The fact that my dad is number 11 of 13 kids still astounds me. I never met my grandmother. She died when I was a baby, in her early 60’s. My Catholic family is massive, with about 25 first cousins on that side of the family. I haven’t met them all. My grandmother left a legacy. I don’t know if 13 kids turned a lot of heads back then, but it just takes five kids to do so nowadays. Sometimes I can see the intrigued expressions of onlookers in restaurants. Big families just aren’t common anymore. My dad warned me.
Big families just aren’t common anymore.
Booking hotels, keeping records, coordinating rides and staying current on dental and medical visits are all challenging with more than two children in our society. My grandmother would have had to make 30 dental appointments, minimally, yearly, if she had her family these days. Of course, many of my elderly aunts and uncles have dentures now, but in other ways, life was simpler back then. Families of that size are the subject of reality shows nowadays.
Seventy or eighty years ago, braces weren’t expected, kids weren’t considered at risk for social maladjustment if they didn’t have daily extracurricular and social activities, and there were no devices to charge and batteries to buy for toys. Still, my grandparents grew their own vegetables, milked their own cows and collected their own eggs, with the help of their 12 children. Family life was demanding. They pulled together and did what needed to be done because they understood the rewards. My father’s family is still very close, the better part of a century later.
Those five kids are passing through our lives and our home so quickly.
Of course we love our kids, as almost everyone does (love their own children, to clarify). Psalm 127:3 states, without condition, that “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” There are many reasons why people don’t have them, or have just one or two of them. There are many family-less children who would be thrilled to be a gift and reward to someone, somewhere. Children are one gift that, over time, more and more people are saying “No, thanks,” to.
But nowhere in Scripture are we required to have minimal bank balances to share our lives with a child.
The world would tell us that we shouldn’t be parents unless we are perfect, or that having too many children will rob from the fullness of our lives. This is simply not true. We share with our children, and they share with us. Without them, there would be so much less in the mix. Life is so full that some days I longingly think that I need that exotic vacation that was shelved for another year. But then I realize how quickly they will all be off, living their own lives with their families. Then I thank God, hold them tight, and enjoy the moment.