I listen to my young friend say "2 children only" in this day of family planning options. And I can recall when I might've said the same thing --as I couldn't imagine even being pregnant or being a mother --though I loved my dollies and playing "house" as a child. But I really wasn't around pregnant women much as I grew up. Birth control pills 40 years ago made me sick --and my first pregnancy was really difficult --nevertheless, four babies came to live with us --one after the other --until 2 C-sections in a row --the first because labor came early and preemie John nearly expired before he was born --so the next delivery was a planned C-section and in those days, they feared natural delivery after ONE C-section --and thought there was a limit to such surgeries. After the first one, I sure didn't want to keep having C-sections. I had the first one without anesthetic taking. Anyway, the 2nd one was reason for the OB to suggest tubal ligation--which is how we turned off the baby machine. And I've never felt guilty about it. However, each unexpected pregnancy brought a delightful person into our house --and I think bigger families are joyful ones --as are extended families with cousins and grandparents.
One wonders what we are doing to ourselves with all the abortions, late parenting plans and late marriages with their higher risk of infertility, and all the divorces and re-marriages. We have all this freedom and technology with which to do whatever we please, and the choices we make aren't necessarily good for us. God can redeem those blended family and step-parenting situations, late marriages, and single parenting, too, and make them all joyful, but there is a built-in sense of belonging that occurs when people commit to family life and work at obeying Christ in their homes, "striking the original match." We loved our children so much, and they, us, that divorce would have been very sad for all of us. How blessed they are by the father I chose for them! whom I believe God chose for us. How blessed WE were, to have them come into our home.
These four people and their spouses and the grandkids are our social network and community --apart from church. We had all 12 of us, including two great-grandmothers in their late 80's, at our Easter table. And it is always a lot of fun. Amusing is my mother who "can't eat very much" --and eats and eats --and will say after leaving a restaurant and arriving home, "What's to eat?" And she's not overweight --yet. Since her knee surgery, she's on her feet all the time, pacing from one end of my house to the other --wondering where all the people are --and if she should go to the mailbox --and "where is Rob?" (her favorite --as he lived with her some and looked after her, when he was in college in her city.) She washes dishes for me without soap, just wiping them with a dirty dishcloth, and puts them in the drainer -- and I say, "Thanks, Mom, now we're going to sterilize them," and I put them in the dishwasher and she's fine with that. No offense. She fusses over her suitcase and purse a lot. But doesn't really beg to go home. Since she's come on her extended visit, since Feb. 14, she has been to Elmwood's musical, their pre-contest choir concert, choir practices, CLC, CLC talent show, Tenebrae Rehearsal, Tenebrae Service, visiting Stephanie's house and home-school co-op, stephanie's Easter weekend brunch last Saturday, EAster services, Fremont Alliance's Easter pageant, and Christ in the Passover presented by Jews for Jesus, etc. etc. And numerous restaurant outings.
The grandsons, 7 and 9, have heard a story about Grandpa and Grandma that they love to quote a line from, "You're weavin' all over the road, Barb!" My husband said this before he took over the driver's seat and was mocking my driving by demonstrating the weaving --and here came the police!!! And when the officer asked my husband if he knew he was weaving all over the road, our carload burst into laughter --and explained that hubby was only imitating wifey, so as to get her to drive better! Our son in law happened to be along on that car-ride to Chicago --back in the girls' college days. For awhile he called us "the Weavers."
Shared faith, shared memories, shared silliness, shared chocolates, shared holidays --all part of the rich fabric of family fun in a functional family. Our son came home from college, filled with new-found insights and wisdom, and announced we were a dysfunctional family -- and my husband said, "You haven't seen dysfunctional!!" I don't even remember why he said it. But we know that any stress we experience in our family is minor compared to the world's. We know that we are blessed --though far from perfect individuals --especially me. I am the one most blessed by a kind and generous, energetic hard-working and loving husband --and children who are kind to me --who want to come home and see us fairly often. Our daughter made a statement at her wedding, that she knew we loved her --and that her father loved her mother and that he always would. If he ever thought he wouldn't, that sure was a challenge to him! He has always believed that divorce is destructive to children --at any age. And so I have been secure in his love, through all the vicissitudes of life and body. His grandfather, especially, set such a pattern for him. And he believes in the Bible --that he is to love his wife as his own body --and so he does.
The CHURCH --when it teaches and preaches the Bible, making disciples, it still holds the keys to FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE --and the greatest of these is LOVE.
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible