Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Family Planning and Finding Contentment

 I've been thinking some lately about our family situation...size...dynamic.

Here's the low down:
- Annie was a total, unexpected, for a bit terrifying, surprise.
- Graves was planned down to the minute. We kicked it around a bit, but I think we were both always inclined to the spacing we ended up with.
- Our future kid(s?) are more ambiguous. We want at least one more. At this point, we're planning to adopt our next. But the timing is unclear. It's also our intention for a baby/child not to arrive before we leave for New York City (like this time next year- OH MY WORD).

With all that said, I wanted to share how my heart has changed all this. I was in a hard place with all this (okay, point three) around this time last year. Graves was only six months old, but it made me sad to think he'd be our last baby for a good while. I was just so conflicted.

Mentally, I knew this is what we wanted. It might seem like NYC is Peyton's dream alone, and NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, it started out that way. But it's grown (and continues to grow) into a shared dream. There was a time when I wanted to do it almost exclusively for my husband (I say almost, maybe 5% of me thought an adventure sounded fun). Last Winter was not that time. I was excited about New York. It wasn't that. And I knew in my head, I did not really want to attempt New York with more than two kids and/or with an infant or young toddler. We would probably do it, if it came to it, but it was not my desire nor was it Peyton's.

I get that it seems weird to plan your family around a year long adventure/project/"experience". I totally get that. At times it seems weird to me. But in the end I can't be any more clear (with myself and others) than what I've said all along: I am LIVING MY DREAM staying home with these children, spending most of my waking hours with them, and now starting our homeschool journey. How dare I deny Peyton a year (or so...ahem) he so desperately wants in a city he so passionately loves?

All that to say, I was in sort of a bad place with the size of our family last year. I'd tell myself I had a peace about it and to a certain extent, I think I believed I did. On the other hand, I realize that wasn't really the reality of my feelings. I was just so conflicted. Which is weird because I remember when Ann Peyton was a baby trying to figure out how to "spread out" our family so I could do this longer. Not because I wanted to stay home indefinitely, but because I just love the baby stages and realized very early how fleeting it is. I remember legitimately discussing with Peyton the option of returning to teaching for a bit when the first "set" of kids (Ann Peyton and the still to be conceived Graves) were in preschool and teaching a few years and then starting over. So weird, but I wanted that badly to make this (what I'm doing now) last.

So WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED? I think I just started playing the comparison game. I saw lots of babies around me. There were some newly announced pregnancies in all different areas of my social sphere, but it was also the newborns that seemed to be popping up in blog posts, church, and oh, you know, Target. I got some baby fever I guess. Which is a weird sensation when one of your children is still very much a baby. I knew I wasn't ready for another one, but I didn't want that option closed to me. And it manifested itself in a sadness and hurt and uncomfortable lack of contentment.

But I'm at a new place, friends, and I'm so thankful. I'm not sure what happened. I know I asked the Lord to change my heart a few times in moments of intense longing, but it wasn't a constant plea (like I said, I wasn't really all that aware of it).

I knew when I felt it this Summer that my heart had changed, but lately, there have just been small confirmations that our journey is perfect for us and just the way it should be. The biggest indicator lately has been Ann Peyton starting school and the time that's given me to focus exclusively on Graves. There were a couple of mornings back in the Fall when Peyton had stuff going on and it was just the two of us and they were near perfect. Not that there aren't amazing, take my breath away, beautiful moments watching the kids play together or when the four of us interact. But there was something so special in being able to give myself to Graves for a few hours the way I gave myself to Annie every day for twenty four months. It was intensely meaningful for me to have that. And I knew if there were another little person involved, I wouldn't have.

There is a place in mine and Peyton's hearts for that third baby and maybe more and sometimes I see a child (most recently a gorgeous little dark skinned girl the age of Annie) that turns my heart toward him or her. But these days it's not with any feeling of sadness, only great anticipation for this future reality coupled with intense joy in our current one.  

I hope it goes without saying that I don't think our family set-up/future set-up is some sort of ideal. Hardly. There are tons of benefits with stair-stepping all your kids, like I so strongly desired to do last Winter. Obviously, there are plenty of pros and plenty of cons with any family dynamic. I'm just thankful to be at a place where I can focus on the pros of our current situation and appreciate all the blessings from the Lord that come with it and let the cons find space in a season past.

1 comment:

Elle said...

This may seem weird coming from a single college student but I think about this all the time. I've known for a LONG time that I wanted to have babies and a lot of them. I babysit all the time and I know that's not even the same to being a parent, but sometimes I can't imagine having children really close together. I know that if it were to happen that of course we would love them and wouldn't be able to imagine our lives any other way but it's just hard to imagine. I don't know... Like I said, I'm still a baby myself (just turned 20) and I'm totally enjoying my time in college but sometimes I itch to become married and stay at home with my kids. :)