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Mother's Day is 19 times as nice for Kelly Jo Bates

5:28 PM, May 10, 2013   |    comments
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It was a typical day at a particular house in lake city.

The Bates family was preparing lunch and getting ready for a birthday party. That's something that happens a lot in a family of 21.

"A nine on a scale of one to ten. Maybe an eight or seven. Full speed. Everyone's running around screaming. Ahhhhh," 11 year old Jackson Bates said.

There's actually not a lot of screaming but there's certainly a lot of activity. Nineteen children live at home with their parents Gil and Kelly Jo Bates.

"I mean it's a house full. But when one is missing you wouldn't think it would make a difference but it does," Kelly Jo said.

When they married she was focused on her career, but something changed.

"God began to give us such a love of children and we kept reading the Bible about children being a blessing and we thought why would we want to limit blessings so..."

Two sons approached her with carefully wrapped candles.

"Oh my goodness are these early gifts? Oh my goodness," she said.

Moments like that make motherhood worth it.

"I make her eggs most every morning and sometimes toast and take it up to her and get her a glass of raspberry tea," 9 years old Warden Bates said.

Kelly Jo said, "It is the hardest job in the world but at the same time it is the most rewarding. They really are a blessing."

It's a house full of children with different personalities and interests. What they have in common is love for their mother.

Oldest brother Zach Bates said, "It's great to have her there as a parent and somebody you can look to and ask advice from and counsel from."

"She has such a spiritual relationship with Jesus which is the most thing that matters. And she just pushes us to want to do more for Him because she has such a sweet spirit about her," 15 years old Carlin Bates said.

Three year old Callie-Anna Rose said, "She always hugs me and does stuff and helps everyone do school."

Even she works in some study time in a house where all the children are home schooled.

"Anything we do, our mom is right there beside us cheering us on and encouraging us. I think that's really important because she's not just our mom but our best friend," 22 year old Erin Bates said.

Kelly Jo said, "They really are my best friends. They're not just my children they're my best friends."

Yes, it can be hectic and no, Kelly Jo Bates wouldn't change a thing.

"They grow up so fast and there are so many little tender moments to cling to that are special that make all those other hard spilled milk times worthwhile," she said.

She's learned some lessons she's willing to share.

"We make mistakes. There's no way to be a perfect parent. But I think what holds our family together is having a foundation on Christ. We put God as the center of our home," she said.

He is at the center of a home filled with children and love.

Zach said, "She always lets us know she loves us. We always know we're loved and accepted no matter what."

Jackson said, "I love her and she's the best mom in the whole world."

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