This morning I was trying to enjoy a few extra minutes of sleep when my little curly-headed 5-year-old snuggled close. “How did I get so lucky and have such a cute daughter?” I asked. She removed her thumb from her mouth long enough to say, “God gave me to you.” I held her close. Yes, he did.
When Mike and I were dating I didn’t want children. Both of us come from large families (I’m the oldest of six, he’s the third of twelve). One of the first questions I asked him very early in our relationship was if he wanted a big family. I tried to make the question sound casual, but I really needed to know. “Because if the answer is yes, I am gone before dessert, dude.” Fortunately, he wasn’t interested in excessive procreation. But he did want kids. Which would have been fine, except for one thing: I didn’t. I spent a significant amount of time in my teenage years and early twenties raising my younger siblings while our family was in crises mode after the breakup of my parents’ marriage. I felt like I had already raised kids and was not interested in round two. He understood and respected my decision but asked that we revisit it after we had been married a year. Our one year anniversary rolled around and we decided to wait another year so I could finish school. We didn’t realize at the time that I was already several weeks pregnant with Jackson. He was our big surprise.
Jackson will turn 7 soon. I now consider having children as being one of the greatest sources of growth and happiness in my life. I grew up in a subculture of homeschooling where it was heavily emphasized that women were to have as many children as nature would permit (think the Duggars). It never resonated with me though as I looked around and saw so many extremely tired, frazzled moms. I always felt I was meant for more than being a mom. For some people being a mom was the big dream and for them being a mom is enough. And that is fine. But for some of us it was not the dream, but it has been a pleasant surprise. Mothering may not be as easy as I would like, but I would not trade it for anything. I never thought I would be a mother of three, but I am thankful God gave them to me.