The way we perceive the blessing (or non-blessing) of children makes every difference in the way we understand all the work, sacrifice and joy that surrounds them.
When people see our large family, we get the gamut of comments. Often though, you can hear concern for the older children–especially for the oldest–as they assume that surely it must be drudgery for her to have to help take care of them all. And, this might be a natural conclusion IF you have a jaded view of the blessing of children.
But if you recognize children for the gifts of life that they are, then the very real work that comes with those gifts–from helping Mom during pregnancy and throughout recovery to helping a sibling learn to tie his shoe–is not drudgery, but is a normal part of life that happens to be accompanied by great joy.
I see this phenomenon with my oldest daughter as we have brought our eighth newborn home. Never have I seen a “child” so carried away with her sibling. She is positively enamored. She fidgets until baby has slept long enough that she can wake her. She coos at her constantly, calling her “Little Miracle”. She looks up from Ellia’s face into mine and says, beaming, “I can’t wait to have my own…do you think we’ll be pregnant together?” 😉
All this from a 15-year-old who has had to take up some serious slack over the last few months. And she did it willingly, never questioning or feeling sorry for herself. To her, this is life with meaning and purpose. To her, what’s a few extra chores compared with the incredible gift of a new life in the house?
She has been asked many times–you can hear it in their voices–“Do you have to help take care of all these kids?” She can’t get over their tone. She can’t comprehend that they don’t feel the joy she feels, that the “work” (God forbid we actually work in this life) she does is just as normal a part of her life as the work anyone else does, and she understands the eternal aspect of it to boot!
(And apparently, people can’t believe she actually has a life of her own–that is, plenty of time to pursue her loves and interests, to work on her music, to read, to write, to be with friends, to hone her photography skills, to milk the cow (she loves it), to walk in the woods…)
Just a neat perspective I’ve been observing since we came home. And I can’t count how many times she has said, as we sit down to eat, “Our table is full now…(pause, big smile…) Guess we’ll have to build a bigger one!
It’s all about perspective. “Don’t feel sorry for her“, Missus in the grocery store; she actually enjoys it now, and the eternal reward is yet to come!