We found out this week that friends of ours are expecting their fifth (that's right, fifth) child. They already have 4 boys under the age of 7, including a set of twins. When we heard they were expecting, our first thoughts were, "Oh, they'll definitely be looking to move, then." They live in a little 3 bedroom town house, with the other two bedrooms being just about big enough for a set of bunk beds and a dresser. Turns out, they're planning to stay right where they are. We were flabbergasted. (Fantastic word, btw, flabbergasted.)
And then we were a little convicted.
You see, when we talk about how many kids we want, most of the time I throw around numbers like "twelve" and "sixteen" just for the shock value (although I do want a bunch), and Adrian counters with numbers like "two" and "three", citing his less-than-extravagant teachers' salary. We usually settle on a wait-and-see mentality, agreeing to have as many children as we can afford.
But after talking with our friends, I have a whole new understanding of the word "afford". This couple is willing to sacrifice just about anything, it seems, in order to grow their family. They'll give up not only luxuries, but what some people would consider necessities (like a bedroom for 4 that doesn't involve trundle beds) for the sake of being able to have as many children as they feel God has for them. No, their children won't have all the latest toys. They probably won't even have many new clothes (she's really good at shopping Goodwill). Their meals are simple, their vehicles used. But they're happy. Incredibly, deliriously happy.
I want that. I want to fill this house with happy, loud voices. I want to tell my MSC* that they sound like elephants coming down the stairs. I want to raise, train, teach, shape, mold, discipline, and cherish.
Now all I need is another one on the way (don't get excited; it hasn't happened yet).
*many small children, see also: MckMama