Yesterday we were at Amelie's, meeting with a homeschooling group. Per usual I was the one with the most kids. Most of the people we know have one or two maybe three kids. Sometimes, I walk into these situations feeling almost apologetic. Embarrassed a bit about my excess that is hard to hide. I feel like all eyes are on me, judging me, scrutinizing me for any sign that I made a mistake by having such a big family. I suppose that most people really don't think these things but I know that many do because they have made comments to me to that effect.
But today when I walked in, I felt a new confidence in my large family. There is not a child surrounding me that I would give back. They are now satellites in our orbit. Surrounding us with their energy and light. How could I wish one away? We wouldn't be complete if it weren't for each of them, and their unique offerings to our family life.
Yes, we gave up some things when we decided to expand our family. We will likely not get to Europe until we're much older. We do not have date nights (well we do but it involves four beasties plus us). We take up a lot of space. We don't eat out often (which is a mixed blessing. We save money and our waist lines by not doing so). It's an operational mission every time we walk out the door. There is very little quiet in my house, and I often stay up much to late to get what there is of that bit of quiet.
But there is such LIFE here. There is joy, anger, laughter, tears. The beasties are endlessly amusing and endlessly frustrating. They have forced me into being a better person. I've developed patience, kindness, firmness, discipline, and a whole range of other qualities that have made me a better human being. They've also made clear my faults which is humbling.
As we sat at Amelie's, me not always being able to chat with grown ups because I was wrestling with a nursing toddler, I hoped that no one was feeling bad for me. I hoped that no one was thinking "Wow I bet she wishes she had a few less kids." Because I was feeling joy.