It’s raining. I’m upstairs in our bedroom, space heater at my feet, writing a few letters in between sips of coffee. My oldest is gaming with his friends downstairs, my second fell asleep in his bed for a rare afternoon nap, my third is drawing in the playroom, and my fourth is napping as well, which has also unfortunately become a rare thing these days. I’m contemplating ice cream and cake for afternoon snack — it’s spring break, and we are one week in and getting used to seeing each other all day again. We are enjoying each other. It makes me feel like celebrating with cake.
Recently, I have made a practice of looking each child in the eye and saying, “You are a blessing!” I’ve also started telling myself how much FUN it is to have four kids. I feel like life tells a different story: piles of waiting laundry, a nightly meal crisis, fights and yelling and personality clashes, middle-of-the-night anxiety, tired under-eye bags that don’t seem to go away. All of this is enough. It betrays the difficulty of raising children. Then there are the unknowing comments of onlookers, wondering how I could ever manage four kids, and isn’t it just exhausting? I must hear it three or four times a day, from friends and strangers.
All of this has permeated my thinking, and I’ve started to look at the job before me and wonder if I’m really up to the task. After all, if it costs so much in energy and emotion, and all these people don’t know how I do it, then HOW am I DOING IT? I must be out-to-lunch! I must NOT be doing it. I must be horribly in need, it’s too hard, and I think I’d rather take a break. Except we don’t get those in parenting. We get small ones, sure. But we don’t get to be done with the job; and actually, I don’t think that’s what we really want, either.
So I’m retraining my mind. I’m remembering that although there are costs involved, I LOVE having four kids. I LOVE their personalities and their quirks, their sibling relationships and their needs and their chats. I WANT THIS JOB. It’s hard, but I want it. And I also want to stop looking at them like they are the reason for my tiredness, the vacuums sucking up my energy — I want to look at them and see PEOPLE. Little people. Little growing people, with a huge desire to be enjoyed — and how FUN they become when they are being enjoyed! Each one a gift. Each one, adding so much to our lives. Each one, multiplying the good things in our home. I LOVE HAVING CHILDREN.