Last night, as I was going to sleep, I felt a need to list my blessings. I was thinking about the way I always laugh at myself for having 4 kids, I joke about how hard it is, sometimes I'm not joking. I make comments like ... I don't like kids (which is basically true) and I never planned on having that many children (also true). Then the term 'big family' came into my mind and I started thinking that I really don't have a 'big family'. I mean, folks who have more than 6 kids might legitimately say they have a 'big family', but it's just today's society which makes me think I have a 'big family'. What I really have is a "moderately sized family", which in today's society is considered large.
I have never one time in my life wished the four beautiful children I have were not here. Well, yes, I've wished they weren't right here in the bathroom with me when I'm trying to shower, or right here in the bedroom when I'm trying to nap, or right here in the car screaming when I'm trying to drive....but I've never once ever wished they weren't in existence.
My oldest child, and only son, Michael, keeps giving me hugs and telling me I'm going to miss him when he's gone. He does this every day at least two times a day. He thinks I'll just be wandering around the house wishing I had his big ole long monkey arms wrapped around me to give me a hug...in his mind, I will be adrift in a vast ocean of peace and quiet without him and I'll miss him! He's right. So, I'll take his hugs and I'll store them up and then when he's off doing his own thing, I'll pull that memory out and give myself a hug.
I also had to ask myself if he keeps giving me those hugs and saying those things to me because he thinks I won't miss him. I won't miss a lot of things he does ... but I will miss him. Rest assured, Momma will think of her baby boy often. Like my Mom told me when I asked her how did she manage to let go so easily, when she was so controlling my whole life ... "I raised you for 18 years, if I did my job well, you'll be just fine, and I did my job well". I don't know if that was utter confidence or blind faith, but she's right. I did just fine and a lot of it based on Mike and Leatrice raising me for 18 years.
So ... I've been thinking ... I need to change how my sarcastic nature presents itself because maybe my kids think that what I'm saying has a different meaning. Maybe they think I really wish they weren't here on Earth, rather than just not right here in the bathroom with me at that moment. Maybe I need to change my tone when I talk about my family. Maybe I should allow the world to see what my heart really feels about my family. Why is that so hard for me? I think that was a Mike and Leatrice lesson too. Never let them see you too closely. Maybe that one needs to change?
Briefly then, I'll explain what my heart feels.
It all starts with the biggest blessing in my life of all time, my husband. Floyd is not the type of man I would have ever dreamed would latch on to me, but is exactly the type of man whom I needed. Patient, long suffering, accepting, a good man and did I mention patient?
My children, all four of them. Well, there is a fifth one. I had a miscarriage in 1995 and our first baby is with God right now. I think about how things would be different and if I had that baby, I would not have Michael and probably not Kathryn. Oh, I might have other kids, but I wouldn't have those exact kids. God knows, in His infinite wisdom, what is necessary and needed and so things proceed from there. Thinking about that makes me realize how very much I do love my children. I wonder if people know that because I don't always act like it. Here's my list of what I love about having a 'moderately sized family'.
1.) It's always a party ... no matter if guests show up or not. 6 people can have a good time.
2.) Nothing like a full dinner table every night to make you count your blessings.
3.) Built in baby sitting by the older ones.
4.) Watching a big brother hold his little sister on his lap while they play checkers with the other big sister who has the other little sister on her lap. That was a moment, and I didn't have my camera.
5.) You're never lonely, there's always someone around to give you a hug and a kiss.
6.) Many different personalities to choose from when you want to do something or talk with someone.
7.) Hand me down clothes.
8.) All those mother's day gifts.
9.) Someone is always making me laugh.
10.) One of them has to pick a good retirement home for me, right?
12.) People to pass along your memories and convictions and morals.
13.) The increased odds that at any given time, one of them will want me to come visit when we're older.
14.) Never ending things to do...keeping me active and invigorated mentally, even as they drain me.
15.) Grandchildren....lots of grandchildren.....
16.) Think of all those people praying for you ... your very own prayer group in times of trouble, in times of joy ... I've got an instant chorus of prayer coming up from my kids alone.
17.) You get your own pew at Mass.
18.) Watching them all grow and change into totally distinct, separate people .. I get to do that multiple times. Each one is different, each one a miracle.
19.) 8 arms to give me hugs, 8 lips to give me kisses, 4 mouths to tell me they love me.
20.) The best thing .... it really feels like a family ... surrounded by the kids and Floyd, I feel happy and content. It's a feeling many people will never be lucky enough to have, through their own choices or through circumstance. Yup...that blessed feeling ... the blessed feeling of a moderately sized family.