I love the size of my family. For me, 4 kids is perfect. They're spaced just far enough apart, but close enough together... and I was done having kids at the age of 30. I pat myself on the back for my successful family planning and feel pretty happy with the way things are. I've really been enjoying our family dynamic lately, and things have been going smoothly. I think I've finally figured out how to make this work.
After Ezra was born Josiah and I looked at our 4 beautiful children and proclaimed our family complete. Ta da!! All done. Four beautiful children. It's a large family by most people's standards, and I really felt comfortable with were my family was. Starting potty training is not fun, but hey, pretty soon I won't have to change diapers any more!! WOO HOO!! And I only have one kid at home with me while the big kids are in school, so that makes getting stuff done and keeping the house clean so much easier.
Some days I feel guilty for loving the time that I get to myself. I really do love sending my kids off to school. Having some precious hours of peace and quiet in my home, where I can focus on what I need done- not what I have to take care of for one of my kids- is like heaven. There are precious moments with the kids when they are home, but honestly, if there are one or two precious moments each day, there are about 30 moments where mommy is cleaning up an unexpected mess, intervening in a fight, trying to teach some kind of moral lesson, or having a kid stomp off saying "You are such a MEAN MOM!" after stopping some kind of bad behavior. Those moments are not fun. They are not sweet. They are not precious. They are a necessary part of being a good parent. I'm helping my children grow into good, kind, and responsible human beings, but boy, it is not always fun.
So, having my 4 children grow up, become more independent, and spend more time on their own is something I love and look forward to. And I had made it! After 10 years, I was finally at the point where my kids were growing and spending time outside of my home and I could get some "me" time! I might even be able to have a clean-ish house, or pick up on sewing, or painting, or writing music again! Then Elder Neil L. Andersen got up and gave a wonderful talk at the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference and threw a monkey wrench in my plans.
If you don't remember, he talked about children and the blessing they are in a home. Then he talked about how we choose to have children, and the blessings we get from choosing to give one of Heavenly Father's children a body and a loving home, even if it's not easy. And it hit me- I need to have another baby. And the first thing my husband thought when he heard that talk was the same. Ummm, that's not the plan. We're done. We're happy with things the way they are. Aren't we?
Josiah and I talked that evening, after the kids were in bed. He has a pretty good job now. I don't have any health problems or complications when pregnant or in labor. We have a happy and loving home. There's an empty seat in the mini-van... So many reasons that it made sense, but didn't fit the plan we had made. We thought about it and prayed about it and talked again on Sunday after kids were in bed, and both of us felt strongly that we should have another baby.
WHAT?!! This morning I woke up and thought, "Did I really decide that I should get pregnant again?!! Am I crazy?!" All the reasons that had made me feel happy with things the way they were came flying at me. I like my quiet time with only one kid at home. I like being healthy and thin. I feel overwhelmed with 4 kids some days, what am I going to do with 5?! What would we have to pay out of pocket for the medical bills? I never even paid attention to that when we looked over the health plan at work, because, duh, we weren't having any more so it didn't matter. Am I ready to get all fat and out of shape again? What if I don't loose the baby weight this time? What if we have another boy? We can't fit 4 beds into that bedroom! We'll have to add onto the house again, and the addition we have isn't even done yet! I just threw away all of my maternity clothes. I was freaking out a little bit.
I feel like living the gospel is pretty easy. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's difficult to do what's right. I struggle and make mistakes, but for me living the gospel is not HARD, it's just not always easy. I've never really felt like I've had to make a hard choice between what I want to do and what the Lord wants me to do. So far, the Lord and I have been on the same page most of the time. I've been lucky, or blessed, that I haven't had a trial of faith, where I really want something different from what the Lord wants. Usually when I get some inspiration I feel happy, relieved even, to have direction and a sense of doing what's right. But this time the inspiration is HARD!
I feel like I was struck by lightning... it just came out of nowhere. It's not like the idea even crossed my mind lately. Baby? Again? ME?! Are you sure? The feeling was so strong and sudden that I almost wanted to blame it on hormones, but then Josiah turned to me and said "You know, the only reason I didn't want another baby was because of diapers." Then he gives me that look. I know that look... the I'm going to be a daddy again look. I knew without a doubt that this is what the Lord wants for us. There's a spirit up there that needs our home.
So, today I'm freaking out a little. But I'm excited, too. Some time in the next year or two another little spirit will join our family. By then I'm sure that I'll be happy and ready, but for today I'm still a little nervous. I know that big blessings come from doing what the Lord asks of us- even if it totally changes our plans and throws us for a loop. I'm ready and willing, it's just going to take me a few days to get used to it, that's all.