Thursday, February 3, 2011

Even This

Back when I was pregnant for the second time, I read an article on how to break it to your existing child that a new kid was on the way.  There was the example of how "Not" to do this, namely using an example of a wife.  "Please be nice to the replacement wife.  I'm sure you'll be best of friends in no time."  We thought this very amusing and dubbed our first daughter "The Replacement baby."  Every child since has received the same nickname.  "Hey kids!  Be good because the Replacement baby is under way!" Oddly enough with that introduction, transitions have not always been smooth.

For the first two weeks after she was born, our son was perfect.  Then one day, he came to the top of the stairs and just wept.  It was then he knew, this was a permanent addition and that his heart was being both broken and grown by the experience.  A  quick road trip with Dad for pancakes helped ease the blow. 

We gave the oldest two fish when their sister was born so she was cool because  she came with pets. Over the years we tried everything.  Three times it was a bigger car, twice it was a move to a bigger place. But even well placed bribes didn't always blurt the trauma of the replacement baby.  When I had our sixth child, the fifth decided our piano had too few sharps and flats so she colored in a few keys.  Announcing we were expecting our seventh, our third's immediate response was "Oh no!"  One child (who shall not be outed), in one week tried pouring juice independently and broke her bed via repeated jumping. One was an absolute angel until the newbie showed up.  Then, he was otherwise; he's still working on forgiving us for that one. 

We've tried gifts from the younger siblings, reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Every older child's fantasy of what Mom and Dad should do with the interloper who eats my food, breaks my things and takes over), and given special one on one time and tried to make each child know that they are still loved infinitely. Sometimes I use family lore;  one of my uncles asked his father, which of his nine children did he love the best.  He talked about how he lost his thumb and held up his hands.  "You see I have 9 fingers," he said, "I love and need them all."

We have more people to love, we have more love to give. The funny thing about love is it is never halved by the addition of a person, it is always increased.     For some of the older ones who struggle, we use theology to make the point.  Jesus loved his twelve, how can we not love ten?

It just simply is the way God made all of  us originally, and the way we are called to be though we all often miss the mark.  As to the work/stress/chores/schedule/needs for this many, I just keep telling myself, with God, all things are possible...even this.


Anonymous said...

You will never truly win. I'm six and a half years older than my only sibling. After almost 56 years I still haven't totally forgiven him. I was perfectly content being an only. When he was still crib bound I used to pinch him to make him scream. That was so Mother would take him back where he came from :)


MightyMom said...

Best children's sermon I've ever seen. subject God's love. (insert a parent's love) necessary items 1 piece of paper...uh, you'd better get a BIG poster... and a pair of scissors.

see? 4 corners. each corner represents a portion of love. Now, cut a corner off and hand to someone....suddenly, magically, Divinely, they have THREE corners, and yet, you're left with, not 4, but FIVE!! ..... cut another corner off and hand to another person. Now you've given away 2 corners to 2 people...yet, each reciepient has THREE.....and YOU have SIX!!! continue.
Love is like corners. The more you give, the more you have to give!

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