Today, Tory—along with the rest of the family—is thriving.
So how does a family with eight children manage daily life? “Laundry never stops. It seems as if it runs all day, every day. When I change the sheets each week, it is about eight, or even nine, loads. I still marvel that the machine has not broken or quit on me,” Wendy says. The single dishwasher is loaded and unloaded twice daily. And Wendy hits the nearby supermarket every day where their grocery bill “rivals some people’s mortgages,” Steven reports.
Dinner time consists of ad-hoc meals, with multiple choices, “restaurant style,” Wendy explains.
“It’s survival of the fittest,” says 12-year-old Carly. “Ribs disappear and you get stuck with hot dogs. And you try to eat as many cookies as you can because they’ll also disappear,” she adds.
The only time the whole family goes out to dinner is for their traditional birthday celebrations at Benihana in Bethesda, where all 10 of them can be seated together. Otherwise, “it’s divide and conquer—who gets to go out and who stays home,” says Wendy.
Vacations are another dilemma. “How do you take a vacation with 10 people and still have fun?” Wendy asks. The answer: “We tend to do day trips as opposed to real trips. That seems to work better for us but one day. . Jamaica! Europe! Colorado!” she says.
Even if the family rarely gets out of town, the list of activities scheduled each week for the Silver children reads like a brochure for a summer camp. The activities include ballet, soccer, basketball, Hebrew school, martial arts, poms, hip-hop dance, T-ball, Broadway jazz, tennis and gymnastics.
The afternoon shuttling is done by necessity in two cars, one driven by Wendy, the other by the family’s nanny, Rona, who has been with them for the past six years. In fact, the family is never able to fit in a single car so they travel in a caravan.
And, if eight children under the age of 14 weren’t enough, stray children frequently appear in the house. “Kids get dropped off on a regular basis—we call them vagrants,” Steven says with a laugh. “If I come home from work and there are only eight kids there, it’s an easy night. But there are usually 14 or 15 kids. Parents call it ‘the fun house.’
Peyton pipes in, “You don’t get bored because there’s always someone to play with.”
It was Peyton who last year called her grandmother in Florida to tell her that Wendy was pregnant again, with No. 9. Before flustered Grandma could even finish gasping, the 10-year-old quickly added, “April Fools’!” and it was. There will be no more babies, according to Wendy, and she seems wistful about it.
“If I had to do it over, I’d do it exactly the same. We take life one day at a time— it may not be exactly what you want for them, or what they want for themselves, but it works out,” Wendy says.