The number tonight is two. Not only did we get two back-to-back new episodes of “19 Kids and Counting” Tuesday (April 8), but two of the Duggar girls are in relationships. Sorta. Because one of them has not actually met the guy in person. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Last week, Jessa and Ben made their relationship official by starting their courtship. This week, Jim Bob and Michelle take them mini-golfing to discuss just how close, physically, they’re planning on getting before engagement, or their maybe, could happen wedding day. Let’s just say, not very close. There’s no kissing, of course, but not even hand holding at first. Jessa, who says straight out she’s not a “touchy-feely” person, is fine with that. Ben, though, seems like much more of the goofy romantic, even if he can’t mini-golf to save his life. Side hugs for all, and that’s it, kids.
We got a quick check-in with Josh and Anna (remember their pre-wedding day hand holding? It was more like hand dancing on the Olympic level.) They’re still in Washington, D.C. As Josh says, “it’s no Arkansas.” No. No it’s not. Anna tackled putting together a big playhouse, much to the frustrated delight of the kids, who are getting big quickly. In fact, Mackynzie has started homeschooling preschool, even if it does make her “sweat.”
One of the questions the Duggars get asked a lot is how they manage so many kids. It’s all about delegation, really. The older kids help corral the younger ones on teams. For example, tonight, we got to see Jill’s “buddy team” of Joy Anna, James, and Jennifer go to the store for supplies to make homemade dill pickles. But Jill’s head is somewhere else. It seems she has a new relationship as well.
Jill is long-distance pre-courting, if that’s even a thing. That’s really going to make keeping the physical boundaries easier. Derick Dillard is doing “humanitarian work” overseas in Nepal, according to Jim Bob, who’d been contacted by this young man about a year before as part of a prayer partnership. So Derick was Jim Bob’s Internet friend first, and Jim Bob played matchmaker. Talk about getting in good with the dad beforehand. Like Ben, he’s downright adorable, but not due to come home for a few months. But that doesn’t stop Jill. She asks her parents if they could go to Nepal to meet him, and her parents actually agree. Say what you will about courting — Jim Bob and Michelle trust their children enough to take them seriously when they’re interested in someone. Enough to fly across the world.
We also got a few more glimpses of the kids as they’re getting older. Michelle gets schooled in chess by her son Jeremiah, the older girls plan a “dinner theater” production for their parents, and Joy Anna teaches the youngest kids some songs. We’re learning more about each of the Duggars so far this season. I hope that continues, before, as they say, they start leaving the nest. The gigantic Duggar nest.