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When I was little I always had the number six in my head for the amount of kids I’d have one day. I’m not sure why I thought that many or where the number came from. It was just always there. After I got married we really didn’t sit down and say “this is our number” but somewhere it kind of surfaced as the number there too. And then I had kids. And the whole idea of having a number of kids just seemed absurd. I changed to the mindset of knowing that I’d know when our family was complete. And that we’d just take it one kid at a time.
Each child is so different. Each baby starts out differently, you handle it differently. Your husband passes through school and then to a job. (Or as in our case school, school, a job, then more and more school and THEN a job.) So many things add up to the amount of kids for your family. And it is so different for each family. Through all our moves (cross country and back) and all our school (undergrad, masters then medical school) we were having kids. And it was hard but we knew it was right. And it was what I knew I was always supposed to do. From the time I was little I wanted to be a mom. To have my own babies and my own home and my own loving husband. All of which I got/ have.
When I got pregnant with Oliver (number four) I thought, this is our last. Every little thing I need to enjoy and just eat it up. And I did. I can not explain to you how much I just ate up every little thing he did. He was crying in the night? I just snuggled him and took it for what it was, a short moment in his little life when I was everything. When he breastfeed I sat and relaxed (and read a lot of books) and just was there. (Yes my other three might have been doing all kinds of troublesome things – but I was just enjoying my last.)
And then a funny thing happened around nine months. I found out he wasn’t really my last. Us, a couple who waited a year a least for each of our first four, all of a sudden had a surprise baby. We sincerely didn’t think that could happen. Because of how long it took us to have all the others. And then I throw head first into being so sick while having a baby. Puking while holding another baby out of the toilet. And that was hard. Harder than a lot of other things I have done. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. I was in over my head. There were a LOT of days when we were going to bed and Regan would say to me “5 KIDS!! We are going to have 5 KIDS!” And I’d just answer with a “I know”.
The first year was hard. Some days still are hard. Post pardum depression was hard. Some times I am grumpy at the fact that I have all these little people constantly climbing on me. And clambering for me to help them. The finger nails to clip, the mouths to feed, the laundry (oh my the piles of laundry!), the sick floors and spilled smoothies, the crying at what I made for supper. It’s all a lot at times. From a lot of little people. (I am in awe of my mother and mother in law and anyone who has MORE than 5 kids! oh my!)
But this thing I’m doing. It’s what I was born to do. It’s what I’ve wanted since I was 3 years old. And here I am. Right in the thick of it. Yes, some days I’m going to complain about the hard things. I wish I was a little bit more rose colored glasses about mothering. But I’m not. Often I see all the hard things. But right in the middle of all this I see some other things too.
1. I see that my children are so special. Each personality is so different. They were special before they came to this earth and they are special now. And I am honored that I get to raise them. Honored that God thinks enough of me to send me such special choice little people who I get to nurture and teach and snuggle and hopefully not screw up. 😉
2. I see that the Lord loves ME and loves my Children. He loves these little ones way more than I do. More than I ever can. Because he is their Heavenly Father. And because of that, He is going to guide while I parent them. As long as I go to Him in prayer and search my scriptures He is going to hold my hand while I hold theirs.
3. And man do I see beauty and love of God through these kids. In their smiles and their snuggles and their sweet little voices. I am filled up with love from them daily.
4. I see that it is up to me to choose to be happy while I do this. And man for me personally some days that is hard. The Lord is trying to mold me into something better. And a lot of that comes from my kids. They are teaching me daily. Probably more than I am teaching them.
5. I see how lucky I am to have a supportive, loving, devoted husband who loves our kids something fierce. Who delights in them and me. Someone who is fighting this good fight with me and leading our family with me toward our Father.
I am so glad to be here. Even though it is hard. Right and good doesn’t always mean easy. Lots of times it isn’t easy. But truly the Lord blesses me (and I think all parents) with moments of clarity where we can see the purpose and plan of all of it. And for that I am grateful.