After an overnight flight to meet my father at his latest military assignment, my mother wearily arrived at Ramstein Air Base in Germany with my eight siblings and me -- all under age 11. Collecting our many suitcases, the ten of us entered the cramped customs area. A young customs official watched our entourage in disbelief, ''Ma'am,'' he said, ''do all these children and this luggage belong to you?'' ''Yes, sir,'' my mother said with a sigh, ''they're all mine.'' The customs agent began his interrogation: ''Ma'am, do you have any weapons, contraband or illegal drugs in your possession?'' ''Sir,'' she calmly answered, ''if I'd had any of those items, I would have used them by now.''