"How many kids do you think you'll have?"
"Five kids really is a lot... Are you trying to be the Duggars?"
"Do you think you're done?"
I get a variety of these questions all peppered with curiosity because this isn't something that a lot of people choose. This life, so full of little ones, so full of life. It's a paradox really.
Children, so small and so young make your life so big, so full. Full of adventure. Full of fun. Full of jobs, excitement. Full of laughter. Full of laundry, dirt, food. Full of Birthdays, holidays, and everything in-between. So often I catch myself wondering at how these small people can make things so big.
And so our family grows, because I don't have it in me to say no. Not yet. In time my body will no longer grow children. Rather, I will continue to work and pray and love children who are now living life close, or perhaps... have moved away.
I remember someone saying once, "How could I not want to meet another person I will love so very much?" It stood out to me. Yes. How? Every single one of the people born into this family take up another part of my heart that will always and forever belong to them, no matter where they go, what they do, who they become. I think on each of them and I feel an immeasurable sense of love.
How could I say no to another one? I... can't.
I know that some day this time will end, and honestly that will be ok with me. Life is meant to be lived in stages and as much as we might love one stage who is to say that the next won't be equally beautiful?
As much as I don't want to rush through these moments, I don't want to stop the next ones from happening.
Yesterday I got out the big pool. We bought it two years ago. While I smoothed it out, made sure it was clean, hooked up the filter, and blew up the edge my oldest fixed lunch, my middle kids ran and got the sunscreen, the towels, and filled up the water table for the littlest. When I was done filling the pool I was able to sit down with some iced coffee and it was odd. Two years ago I did everything by myself. I had this sudden realization that we've entered another stage.
I'm not in the toddler stage anymore. I have an older kid who is discovering a desire for independence. I have a child who is about to enter into kindergarten. I have a spunky 4 year old girl who very well might join her brother in kindergarten a year early, I have a toddler, and my 5th will make her debut in the next couple weeks.
Motherhood has changed me more than anything else. It has made me look outside of myself. I struggle, daily to lay aside my own needs, but as my children grow, so do I. In the sacrifice of motherhood I'm learning how to be a better, kinder, more loving, less selfish, more patient person. I'm brought closer to Christ as I pray for Him to change me - make me new.
I don't know how many kids we'll have. I don't put a number on it anymore because with each child that comes into this house I learn more about what it means to live life for others. I learn more about laying down my own life. I learn that life with kids is full - full of much more than I ever thought possible.