My mother very rarely went to the doctor's due to an illness. If mom had a houseful of sick children, our family practitioner, who was also a dear, family friend, would make house calls. He and his wife, Pat, were Godparents to a handful of us and had 13 children of their own.
Well, when Mom did take a walk down to the doctor's office, we knew that something might be up...like...a bun in the oven - type of up! So we'd watch.
During 'The Watch', we'd take turns, rotating every so often because the anticipation was just too much to bare for one person.
Then someone would spot her rounding the corner, which was about three houses down from our location...and they'd yell out, "Here she comes!" We'd scramble to the window and squint, trying to catch a glimpse of her face. And if she was crying?....Eureka! She was pregnant, again!
We would be clapping our hands, jumping up and down, placing bets on the sex, picking out names, and try to conceal our excitement before she walked into the house. I mean, we had to give her a break.
The poor woman, receiving her news and trying to absorb it was enough for one person. Having to do it and then walk into the house looking at all those pairs of eyes looking right back at her? Good grief. No wonder why she cried for the next 24 hours or so.
Remind you, those were the days before modern technology.
And when her shock wore off, our house was filled with utter joy and anticipation beyond anything that I've ever known. (That is, until I carried my first child full term.)
So where am I going with all of this?
Well, a couple of weeks back, Maggie wrote about a very interesting topic ...What's Wrong With Wanting a Big Family?
To sum it up real quick here, her post talks about society's need to attack the natural want of having a big family. And it got me thinking...
The idea that big families are looked down upon isn't anything new.
It has been around for awhile. My mom and dad shared stories with us...attacks on them...because they had a big family.
The big difference is that with today's state of moral decay, society has no qualms about stating their unsolicited, rude and sometimes crude comments ... in front of your kids.
I really admire parents of large families. I admire the fact that they remain open to God's plan for them.
And as I type this, I am keenly aware and completely sensitive to the fact that God has different "family size" plans for each of us. I am one of those people.
It is how we respond to Him and these plans that matters; allows us to grow in faith.
(Minus 2 in-laws)
I never thought or felt strange for being one of nine. (Mom lost three others along the way.) It was completely the opposite. Growing up the way I did, it was life. We never thought about. We never questioned it. It's what it was. And if anyone did say something negative, it wasn't in front of us.
As young adults entering parenthood ourselves, we'd ask the same question again and again, "Dad, how did you feel about each pregnancy?" With his glasses in his teeth, he'd lower the newspaper he was reading, and nonchalantly he'd say, "....it is all God's plan. Can't worry about it now." Back to his newspaper he'd go.
Dad went off to work each day...NEVER EVER complaining about his life in any way, shape or form.
By the way, he wasn't a wealthy pharmacist in a monetary sense. These were the pre-mall, pre-mega pharmacy chain days. Many times he'd put up with the hole in his shoe in order for some child of his to have a new pair.
After Dad died, Mom told us how even his closest, Catholic friends would come down on him about the size of his family. They thought he was a foolish pharmacist by saying, "...come on, Joe. You work with the stuff that can prevent it."
Oh! He died very rich; rich in spirit and faith. I want that death....a peaceful death that we all pray for. One surrounded by my family, being lifted up in prayer, holding my hand as you prepare to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You cannot get any richer than that!
(That picture was taken 9 years ago. We were trying to recreate the picture from here...plus two more kids.)
(Minus Dad and one new grandbaby. Taken in 2008, first time we all were together since Dad passed away two years earlier. The little man in front is a dear family friend, Brother George, OSB.)
How sad to think that one or more of the souls in any of the pictures above should not be alive according to a large proportion of today's society. I cannot imagine one of my siblings never having existed...nor their children.
How grateful David and I are that our parents embraced their faith and accepted the path that God called for them in particular!