I was an only child for 11 years and can vividly remember the loneliness and sadness that comes with hours of playing Barbie alone or playing catch with a small rubber ball and a door. Granted, I learned how to properly handle myself around adults sooner than most children, my vocabulary became impressive and maturity was a given...and let's not downplay the joy of doting grandparents and a spoiling mother! But still, I didn't have 1 friend who was a singleton like me. In fact 3 of my closest friends had many siblings- one had 3 sisters and a brother, one had 2 sisters and a brother and the other had 2 sisters. School friends told stories of the eternally cool older brothers, annoying little brothers or sisters and flawlessly idolized older sisters. I used to dream of being a middle child; to be blessed with siblings who look up to you and siblings you can learn from would have been such a treat! But I was the firstborn and the only until 1992 when my fervent prayers for a little sister ended with a flaxen haired little brother. We were inseparable (not always by choice,lol) but I did everything possible I could to be the best big sister I could be.
So having been both a singleton and a sibling for many years I know both sides of this fence very well.....and I would love to know at what point in our country children went from being a blessing to a bother?
I myself only have 4 children: a son who just turned 4 and 3 daughters ages 8,5½ and 1½. To me, this is not a lot or too many. Yet I can't tell you the number of times I've heard one of these 10 top phrases:
10.I don't know how you do it! My ___(usually 1 or 2) just wear me out! (sorry to hear that- have you tried cardio?)
9.Nope, we had our 2 and WE ARE DONE!(um, I never asked...)
8.Someone needs to tell you where babies come from!(Really?Cuz, I think I pretty much got a handle on the subject,clearly.)
7.Are they all yours?!(Why yes they are!Are yours?)
6.Are they all from the same father???(Absolutely!And they came after our wedding!How about you?!)
5.Are you done yet?(just like these questions...apparently not!)
4.You trying to be like that Duggar family??(One could only pray to be so blessed and normal.)
3.How do you afford all them kids?(How do you afford all them cigarettes?)
2.(pointing to my 2nd oldest) Is she adopted?(no,why?were you interested?)
1.You must have your hands full!(1.To match my heart./ 2.You must have your head empty!)
At first I would politely just smile and walk away or give a nervous laugh. Then I started actually answering these repetitive queries several times a day every day. Now I am in this half stage between angry/defensive and head shaking pity. I mean really, think whatever you want about me or my family but have the decorum to either keep it to yourself or at the very least connect your synapses and know not to blurt out whatever pops into your narrow mind in front of my children. (Sorry, there's that angry/defensive I warned you about).I'm not saying bigger families are better or even that smaller families are better.There is NO BETTER. There is only what works for you and me.
For our family the belief that many children are a blessing and a gift runs deep. The practice of pray now, plan later means a lot. And many hands make work light....well, we're working on that,lol, they are still small. But I can tell you one thing. Not one child in this household has ever been an " oops baby". Whether my husband and I were in agreeance at the time or not, each child was planned,prayed for and loved beyond human understanding. Every 2 years a family portrait has been taken and every 2 years we look back at the last picture and can easily see a space where a family member was missing and are so grateful to God that space was filled the following year or so.
I knew my husband and I were finally on the same page the day he said to me,"It's not a matter of whether or not we are done or if people think we have too many children. It's a matter of there is a member of this household missing, we just haven't met them yet".
So now you know where I stand and my feelings on the subject...what are yours? (Keep it clean and respectful or it will be removed,thank you.)
some good website reading:
Life Without Children
The Breeders' Cup