I’ve noticed that a lot of people think a husband, wife, and one to two children is too big of a family—or at least, they think it’ s a large family. Having a large family seems to invite comments, and not all of them kind or even rational. “Don’t you know what causes that?” I’ve heard people ask, which makes me want to scream (though it just makes my husband nod and smile).
I come from a family of four children and my mom and dad both came from families of four or more children. I can’t help but wonder: Why is it so taboo for me to be having my fourth child?
There are so many wonderful things about a big and growing family. Something that most people don’t think about when it comes to having a large family is all the things that it teaches you about relationships. It requires a lot of patience, because each child is so different. (And they don’t come with manuals!) So every day is a learning experience in how to forgive each other more and love each other better. A big family brings lots of opportunities for growing in love.
I’m not trying to say that having a big family makes you better than if you have a small family, but I am tired of people suggesting that having a big family is a bad thing, because for my husband and me it has been a blessing.
Years ago what first drew me to large families was that they always looked like they were having a blast together. I know that isn’t always the case, but in our family fun just comes with the territory. We love having birthday parties for friends and family to gather and enjoy all the conversation and laughter, and also having family time playing games and learning something new together. With a big family, even life at home can feel like a party, because there are always people around to celebrate with. It certainly is not a lonely or boring life.
But as epic as it is, it is also an undertaking. When I bring Baby Four home, Baby One will be six years old. That’s a lot, and I’m not sure I’ll survive the coming days. I’ll definitely be holding onto my sanity by a hair. (Then again, maybe my sanity is actually so far gone that I just don’t miss it anymore?)
Financially it can be a little more challenging, too. We do not have the nicest car, the most stylish clothes, or the latest gadgets. Instead we have bunk beds, a car crammed with car seats, and way too many Barbies, Legos, and noisy electronic toys.
So what makes it worth it all? Four kids! I get more hugs, more smiles, more giggles. A table full of children laughing is amazing. Christmas morning with four kids? Four times the magic. Four trick or treaters? That just means more candy. For me.
I get to watch four kids grow into adults. I get to feel the pride that comes with each accomplishment and every milestone. I get the good with the bad. I get to learn from my kids and my husband how to be a better listener, a more patient mother. And one day they will all be grown, and they will give me grandbabies—and very expensive Christmas presents. Because, no, I am not going to shut up about how the four of them almost killed me when they were small. Oh yes, they will give me lots of Christmas presents.
But at the end of the day they are my blessing that’s rightly mine and my husband’s, and anyone who wants to join our crazy loving family will just have a larger family to love and share so much with.
Because marriage is not just about the relationship between a husband and wife. It is also about the miracle of how their love for each other grows into a family. The love my husband and I have for each other has brought into the world four new little people who get to become family and make the world a better place. Marriage is not just about me, or even just about me and my husband. It is about our family, and about the little ripple of joy that our family can share with those around us.
So yes, we do know “what causes that.” And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Flickr/ Xosé Castro Roig