Let me educate you about the true BLESSING of a big family.
Long story, but necessary…
A couple of weeks ago on another board the subject was raised that the poster wished that people would think NOT about having another baby, but about having another toddler or even (eew) another teen. In other words, babies are all nice and sweet, but they turn into children and we ought to think about that before we sign up for another one.
There is a common happening among those of us (I suspect almost all if not ALL) who have many little ones close together or even not so close together. We feel overwhelmed. We feel outnumbered. We struggle from day to day. The kids do something that is mole-hillish and we feel it is mountain stuff.
It reminds me of the part of Soul Surfer where she asks what the pictures are but you can’t tell because they are taken from a too close perspective… But once you gain a little distance you can see more clearly.
Mamas, we are in the thick of it. The diapers, the laundry, the day to day care, the “Be nice to your sister, don’t argue with your brother, someone grab that baby, noooooo, don’t touch that…” stage.
So I offer… Perspective.
The poster from the other board is right. We should *not* be thinking about whether we want a baby and stopping with that. Because she is right, the baby stage is INCREDIBLY short. It lasts about two years if you count your toddlers as babies. But SHE is short sighted as well. Because even the teen years last a mere, short, tiny SIX years. Let’s say they become fully formed, rational, full fledged adults at twenty or even twenty-five. You have adult children for about 40 years assuming you live a nice, ripe age of 85-90, God willing.
So, now, the perspective.
I come from a family of three. It’s a good family. I have a mother who cared for us, took care of us, was committed to my well-being. Did she do everything “right” and just the way I would have had it done? No. Is that really relevant or opinion? Opinion which makes it NOT relevant. (Sometimes we *think* our opinion is relevant and it’s not, so I want to put that in there lest someone think perfection might have been acheived and chalk it up to that.) I had a father who was committed and who deeply enjoyed his children. He, also, was not perfect.
They came from large families.
My mother had ten living sibling and a baby brother that died at birth.
My father had ten living siblings for a grand total of 11 kids.
My grandmother (paternal) is dying today. She has been on a slow decline with severe dementia for about six months. Two days ago she broke her hip and they have her in a medicated state. The stress on her body is going to kill her, most likely today, God willing. And that is hard, but it is okay. She lived a wonderful life and is ready for her reward.
Here is what I want to tell you.
Your life right now is hard. It seems insurmountable. It seems like all you do is care for babies, change diapers, correct children, clean houses, lather, rinse, repeat. The time will come when you will NEED your family around you.
That woman has had a visitor every day, EVERY single day, without fail, since the day she went into the nursing home. EVERY day her husband has visited her or at least ONE of her children has visited her. I have two uncles currently working in Canada. They came home monthly to see her at a minimum.
She is ill right now and my grandfather is older than her. He is 87 and she is, I believe 79. Yesterday someone was with him all day long. One sister was in the Carolinas, two brothers were on their way home from Canada, and one sister was driving from a few hours away and yet he was not alone. On Monday he had three children able to help him with funeral arrangements. Last night, he was so weary. But he had three families that stayed with him and four children stayed with their mother and the rest went and recuperated so they could help today.
Today they sat at the hospital, loving one another, crying together, holding one another together, and allowing one another to fall apart.
We love this woman. We are committed to this woman. I am one of two (out of almost 40) grandchildren that cannot come home and it mourns us deeply. We are trying to permanently move home so that we can help Grandpa as our family is most suited to helping him on a regular basis.
My point of all this is, perspective.
I texted my husband today to tell him how very blessed we are.
God willing, should I live as long, I will be able to actively, sweetly be as involved in my grandchildren’s lives as she was in mine. My father took over the family farm when they moved to town so perhaps we were closer than many, but she was an incredibly HUGE part of my life. She was a huge part of Ana’s little girlhood, teaching her to embroider, cooking with her, and afternoon Jeopardy.
There is a lesson here.
You will reap what you sow. The farmer doesn’t reap a harvest when he plants. He plants with faith and waits for those tiny little leaves to reach heavenward. And when he sees them, he rejoices, but he knows there is still work to be done. He faithfully tills and works with the faith that there will be a harvest. He DOES get tired. It IS hard work. But if he can just persevere, he will reap a harvest. More than that, a HARVEST THAT LASTS. It will bring him joy for years to come.
We are blessed.
I know that the world does not recognize this. I know that if you read the news you think to yourself, “What kind of world am I bringing children into?” I know people think you’re crazy. I know children are expensive. They wear you out. Some days are just HARD.
But the world lacks perspective. They want an easy and quick return. THey look at the baby stage, they look at the teen years, they look at the hard work, they don’t see things in an eternal light.
Your Lord God has a plan for your marriage if you just let Him work. As in all things, He allows for Free Will and we have the opportunity to let go and let God or to control things within our will. He is amazing. He can surpass what you can imagine.
I have trusted for twelve years now. I did not see with clarity through most of it, just kept walking, shoulder on the wheel, trusting, but not seeing.
The last two days I have a perspective that is far wider.
It is tragically unfair that so many of you did not grow up experiencing a family like mine. That you cannot hear the stories in the hospital room right now as they re-call “tragedies” of a childish nature and laugh together while they cry. I am just certain they are talking about good, hard, well-earned spankings and little songs sung while baking, and stories of sisters & brothers doing dreadful things to the poor cat, and the ponies, when Anne came in and announced she had found baby squirrels and everyone wanted to see but alas, they were catepillars… And most definitely the favorite story, that time that Joe went into the cornfield and found a skunk….
My grandmother has talked to me about how HARD their childhood was… She had eleven children in THIRTEEN years. There is no sugar coating that it was hard. She was 32 when she had her last baby. It was hard. She would get sidetracked into a book and her mama would come on weekends to help her catch up on laundry and iron her sheets.
But I am telling you, to be witness to, to be part of, such a family as this one is a blessing beyond belief. And I am sobbing sometimes today but would rather go through the pain of losing someone in my beloved family 100 times over than have never experienced something like this.