready for baseball, football, wrestling, and whatever other sports are going on at the time. Then she takes kids to games or practice and always is sure to stay for the whole time so that she doesn’t miss a single moment. She gets home around 9:30 and still has the energy to feed us, and stay up to talk to me when I cannot sleep, which I think is just crazy because wouldn’t any normal person go straight to bed? That’s the thing, she is not any normal person.”
“My mom is so amazing and I just had to send you this email to let you know how wonderful of a mother she is,” Mariah wrote. “As nerdy as it sounds, my mom is my best friend.”
Keesha is accustomed to large families. She is the oldest of 11 siblings, after all. Larry is one of three siblings. Keesha said she couldn’t do it without her husband’s help. Larry works at West Star Aviation and also volunteers to coach baseball games.
“It takes a lot of humor, a lot of laughter,” Larry said of their hectic lifestyle. “We think we’re crazy, but it works out.”
Home life works like a well-oiled machine, family members said. A few years ago, the Lanes purchased their home on Walnut Avenue (being close to school is important) but they added two more rooms to the six-bedroom house.
Rooms must be clean and “everybody knows how to do the dishes and work the washer and dryer,” Keesha said.
Children also are expected to do well in school. Many of the younger children have earned student of the month awards and older children have earned scholarships toward college. Older children help younger ones with their homework, Keesha said.
“They’re just really good, responsible kids,” Keesha said. “They help each other in math. If they don’t have practice or games we pull out the homework and start.”
For entertainment, the family enjoys a lot of camping during the summer months.
Twice a year they try to go out to dinner and a movie, an event that runs about $300. Taking the family to Bananas Fun Park costs about $200.
Friday nights are religiously reserved as pizza-and-a-movie night, offering a break from finding something to cook for dinner.
“The nice part about our kids is they have to live a certain way,” Keesha said. “Going to the movies, out to eat, they appreciate it a lot more.”
People ask Keesha if she’d like to go on vacation with just her husband. But that doesn’t sound like fun to her, she said.
“Being on vacation is nice, but we want to be together,” she said.
Yet it’s not like every day goes perfectly. Some days don’t line up and Keesha spends time shuttling forgotten gear and items around town.
She laughs now recalling a time she was talking on the phone to someone, while frantically looking for her phone.
“There’s a lot of crazy days and moments,” she said.
Keesha does not work outside the home because it would cost much more in day care than to be with her children. Besides, she loves what she does.
“It’s an amazing job. I didn’t go to college or have a career but you guys are my success story,” she said to her kids, who replied with smiles.