Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do I Have Too Many Children?

There are a lot of times I joke about the size of my family, and grossly exaggerate the number of children I have. Living in Utah, a family my size is not unusual, and so I often forget that to many people, the number of children in our family is excessive.

When I was pregnant with Joshua, I went on a business trip to Washington with Mike. While mingling with a group of women from across the country, I was asked, "What number child will this be for you?" When I replied "Number four", I was shocked and mildly self-conscious of the gasps around me. One lady brave enough to do more than gasp, said loudly, "Good (expletive)! Four??"

Up until that point, I hadn't thought four was all that many. Of course we went one more than that, and we are now parents to five children. And as I just said, there are occasions, five children doesn't really seem like that many.

And then there are other times, when, well, five children seems like a few too many.

*  We can't take a box of granola bars (typically a 6 pack) on a family outing and have one for everyone.

*  With seven people using the toilets, we have at least one toilet clogged every other day. (I wish this were an exaggeration, but sadly it is not.)

*  When I wonder why we each didn't get very many Hot Tamales from the "theater size box", I realize the serving size says "5".

*  Our total bill when eating at a place like McDonalds or Wendys is more than the total bill for Mike and I alone to eat at a decent, sit-down restaurant and even include a tip!

*  We estimate the price of admission to Disneyland.

*  When I try to find a moment of peace and quiet around here.

*  A 9 x 13 pan of Rice Krispie treats is gone within minutes of them firming up. (Actually, if I'm around no size pan of Rice Krispie treats is sufficient.)

*  I wondered why there were finger nails (or toe nails...eeewww) all over the bathroom counter the other day. I was trying to guess who the culprit was, but then realized with 70 fingers and 70 toes around here--they could belong to just about anyone.

Then I think about Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, who are the parents of 19 children. I have a soft place in my heart for Michelle Duggar, who together with her husband decided early on in their marriage to leave the number of children they would have up to God.

Without giving too many details, if Mike and I had made that same choice, we could probably very easily have almost double the children we have. Which I'm glad we don't, because that would mean even less Rice Krispie Treats per person and potentially more clogged toilets.

I love all five of my children, but I can't help but wonder at times if we have too many? Too many mouths to feed, too many shoes to buy, too many voices competing, too many personalities to mesh and too many messes to clean.

But then I wonder which one exactly I could have done without, and the answer is none.

I couldn't have done without the one who is always willing to curl up onto my lap or be snuggled at my side. I can't imagine not having the one who is constantly bouncing from the walls and thinks life is one big practical joke. I can't imagine not having the one that leaves trails of their belongings in every room of the house. I can't imagine not having the child that whispers their prayers into my ear nearly every night. And I can't imagine not having the one who makes me think about things I never would have thought I'd ever think about.

Do I have too many children?
No, not at all.

Especially when I consider how quickly time is flying by.
(April 2009)
Really, I wouldn't trade a thing.

(Depending of course on the day.)

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