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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

The Up-side of Down Time

I went to bed last night with a plan. I was going to get up on time and not hit the snooze button. I was going to get an early start to my day and do all sorts of things. Wonderful, important things. I was going to have the energy of the Energizer bunny!

Of course, I did not count on my three-year old waking up with a fever, restless and crying at 2 AM. And I didn’t count on the little baby waking up with a fever as well at about 3 AM. Neither did I figure on not being able to go back to sleep right away. Sigh. And so my day started out groggily, kind of fuzzy actually. My cup of java helped me to get through a slightly sluggish morning. My day has been anything but “according to plan”.

Like a lot people, I think having a plan is great. You know what you have to do, where you have to go, any time constraints, etc. There is a certain sense of control over life. And then — life shrugs its shoulders and things are thrown off kilter. We are reminded that, in fact, we are not in total control of everything.

Rather than make us feel scared, or upset, the knowledge that we are not in control of everything should serve to free us from having to worry ourselves willy-nilly. There are just certain things we cannot do anything about. Mind you, I am not being fatalistic. I believe in giving or doing my best, as if everything depended on my efforts. I believe in trying again if I fail the first time in something. But I also believe that if things do not work out as planned, it is for reasons more important than what I know or understand at that time. In the end, I know things work out for the good — for what is best.

dscn0481.jpgAs I type away on the keyboard, my 3-year old daughter is alternately resting her head on my lap and looking at the computer monitor. She still looks tired. No one has any fever now, but there is a lot of sniffling, sneezing and coughing going on in the house. (Quite obviously, a bug has taken up residence in our home.) My hope is the children will get better soon. Really soon. I hope my husband doesn’t get sick. I hope I don’t get sick! (My patients need me!!) But if things don’t go according to plan — as they often times don’t — then I will chalk it up to a chance for some down time with the family. It simply means my child needs me to get her milk, hold her hand, or feed her more soup. My energies are needed more in certain endeavours, and not necessarily what I deemed to be top priorities at first.

Whatever the reason may be, the change in plans will not be the end of the world. Life happens. I’ll deal with it.

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At the Check-out Counter

The FamilyMost people get excited for couples expecting their first child, and rightly so. There are still looks of pleasant surprise and congratulations with the second and the third. The fourth pregnancy can bring about moments of silence for some, looks of genuine surprise from others. It gets pretty interesting from the fifth onwards.

I’ve had people look at me in disbelief, one woman even ask me point-blank if I was crazy. People who see our family all together for the first time almost always have a reaction. It has taken some getting use to, and was not very pleasant at first. I had to remind myself that, in truth, my husband and I were not doing anything wrong even if there were those who acted as if we were committing a crime.

So it was not with dread that I heard the question asked again today. Let me back-track a bit here…..

I brought four kids with me to do some grocery-shopping. The kids are great to have with me since I can ask one to get an item, while another kid can get something else. At the check-out, the kids started getting some boxes for the grocery items while I started to pay the bill. The cashier smiled at me and said, “So……3 boys and 1 girl, eh?”

I smiled back at her. “Eight. There’s eight kids.”

Her eyes kind of popped out a bit as she stared at me. “No way….”

“Yes! Eight kids — a girl, then 4 boys, then 2 girls, and a boy. I gave birth last August.”

And then came the inevitable question.

“So that’s it, right?” I could almost hear her holding her breath in anticipation.

I had to laugh. This lady with a wonderful smile was still asking me if eight was “enough”! A lot of people had stopped asking at number 6 or 7 because they either got tired or figured it out for themselves. Or thought we were plain crazy. In any case, this lady wanted an answer, and I had one for her.

“No! Listen, I have a 12-seater van, you know…..Besides, God has never let us down. He’s always taken care of us, gives us what we need. And what we don’t have, we don’t need. That’s how I see it.”

And you know what? This lady got it! She smiled at me, looking really happy this time.

“Yeah, I know what you mean.”

It thrills me when people “get” my family. And if they don’t — well, there’s always hope that they will one day.

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All in the Family

(This is taken from the November 2007 newsletter of a girls’ club we run once a month from home.)

Allow me to gush: I love being a part of a large family! Eight kids, all singletons –thank you very much! I have friends who have more than eight, and some who are close to the number. For now, we (my husband & I) are at “eight”. God willing, we will be blessed with more.

I have a very good friend who has told me more than once that being a part of a large family is an education in real life itself. Consider this: you do not always get your way. You must watch where you are going or else risk trampling on some poor, unsuspecting smaller member who has yet to learn how to walk. You must be on time for everything, including and most especially meals. (Hunger seems to preclude counting of heads to make sure everyone gets their share.)

On paper, we do not look too promising: one-income earner, stay-at-home mom, lots of mouths to feed. But life is not lived on paper, and the truth is we have what we need, and oftentimes more than what we need. Whatever we may lack materially, we more than make up for with the sense of family that is so much a part of our life.

Is this experience limited to large families only? Thankfully, it is not. It may be more pronounced in a large family because of the ever-present need to help one another. Rooms are almost always shared by siblings. Things are passed down from an older sibling to a younger one. There is a natural need to consider the others. The same sense of family can and should be present in all families, regardless of size.

When we take on the considerations of the mother of a large and poor family (as a saint I am greatly fond of liked to say), what is most important comes to the fore. The non-essentials fall by the wayside.

We use things well and are not frivolous with what we have. We look out for each other. We try to do our work well because what we do matters. There is no room for selfishness because there are always others to bear in mind. And what a great blessing it is to have others to consider in the quiet of our hearts and to fill us with joy!

We are all connected with each other — our very humanity underscores this truth. It is a gift we must pass onto and teach our children about. Our kids need to learn how to be compassionate, understanding, concerned for others. In other words, our children need to know how to love. And we are each blessed with opportunities to teach them by example, every single one of them.

Finally, this sense of family transcends space and time, and thus I invite you to remember those who have gone before us: those who we loved and those whom we never knew on earth. This month, keep these souls, both known and unknown, in your prayers and thoughts. They are gone, but not forgotten. They are, after all, a part of this family we call the human race.

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