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The daily run: Triplets keep Reads busy

JULIA NAGY / The Natchez Democrat — Noelle Read gives Benjamin his bottle before bedtime at the family’s house on South Union Street. When the babies were first born, the family spent almost $400 a month on formula. Now the triplets go through approximately five gallons of milk a week.

Story and Photos by Julia Nagy

NATCHEZ — Every morning life in the Read family bungalow starts in much the same way as triplets — Benjamin, Daniel and Emily — race down a long hallway with morning bottles on their minds.

And parents Noelle and Denny must be ready for what they call “the running of the babies.”

The running doesn’t stop there, though; it’s only just begun.

Life for Noelle, Denny and older brother Ethan, 7, changed on March 29, 2011, when the triplets were born. But Noelle didn’t give up the things in life that already made her a busy mother.

JULIA NAGY / The Natchez Democrat — Noelle plays with Emily’s feet, while Benjamin and Daniel play in the bathtub.

She continues to work as a co-pastor at First Presbyterian Church, alongside Denny.

Noelle takes on a more administrative role at the church, while Denny works with the finances.

The couple alternates behind the lectern to deliver the Sunday sermon each week.

But every day is a matter of juggling a busy home life with a busy work and church life.

And Noelle said she couldn’t do it without her faith or the support of her husband and fellow pastor.

Spend time with the family, and you notice unspoken cues. While Denny changes baby diapers, Noelle knows it’s time to brew more coffee.

“We ebb and flow,” Noelle said. “We’re bound to each other. When I’m having a bad day, he’s having a good day. We encourage each other.”

Denny said it’s been challenging, so far, raising four children.

“It’s hard not to feel like the director of a day care without regulations,” Denny said. “But I do love the chaos and the unbridled, spontaneous stuff that happens.”

JULIA NAGY / The Natchez Democrat — Noelle and Ethan Read, left, walk with Emily and Daniel in their stroller to their home Dec. 30, while Denny follows behind with another stroller they had left at the church. Benjamin was home sick with a sitter due to a fever.

Denny and Noelle said they both feel the congregation has suffered, because the Reads have to divide their time.

“There’s always more visiting you can do,” Noelle said. “Phone calls you can make. Where is the line?”

For Noelle, mothering three babies at the same stage in life has been a challenge.

“I sometimes feel detached,” Noelle said. “It’s like they’re in a snow globe, and I’m watching them. I want to get in there so bad, and I don’t know how.

“It’s brought me completely to my knees. It completely brought me closer to Christ. When I feel like I can’t take it anymore, I just have to step back and realize it’s only for a season.”

Noelle said even though it’s tough sometimes, there’s always the “sound of their joy.”

“When they’re all giggling and Ethan’s there, those are the positive things,” Noelle said. “You’re bringing those little people joy.”