In her words:
Five seems so much bigger than four (the minivan won't cut it anymore) and it feels like we have definitely moved into the "LARGE FAMILY" bracket....with no one else I know having above four. Will we ever get invited anywhere again!?!? :)Now, I would argue that no matter how many children you have (even if you have none), adding just one to the mix of your current family can seem a daunting, maybe even insurmountable, task. I'm quite sure I had the most trouble adjusting to the first child, hands down!
But I do remember feeling as my friend did, particularly by the time I got to the fifth: I could "feel" people's eyes on us - watching us like a circus sideshow - counting: one, two, three, four...FIVE? Imagining what they might be saying, "Are they all hers?" Or, "Aren't there already enough children in the world?" Or, when one slipped by without the "fashion check" at the door: "See, she can't even dress them properly!"
I got used to the shocked silence and snide comments when I told others our news (people can be so unthinking and rude). Are you going to have any more? Or, Don't you know what causes this? Mostly, though, people seemed to feel sorry for me: "Oh, wow. Five. Sheesh, girlfriend!"
This didn't help. I already had lots of fears about how I would manage. I can't even get the laundry done with four. Getting out of the house takes me two hours as it is. How will I ever do it with five? I struggled, wondering how we would stretch a single paycheck to feed, clothe, and care for another little person, who would grow into a big person needing braces and a college education some day. I worried about my parenting. My patience is stretched already. How on earth will I be able to love and nurture another eternal soul?
Even though five was not in our human plan, God knew. What a comfort that was for me! At any given moment, my emotions ranged from extreme elation to deep depression. But I held on to the truth of God's Word:
For you created my inmost being;Somewhere in eternity past, God had thought of this little one, and, in His infinite wisdom, He decided to place her here, in our family.
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
And somehow, I - flawed, inadequate, unlikely - was chosen to be a part of this child's story.
Now, almost five years later, I am steeled to comments about our family's size. I am resigned to the fact that money will always be tight for us. That getting us all out of the house is still something nigh unto an Act of God. I still struggle with patience, laundry, and disorganization. I agonize over every parenting decision. And I am used to the fact that a minivan is too small for us.
But when I look at our fifth child - the ray of sunshine that she is - I'm not looking at all that. Honestly, I just can't imagine how anyone could possibly feel sorry for me.
I am abundantly, overwhelmingly, and resoundingly blessed.