When I found out that I was expecting number 5, I said a lot of prayers. Not only for the health of the baby, but also for the grace and peace to be able to share our news confidently with a smile. Of course, family and close friends would share our joy, but I knew that others would have another response (even if it wasn't always shared out loud).
I also humbly prayed that our family might be a silent witness to the gift of life. That we could show others how when we are generous with God, He is more than generous to us. As this year of evangelization starts, I am hoping that I might bring others closer to God by sharing my stories as a mom of many little ones (hence this blog!).
I have found that children are fabulous conversation starters. People are often eager to ask me if they are all mine! I recently had such an encounter. Four of my children and I were riding up the elevator of the preschool to pick up the fifth child. A mom that I had met the day before asked if she could jump in the elevator with us. "Of course," we said excitedly, "Come on in!"
The other mom chatted happily until my own children started to bicker. It was because of the buttons, of course. I try to assign beforehand who will press the buttons on the way up and on the way down to avoid such quarrels. I had forgotten today as I exchanged pleasantries with the other mom.
I quickly tried to rectify the situation, but naturally, there were tears and pouting. "So....," the other mom said, "this is what it's like when you have more than one."
I had only met her the day before when she was dropping off her only child to my daughter's preschool class. Very outgoing, she had shared that she and her husband were trying to discern whether they should have another child. They thought they might like their daughter to have a playmate, but their lives felt very complete.
I never judge family size. The most perfect family, that ever was and ever will be, had only one child. God alone knows best for all families. I try not to presume anything. In this case, however, the mom had shared that they were trying to decide whether or not to be open to another life. And, she was (at this very brief moment) using my family in her discernment process...YIKES!
"Not exactly....," I said quietly with a half smile as we arrived at our destination. Kids loudly filed out of the elevator and I was quietly thinking (my mom always said to say, "Holy Spirit, Inspire Me") of what I could say next.
I would never say that having five children so close together is easy. It most certainly is not. But, my friends with fewer children constantly assure me the daily frustrations and struggles are not unique to large families! I know this, too, because I remember sometimes having the exact same feelings/ups and downs when I had one.
That said, my children are not only great blessings to their father and me, but also to each other. Our hearts have grown with each new addition, and how quickly we cannot imagine our family without this new member. And, all spats aside, we really love each other, and we are never bored or lonely (well, almost never!).
I decided not to continue the conversation (perhaps another less chaotic time if she said something again). My children decided to do the talking with their actions though.
As Cecilia (3) walked out of her third day of preschool, she was quickly embraced by her siblings who were thrilled to see her. After retrieving her belongings from her cubby, she skipped happily down the hall, a sibling holding each little hand.
"Oh my ghosh...HOW CUTE," my new friend said.
"Not exactly," I happily thought. Thanks, Holy Spirit. :)
Copyright 2012 Trish Bolster
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