#4

Jeff and I had what you might call a tumultuous dating relationship.  Over the course of four or five months,  I think we broke up and got back together three or four times.  One of those breakups may or may not have been over whether we would have children if we got married.  Jeff was firmly in the family camp; I was, to be generous, a leery bystander.  I was 27, really loved my independence, and knew from first hand experience how much work kids were.  My youngest sister was born when I was 13.   She turned 5 the fall I left for college.  So there was no illusion on my part on how much work babies, toddlers, preschoolers are.  I also knew if I had kids, I just couldn’t see sending them off to daycare.  So I knew life as I knew it… carefree, spur-of-the-moment… one might say self centered… would be over.

After the last break up and before the final get-back-together, Jeff had a whole list of questions he asked me.  A printed list.  It was like a job interview.  Seriously.  A girlfriend job interview.  The kid question was on the list.

“Well, I’m either having no kids or I want a whole bunch… like five or something.  If you’re going to have kids, you might as well have a team of them.”

That was my answer.

I’m not sure Jeff heard the whole answer.  I think he heard… “Yes, kids.  How about two.”  Because for some reason Jeff thought we would/should only have two kids.  Probably because he thought two was enough… just like he thought I would do laundry every week… or that I would pack my suitcase earlier than two hours before departure…there may have been some plugged ears during our premarital counseling…

Anyway.

Here’s the deal.  I come from a big family.  I thought it was a normal family, but as it turns out, no… not really normal.  Both my parents come from big families.  I have a total of 13 uncles, 2 aunts, and something like 37 (first) cousins.  This is not counting my aunts’ and uncles’ spouses or my cousins’ spouses.  This is only full on blood relatives.  And it’s a blast.  I love the chaos and noise and laughter and EVERYTHING when our family gets together.  There’s kids tumbling all over, no room to sit, it’s awesome.  Two kids just didn’t seem like enough chaos to make a fun family in my opinion.

So here we are, 8 years into marriage and so far three kiddos have arrived.  Every single one of them planned and sent by the Good Lord himself.  The reality is, Jeff and I have not “planned” the arrival of any of our kids.  All three have come at what seemed like really inconvenient times, or in Oakley’s case… very delayed.  But I’ve loved the surprise of not planning any of them and the truth is, I don’t want to be in control.  I want every single blessing God wants to send me, whether that’s in the form of children, unexpected friendships, little daily surprises, I want it all.  And if I’m the one planning out life, well, I think I miss out sometimes.

Which brings me to the point of this whole post.  You can’t have a team of three, you’ve got to have at least four.  God must have really taken me seriously when I told Jeff I wanted a team because SURPRISE! our number 4 is on their way.  We’ll now be set up for badminton, doubles ping pong, maxed out all players for board games, etc.  Everyone will have a buddy.  Go big or go home, right??

Congratulations for reading this all the way to the end.  There should be a little confetti or something in celebration.

Let the wonderful chaos continue.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Ava is praying for a sister (so she won’t have to be alone in the bath tub anymore.)  Oakley says if it’s a boy, he’s calling it Clifford.  And if it’s a girl, he’s calling her Clifford.  Ava suggested names were Elizabeth or Truman.  I don’t think any kids will be naming this baby.

PS: Babe is due to arrive late September 2015.  Prayers appreciated.  The truth is, Ava’s medical stuff has scarred me a bit and I have a lot of fear surrounding my heart concerning my children.  I don’t want to go through this whole pregnancy with fear hanging on me that something is wrong, will go wrong, could be wrong.

And, as much as I love the chaos, the thought of taking care of four kids is a little overwhelming.  That’s a lot of kids to wrangle and keep track of… even though I’m what you may consider a “free range parent”.  Yikes.  I’m hoping a big payoff in 20 years!