Monday, October 21, 2013

Our Family- Imperfect and Incomplete

I didn't intend to share this on my blog--it's kind of personal. And really personal stuff I save for my journal. But when I read it to Wes, he encouraged me to post it. I was a little surprised by his openness, but perhaps one of my readers will find meaning in my thoughts.

As I hear my friends talking about being "done" with having babies and feeling maxed out in their family size, my own feelings to the contrary stand out starkly. Sure, raising a family is hard. Having a large family is exhausting and there are nights I pray for my children to fall asleep a little sooner just so I can breath. But so often I look around and feel our capacity to grow. Wes feels it, too.

How I long to cuddle a newborn skin-to-skin. To feel that special endowment of the spirit we have felt bringing each of our newborns home. I felt it the other day when I brought my friend a meal. She and her family had just welcomed their sixth child into their family and the beautiful spirit in their home--the gentleness, the fullness--was palpable.

But when I think of getting pregnant again, I feel guilty. Pregnancy for our family means losing the watchcare of a mother and companionship of a wife. The hyperemesis that accompanied each of my previous pregnancies made for an incredible burden, both physically and emotionally, on my family. How can we put our family through that again?

Since the first days of our marriage, Wes and I have talked about adoption as a part of our family plan. Lately, we've talked about it a lot more.

But sometimes the magnitude of my flaws as a mother overcome me and I feel unworthy to invite another child into our family. There are times when I see in my mind the disappointed face of a child who discovers who he has for a new mother--someone who sometimes struggles with being tender, who stinks at imaginitive play, and sometimes throws temper tantrums of her own. I don't know how I could bear the regret I might see in those eyes.

And yet I know the best place to raise a child is in a family--even one as far from perfection as our own. 

Getting us all out the door on time sometimes results in tears--and not just from the children. We have a growing problem of bickering among a couple of our children. My fourth child is terrified to wake up without me. Some days there just aren't enough clean plates for dinner and my daughter walks out the door to school in the morning with yesterday's mud on her "cleanest" pair of jeans.

But we kneel in prayer every day as a family.  I read to my children. A LOT. I'm good at that. We eat healthy food. I'm good at that, too. Wes provides well for our family, plays football in the front yard with the boys, and organizes family dance parties in the kitchen. Our children race to the door when they see his car come up the driveway. And they race just as fast across the kitchen to hug and kiss me so early in the morning.

Those are some of the best moments- when I can tell that even my children feel how good it is to be a member of our imperfect family.

For all that is lacking, for all we are working on, there is much we have to give. Financially, it is something we can do. Emotionally, we are all in. But I want it to be right. I've lived enough by the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and sometimes without it, to know that such a major decision is only to be made in the strength of the spirit.

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