Monday, October 22, 2012

thoughts on a large family

I have been thinking about large families, and thought I'd jot down a few thoughts of my own on this. From different perspectives I have a small or a large family. I grew up in a family with 3 girls, I was the oldest. I remember thinking that our family was HUGE. It seemed like all the coupons for Disneyland were for a families of 4 (Yes, this was how I judged what a large family was). I knew that when I had a family I would have 2 kids so that we could go to Disneyland more :-) It's funny how perspective is as a child, but those Disneyland commercials really influenced my thoughts....

When I began dating Joel, he was number 6 of 10 kids. During the years that we dated and early on in our marriage I remember going to his family things and taking an Excederine before going, I thought it was so hectic and crazy! At the time not even half of his siblings were married (it was so small compared to the size now). However at that time, his immediate family was larger then my family from my great grandparents on down! In my family, in general only one person spoke at a time, their was usually only one conversation going on too. At Joel's family their were as many conversations as their were people, and everyone spoke at once, if you wanted your story heard...well you just spoke louder and louder. People gathered anywhere they could and talked with each other and kids ran around playing with cousins.

Joel and I were married and had our first child, three and half years later we had Taran. We weren't sure that Taran would even come, I had so many problems that the doctor after many appointments told us we may only have one child. I think this is when my perspective began to change, I couldn't believe that I wouldn't have the choice to decide how many kids to have. I was also no longer taking Excederine to go to Stout gatherings, I found that when family was in town, we went to hang out with the crowds every chance we could. I began to crave the commotion. I loved all the kids running around with each other, always another cousin to hang out with. Multi leveled loud conversations were the norm, and I found I could easily follow and add input into 3 overlapping conversations at was fun. I loved seeing my mother and father in law delight in their family.

Joel and I had a change in our conversations at home too, we desired to be surrounded by family. We wanted to have kids and one day grandkids running around our house, with multiple cousins to play with. We were on the path to a large family. And here we are with five kids. Are we a large family? Yes, by most standards. No, by Joels family standards. We only have half of his families size.....but I just dont think 10 is in our cards :-)

Things are different with a large family. The thought of having another baby is different then it was with the first few. I didn't worry about being out numbered...because we already were. Staying up late with a baby doesn't faze me, I haven't slept a full night in most of marriage. Being prepared for a new baby is not as stressful. I realize that you just don't need all the gizmos and gadgets that I once thought were needed. I also have become far more sentimental about each baby. I think i was before, but with each child I have realized just how fast they grow, I savor each thing my child does. I desperately wish for my kids to stay were they are, I feel like they are quickly growing and will be gone to soon.

Some things that have changed though, for example; this weekend we decided to take our kids out to eat and then to go bowling. We used to always eat out....that just doesn't happen anymore. In fact when our kids have a birthdate, they can go out on a date with just mom and dad and pick the resteraunt. We very rarely bring all of our kids out to eat at once. This weekend when we did I was reminded why....besides being very expensive, its just hard. Trying to keep kids in their seats, make sure they aren't kicking each other under the table. Trying to stay somewhat quite because other people are their too. Besides all that, the real battle comes when the food arrives. I looked at my yummy plate of food, yet was quickly moving from one person to the next, cutting enchaladas, taking rice of one plate, because he doesn't even want the rice on his plate, making sure Keegan doesn't touch the hot plate. Picking up a dropped fork, giving Keegan a bite of food, quickly eating a bite myself, and then going through it all again. Going out to eat with all the kids means you don't enjoy each bite of yummy food, it means if you get a chance you quickly shove a bite in your mouth and move onto the next's kind of exausting. Though I will say the food was great, the night was so much fun, I walked away from the evening feeling like a just ran a marathon. Things sure are different with many kids!

I am greatful for the tender mercies that our family has been given. I love that our Heavenly Father has trusted us with 5 wonderful kids, I enjoy watching each of them. I wonder how 5 kids with the same parents have all turned out so differently, each one has such a different personality. We have adventurous and cautious kids. We have homebodies and outdoor oriented. Those who love sports and those who shy away. Those who are coordinated and well those who sadly took after me. Some who sing and some who don't, those that clean and those that I wonder why they cant keep their room clean for one day. It seems as though we have them all, and I love each one of them. It funny to think that we could now buy two family specials just to go to Disneyland!

 I think its fun that dinner time in our home each night involved 7 different people usually all talking at once, just talking a little bit louder and louder hoping to be heard. I think its funny that now my family probably has to take excederine when they visit my house. I love that I get to enjoy this each day and I  hope that one day one of my kids will look and Joel and I and see in our faces the same delight that I see in Reynold and MaryEllen as they look out on their family with a sense of pride. I guess its all in perspective, and I'm so glad that my perspective changed from that of my younger self and that I didn't choose the size of my family based on a Disneyland special. I'm glad that we have a Joely, a Taran, a Kyler, a Parlee, and a Keegan. But, if life would have only allowed me to have 1 or 2 kids, I hope that I would be sitting here with the same feelings of gratitude that I feel right now.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

You would still be just as grateful and happy with your kids as you are now. But, the ache in your heart of not getting to decide the number would not go away and the sadness at knowing that you would have an empty house for half your life would linger.

Your family is cute! I love reading about them.