“Let me encourage you. No man ever got to the end of his life and wished that he had fewer children.”
An older man sat before a group of new and soon to be parents. His eyes were warm and his cheeks were wrinkled from years of smiles. He was imparting nuggets of truth he had learned over the years from his wise choices and hard mistakes. They were things he hoped would one day strengthen their parent-child relationships.
These particular words, though, touched to the thought many of these new parents were having: “How can I, when I feel overwhelmed now, think of having another baby? Ever.” This made the prospect of growing their families even simply a topic of discussion.
What he didn’t know was, as a more experienced parent, those were the words I, too, needed to hear. My belly was big and it bumped and jerked with each of kick of the baby that was soon to be arriving. Unlike many of the people in the room, this wasn’t our first or second.
He would be our 5th.
My life already felt full and busy. Many of my days, I felt pushed just to the brink of of my capabilities. Although this precious, miracle baby was delighted over, I had often quietly wondered how we would have enough for all five of these precious children. I adore my children and love being a mom, but I’m not super woman. It was hard to not feel overwhelmed by what I was about to enter into.
His words were so comforting. As I thought about it that night, I realized I had allowed my focus to be drawn to the chaos instead of the joys. That is so easy to do with the feelings of being overwhelmed. It certainly was going to be a busy season. But a wonderfully so one. Five little ones under 10 years of age. Little people make big messes in all areas of life.
It is isn’t easy, especially at first. It will take adjusting to a new rhythm. But I knew this gentle grandpa’s words were true. The years are moving faster and faster. One day, before I know it, they will be grown. The house will be quiet. I will look back on this time with longing and fondness. The messiness and sleeplessness will fade in comparison to the sweet memories. It will all be worth it. I will not regret having the last one.
After several treasures of practical advice, he ended by saying, “so have as many children as you can. . . . and then have one more.” I left with a smile on my face from this endearing encouragement. It certainly isn’t something we hear often in this day and age.
Will this little boy be the last one? I don’t know. Either way, I hope I am always overwhelmed, but delightfully so, by the joys and not the chaos of having added that one more little one.
What moments have you maybe felt overwhelmed by a change? Was there someone special that came alongside you with encouragement? If not, is there one thing in hindsight that would’ve been encouraging for someone to share with you?
Photo: shimelle on Flickr, via Creative Commons license