Since the birth of Miss Belle, we have gotten many comments on how great it must be to have one boy and one girl. Apparently a family of four with children being of opposite gender is considered "the perfect family" to people in society today. Oh! And the fact that our boy is older than our girl? Well, that is just icing on the cake. Surely we don't want anymore, surely we are "done!"
I have been thoroughly amazed how many people in our politically correct society today think it is just fine to discuss and comment on my husband's and my love life and plans for children in the future. A couple of weeks ago we took the kids into my husband's work to show off the new addition. A man I never have met or been introduced to looks at our family and very bluntly states, "Ok you have a boy and a girl. You have two. You're done. No more now, you're done." Or the woman at mass who commented on how close our children were in age but then went on to say, "When I think of all the aborted babies out there, I'm happy to see a baby. But that doesn't mean you need to go and have another one in a year." Not to mention all the small grocery store comments about how we must have our hands full and how happy we must be that we got one of each sex. I knew people made comments like this before I even had kids, because I know quiet a few large families who get them all the time. But that's just it...they are LARGE families...not families with TWO kids (FYI I'm not saying these comments are appropriate for large families either, I just didn't expect to get any until at least three or four children were tailing behind me).
Why is it that everyone finds a baby to be the most joyous thing in the world and then tells you not to have anymore? Everyone smiles at babies, wants to hug, smell and kiss them all over. There is something about a tiny warm body curled against yours that brings a peace to the soul that is beyond this world, and yet society says two is the max. Two is enough joy, no more. This baffles me. Someday I'll find a good response to comments, I just assumed I had more time. But in case you are curious, here is our plan for the world to know: we take children as God gives them, not at our convenience. Maybe I could just type that up on a card and hand it out to people who think we should be "done".
I once heard a great quote that I have been thinking of often lately. It went something to the effect of "Parenthood makes selfish people unselfish. You can't be a good parent and be selfish." Man have I found this to be true lately.
In a rare moment when I was actually alone returning some books at the library the other day, I saw a girl sitting in a chair reading a magazine. This simple picture had some deep effect on me. What did that feel like? To have no ties to anything? To be able to randomly go to a library, sit down and read a magazine without worrying about how the kids are, or what I'm making for dinner. I felt slightly guilty for my hidden envy of that girl in the chair, so I have been asking God to help me embrace these hard and busy days as we continue to adjust to our new life. But as many of us know, God in His loving mercy, often shows us more than we ask. Lately, He has shown me the need for a major cleansing my soul needs, and some definite attitude adjustments. And He is using my children to do it.
I'm lazy, I'll admit it. Sloth is one of those things I am constantly confessing over and over again. The Lord has given me two children who constantly pull me out of my love for sleep and relaxation. He has given me a son who wants to play right as his sister falls asleep, and a newborn baby who insists on waking up every time I put her down. I'm selfish and greedy. But these are often cleansed when I am forced to wake up at night to feed my child and money must be spent on diapers and clothing instead of things I really want. And biggest of all, I'm very prideful. Humility is granted to me when I look in the mirror at my post pregnancy body and by the insult to my family in the numerous comments my husband and I have already received regarding having more children in the future (negative comments, I assure you). I always told God that I wanted to be a saint, and He knew in His infinite wisdom that only the love I have for my children would force me to come out of myself and start serving others; to clean out the places in my heart where He should reside.
And secondly, my attitude. My above mentioned laziness mixed with fatigue has not been the best combination. I have lost my temper easily and been lazy in my discipline with my son. I am frustrated with him when he doesn't listen and I am having to remind myself often that he is only 19 months old. Something about having a newborn in the house makes him seem like an adult, and I think I often expect him to act like one. The other day as he was running around being a rambunctious boy, I was particularly annoyed with his abundant energy and unwillingness to listen (and here again, God is cleansing me of impatience). I prayed for God to give me patience and I was struck with a thought that changed my whole attitude towards him. If my son was the only person ever born on the face of the earth, Jesus Christ would have come and suffered and died for him. How much must Christ love him in his one year old innocence? And how displeasing it must be to God when I treat him like an annoyance in my life instead of the greatest gift He has ever given me? I'm not saying I'm perfect and have not lost my patience with him numerous times since this event, but every time I think of this little thought I am filled with a sense of total peace and love towards my son. A desire to discipline out of love and not anger, and a desire to shower him with love and affection, the way I'm sure Christ would show His love for my son.
I am so thankful during these days of change and transition to have my faith. It's a gift I think none of us can take for granted these days. And I am mostly thankful for a loving Father who shows patience with me every day and knows exactly how to cleanse my soul through such an awesome gift as my children. A Father who reveals and gives much more than I ask and a Father who loves so perfectly. May I learn to love as He loves.
When I started this blog I promised myself I wouldn't care about any awards, or the popularity of the blog. I was just going to write to write. But I must admit that I was just a tad big happy when my friend informed me that I was nominated for a catholic blog award under the category "Best New Kid On the Block." Apparently people campaign on their blogs for people's votes and I had no idea I had even been nominated, so I had zero votes until today...pathetic. But I'm still happy to have been nominated. If you are interested in voting, just to flatter me, you can do it once a day here. There is already a sure winner in my category, but hey, a few votes never hurt anyone. And by the way, you should vote for my friend (blog name 'Shoved to Them') mentioned above under the category "Best Under Appreciated" while you are at it!
Today is a bittersweet day for me. Today is the day I would have graduated college had I chosen to stay in New Mexico and not gotten married. For most people it seems that somehow getting educated goes right along with their vocation. For me, it did not. With a husband three years older than me, graduating college and moving away on military orders I was only left with two choices: marry the man I thought God called me to marry and move away with him, or stay in my hometown for the tree short semesters I had left and finish school. Of course, the world told me to finish school, but I chose marriage. I could have finished school wherever we moved, but my husband and I were pregnant within the first weeks of our marriage, and the online classes I was taking in an attempt to stay in school on the road didn't jive with a newborn.
When you are young and in school, your life is mapped out for you. You will go to elementary, you will go to middle and high school, you will go to college and then go get a masters or doctorate. Only after all this has been done is it ok to consider marriage and children in the world's eyes. But God had other plans for me than the world did. And I still catch hell for choosing God's plans every day. "What will you do if something happens to your husband?" I am asked this question so often when people find out that I'm not in school. God will take care of me. "Don't you miss it?" is another one I get. The answer to this is simply, yes. I love school, and I was really really good at it. It wasn't an easy thing to give up, especially when you are the former highschooler who was in all the advanced classes and was just expected to be there on graduation day. I'll go back someday; but I have promised myself that someday will be a day when I feel my children are not suffering or missing out on something because of my desires to go to school.
Today all my childhood friends will walk onto a huge stage in front of thousands of people and recieve a diploma. Their names will be called and their families will cheer in proud adoration of their children who worked so hard for this day. They will hug and talk about what a long road it's been, but that it's finally done with. I will spend today nursing a young baby, changing diapers and singing the ABC's. I will not hug friends, but rather the small bodies of my children. My name will be called in the form of a newborn cry, or the sweet sound of my son screaming "MAMA!". My friends will hold diplomas, but I will hold immortal souls. And I wouldn't give that up for the world.
So Congratulations class of 2010. May you find as much joy in today as I will, and may you find God's will for your life in the future.
I am a Catholic wife and mother of four, striving to grow holier by the day. I have a son and three daughters and am currently homeschooling the oldest two. I am a doula and have a special passion for all things birth related. This blog is my life and thoughts escaping from my head to the computer screen. So pull up a chair and come along for the ride!