Thursday, May 14, 2009

You're Going to Have MORE?!

In honor of Ambie's birthday, this post has been inspired by my favorite mother of ten...

One of the side effects of sending your children to private school is that their classmates tend to come from small families. And when I say small, I mean they are only children or they have one sibling. So I am something of a freak with four children and people would just faint away if they ever met Ambie. Even outside of the private school set I constantly see raised eyebrows when I divulge the number of children I have. The one I love most is the people in the grocery store who say, "You are a busy lady!" And I suppose they all think they're the first person to tell me that.

So how do you explain to people who think one child is enough, why you have, and yes, they were all planned for and wanted, a lot of children? Especially when those children are in the middle of fighting, screaming, throwing a tantrum or destroying something, which, in my case, is often.

How do you explain that you want your children to learn to cooperate, sacrifice and serve one another? How there are just some lessons siblings can teach better than parents? How do you tell them that being poorer and less able to provide all the luxuries in life for each child can actually be better for them? That they will learn not to be spoiled or the constant center of attention? Can you really get them to believe that the joy of a house filled with children really does compensate for the sacrifice in freedom, money, and quiet? How do you describe a vision of the future filled with grown children, their spouses, and a host of grandchildren crowding a house for a special occasion?

Sometimes when I see my friends with one or two children - with their unstained clothing, tiny, diaper-free purses, blossoming careers, hair and make-up done, serenity and sanity intact - I feel sorry for myself. But then, there will be a moment, small though it may be, when all four children are snuggled up watching a movie and laughing, or all jumping on the trampoline playing a game, or they all join in to listen when I'm reading the youngest a book - that's when I feel sorry for my friends.


Happy The Man said...

Amen! Sometimes I just look at how simple life can be for others with only a few kids. I'm getting tired and weary in my advancing age and so the mere day to day logistics of a large family is often daunting and exhausting.

But having more kids busies me with more selfless service opportunities (demands) and leaves me with a lot less time for selfish things (by nature I'm a very selfish person). I'd like to think that this will be a good thing for me in the end when I am to be judged.

And if my happiness is great with just one child, how much happier will be my joy with many (a quiver full)? It's certainly not easy, but like all good things in life that we work hard for, they are always worth it.

And one last thought, since things are hard, I find myself petitioning the Lord more for help whereas if/when life is super easy, I tend to think that I don't really need Him. That whole Book Of Mormon cycle thing, when things are going great we tend to forget the Lord, when things are tough we are on our knees...

So, in summary, more happiness (despite lot's of hard work) and hopefully a better report card at that final review time :) I'm not going to fair all that well in taking care of my physical tabernacle, and trying to live debt free is a constant challenge that I may never master... I guess we choose our poison and hope for the best.

Cathleen said...

I am at a point in life where some (and only some) people are actually starting to comprehend the logic in having a large family. Our oldest of the nine will be 20 this year and just completed his first year of college. The second oldest will be 18 in 2 weeks and leaves for college this fall too. If I had only had the 2 children, I would now be an empty nester. I have friends who are experiencing this phenomenon and are not happy about it. I can't even imagine the pain of an empty home at this point in my life. I am thankful that that is several years away for me. I love my large crazy family! They are my greatest joy!
About Ambie's 10.....I'm jealous! We have been trying to add to our brood and have at least 10....but no luck yet. I guess I'll have to be happy with just 9 :(

Ann Traynor said...

I hear you... no one can believe I have 5 kids, especially when the oldest is not yet 9 years old. My life is a circus. I always tell myself that the kids get lots of benefits from their siblings that make up for the attention they lose from their parents. But I am also sometimes jealous of what moms of fewer children can do. And I sometime feel guilty for what I can't do for my kids because I don't have enough hours in the day. I just think of it in terms of seasons. I had all mine very close together (we think we are done), and there will be another season of life when I will be a little more on top of things. Right now, I am working on enjoying the continual party and not sweating the small stuff.