Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thoughts on Gratitude

Yesterday, I spent all day cleaning a house with my sister-in-law and my brother, which means a little bit of money for us (yay!).  And since we have been totally inundated with children, my older sister, very awesomely, took all four of our kids home with her after school, including the baby, and kept them overnight.

So last night, Doug and I went out to a nice dinner and the only person I had to feed was myself.  The food was delicious, and I ate too much and didn't regret it.  Then we wandered around a store without chasing, carrying or reprimanding anyone and picked up a couple (very small) things that we didn't "need", and then got some ice cream from Coldstone before heading home and sleeping all night without interruption until whenever we decided to wake up.  Yesterday was a beautiful day (sunny, low 60s--seriously, gorgeous) and last night was sort of glorious--as we drove home well after dark, the Missions were bathed in subtle-yet-somehow-brilliant light from the mostly-full moon.

For a few hours, I felt neither overwhelmed with children nor poor, and I really needed that.  Its been a very long year and a half, hasn't it?

As we drove home, we were talking about leaving the baby for the first time, the fact that she's old enough to do that because she's practically weaned. There's no place in our family for another baby right now, so that leaves me thinking about the reality that I find nearly every form of birth control very, very annoying for different reasons.  Its so terribly inconvenient.  But as I thought about the various couples I know who are thinking about adopting, trying to adopt or have adopted, I remembered how grateful I am that every time I have wanted a baby, all I had to do was decide that I wanted one--I'm quite healthy, and its usually easy for me to get pregnant, and my pregnancies and deliveries were relatively easy and problem-free.  More all the time, I appreciate what a marvelous blessing that is, and one I would gladly put up with the inconveniences of birth control to have.

You see, for my own sake, I always knew I wanted a child.  But growing up in a large family, where I always had many people around me who loved me and helped take care of me (a blessing that I appreciate even more now that I'm an adult), I knew that for the sake of that child, I wanted children--plural.  And even though by the end of this past week, part of me was occasionally tempted to smother my children (I jest-but really-but no-but yes-but no), I am so glad that we have, what it by today's standards, a large family.  I'm grateful for all the joy and richness my children give to my life, and to each other's.  I'm glad that was easy and entirely up to us to decide how many to have and when to have them. Its so heartbreaking and patience-testing to have it up to other people and systems to decide when you can bring your next child home, and a few families have been in my prayers as they try to find that little baby that needs them.

As for myself, I should probably go pick up my kids.  But maybe I should build a fire and do the dishes first.  Surely Gwen wants a little more time with my little *blessings*

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