That was a question that a young, Catholic mother was not expecting to be asked from an older woman while at our church hall on a Sunday morning in 1992.

I was getting juice and donuts for my first two children: Brendan was 3 and Bridget was just about 1 1/2. I was expecting our 3rd baby and we were THRILLED. I was just starting to show and a well-dressed elderly woman approached me. I thought she was going to offer an extra set of hands…not so much.

“I see you’re expecting again! Did you mean for this to happen?”

I was dumbstruck.

Really? That was definitely not what I was expecting to hear from someone of…shall we say, advanced age. And at a church hall to boot! So of course, I said “YES! We’re so excited!”

Her response? “Oh… I just knew that you already had a boy and a girl…I just assumed you were all done”

HA! She had no idea.

We’ve received a lot of those type of comments over the years, but never minded too much. One came from my own brother. He was convinced I was overpopulating the world (and that was when I was expecting #3!). I told him my intention was to make kids that would eventually change the world and make it a better place. So far, they seem to be off to a good start. My oldest son is happily married and working in a field he loves…sports. (Maybe a grandchild is in my future? We’ll see.) One daughter is a teacher while another works in the pro-life movement in Washington DC.  Yet another son is learning to be a leader in the US Army while studying at The United States Military Academy at West Point. We’re off to a good start…

After baby #4, my obstetrician stopped asking if we had a ‘plan’ for how many kids we wanted. I think he figured us out. He just smiled and said, “I guess you were made for this.”

Don’t misunderstand, having this many kids isn’t for everyone.  It’s a lot of work, that goes without saying. We don’t have a lot of extras and the bills can be stressful at times. We go camping instead of vacationing in Disney. I like to say our summer home is made of nylon. We road trip because flying is out of the question. The kids get to pick their favorite dinner for their birthday because eating at a restaurant doesn’t happen very often. They don’t seem to mind; their friends ask what Christmas is like at our house. I love to watch their faces light up when they tell their stories.

For us, though, it’s all worth it. When we all gather together for the holidays (that’s usually the only time we can all be together since some went and grew up), the stories and the laughter and, of course, the political incorrectness that comes with our crowd far outweighs the sparse bank account.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

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