Friday, November 16, 2007

a little preachy

I’ve been feeling frankly euphoric about having four children all day. These moments, as you can imagine, are few in the day. If I do have them I don’t generally have time to notice because there’s so much to do. But I was in the car a fair bit this morning and again this afternoon and I had time to consider how great it is to have so many kids, and how completely impoverished I would be with, say, only three, or only two, or only one, or none at all.

I’d be, first of all, very poor in experience. It’s taken 3 babies to figure it out. Nursing alone is something I only just now feel I have the hang of. And knowing the capacity of a child, say, to not whine if you tell them not to; I didn’t know that with the first, or even the second child. Now, on the third, we finally have the whining under control. Or the difference between boys and girls from birth. Being so rich as to have two of each, I am gaining wisdom and understanding in the differences between men and women, boys and girls, on a more basic and deeper level.

Second, I’d be poor in time. My days have become vastly richer and more varied with each baby. Its especially nice to have a baby at each stage doing different things, all day long, so that at every moment there’s a whole tapestry of play and conversation and activity. Also, I get more done, so my time is overall better spent and less wasted.

Third, I’d be poor in understanding. As I’ve known all my life with my head (because my dad said it over and over) ‘you can do it if you have to’, I now know with my body and soul. There isn’t anything that can’t be done, if God tells you to and gives you grace. So now, when people say, ‘Oh, I could never do that’ when they see my four kids, I can say ‘Oh, you probably could, if you had to.’

But mostly I’d be poor in love. And I don’t mean all ooshy gooshy I’m so in love with my kids they can’t do anything wrong. I mean that God expands the human faculty of love as needed. If there are a lot of people around who need it, God gives you the ability to act in self giving/selfless love towards them for their good, regardless of your own needs. He meets your needs and gives you sufficiently of himself to meet theirs. This, I am experiencing daily, even in my own flesh, is so crucial if you want to be rich in God. You cannot say no to him. If he says, do such and such, you cannot say no, or you become poor. You become lean. You become narrow. Or, as my mother has so helpfully pointed out, you develop ‘good boundaries’ (usually at the expense of other people).

All this I saw and felt as I drove all over town today, thinking about this new baby. The nurse when I checked into labor and delivery, hearing she was our fourth, said ‘Oh, I have an oops baby too’ it’s great. And it is. It’s actually the best.


Rev Dr Mom said...

I think what you write here is lovely, and I'm happy that your family enriches you in this way.

I would just add that not everyone needs to have four children to feel this way.

And lest you think I'm criticizing your family size, I have four children as well.

Jessica said...

I just found out a few weeks ago that I'm having twins, which means this pregnancy is making us not the parents of three, but of four. It's a surprise, but posts like this help me see what a good surprise it is. Thanks for writing it.

Carrie said...

I sometimes wonder if my "good boundaries" are too good and not generous!

At A Hen's Pace said...

What a wonderful post, and SO TRUE.

I'm not sure Rev. Dr. Mom understood you, though. Of course, our families enrich us all, no matter their size. But I think there is an added richness that comes with each child, so your experience as a mom of four IS different from the experience you had as a mom of one, two and three.


Rev Dr Mom said...

I didn't misunderstand at all. And as I said, I am glad that Anne's family enriches her this way.

I just wouldn't limit the experience of such joy and richness to those who choose to have more than one or two children.

jodie said...

hi! my aunt just emailed me this post and said she thought of me as she read it. THANK YOU for your words. Not preachy at all, truly wonderful. we've been married for three years as of this Sept and are pregnant with our third baby. ALL were "unexpected blessings" and in a number of months I will have three under three. Terrified is about how I'm feeling right now! But what you said made me think, "yes yes YES!" I'm so glad my aunt showed me your blog!

jodie said...

for some reason my name didn't show up...

thanks again!


Carol said...

Ann, While I dearly appreciate sharing your brood and your life, I have to agree with Rev Dr. Mom. After eight and a half years of infertility treatment and thirteen years of marriage, God miraculouly provided us with a child, born premature, that was the best fulfillment one could hope for. Being her mother is such a joy and fills in all the cracks. To this day I still pinch myself to think of the provision of God, a bounty of blessings I can hardly realize.
With appreciation, Carol