the best thing about it all.

After I had Penelope, I had a (presumably) well-intentioned individual tell me that, now that I had a boy and a girl, I was free to stop having children!  I thanked her for her granted permission, then went about my merry way getting pregnant with Finneas.  She could not believe that I would want three whole children - THREE!  Then when I got pregnant with Laurelai, she reprimanded me for having more children than I could reasonably care for.  After all, a child can't possibly receive enough love and attention in a family that size!  It was pure irresponsibility on my part. 

(Luckily, by the time I got pregnant with Rocco, I think she'd just written me off as a nutcase and didn't say anything further.)

While her comments were the most direct I've received, I think that's a common misconception about large family life: that the kids are missing out on love and attention because there is apparently a fixed amount of those things, and the larger the number of kids, the smaller their individual slivers of the pie chart get.

The argument doesn't hold any water.  None whatsoever.  Because the thing is, love requires an object.  It has to be directed at something in order to exist at all.  It's miraculous that way - it isn't fixed; it grows as there are more objects at which it can be directed.  The more kiddos, the more love available to each one.  Children don't get lost in intentional large families; they get seen in ways they wouldn't have gotten to otherwise.  They get to love more, and they get to receive more love.

When Atticus was born, he got to come home to two people who were completely in love with him.  When Callista came home, she came home to seven people who are completely in love with her.  How is that worse?  How is she at a disadvantage?  I see my children shine when they have new objects of their love.  I see sensitive, excited, nurturing parts of them come to the surface.  I see their selflessness and compassion grow.  Just look at how they welcomed her here.

Penelope was head over heels to meet her baby sister; she even asked, "Do we get to keep her forever?!"

Laurelai is constantly asking to hold and cuddle Callista, and is dying to know when she can carry her around independently.  "When I am five, can I hold her not-on-the-couch?  When I am six?"

Finneas goes all quiet and awestruck around her.  He is such a to-the-hilt kid in every regard, but he gets so quiet and contemplative just looking at her.  He also asks to hold her frequently.

Atticus' name means 'fatherlike.'  He is chief of the tribe of the Mini Minivan Voorsts.  And he takes that seriously.  He watches over her and is completely enamored.  I just love the look that comes across his face when he looks at her.

Rocco is Rocco.  I honestly wasn't sure how he'd take to her, but he is GIDDY.  As soon as we walked in the door from the hospital, he started screaming, "BABY! BABY!" and running laps around the living room.  He's often so excited around her that he gets really rough.  (She's already been beaned in the head with an excellently aimed and well-intentioned, but underappreciated whiffle ball.)  But I love seeing the pure, innocent excitement of a brother loving on his new baby.

There is nothing like someone new to love to bring out the best, most loveable parts of the veteran members of the family.  It's why, when people ask me what I like best about large family life, I'm honestly able to answer that, hands down, the best part of it all is how many people there are to love, and how many there are who love you back.  It's a full, full life we live and I'm grateful for it.


todd said...

watching those I love show love for one another is one of God's sweetest gifts.

3 John 4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

the jersk. said...

lordt. if i wasn't already pregnant, i'd be all about shooting out more babies. these pics are just heart melting and if it wasn't weird, i'd hang them all up on my wall. so wonderful the blessings God gives.

Betsy Lira said...

Oh my word!!! I'm feeling the love for her through this page!!! The pure joy in everyone's face as they glance at a little piece of beauty... amazing.

todd said...

i LOVE these pictures.

Christy said...

God's blessed us with 7 children, 6 living (oldest/daughter died when she was 2 from AML leukemia and found out our 2nd child/oldest son was coming 8 days after the Lord called her home). With every baby our children are excited! Our older 2 boys are teenagers now, and although I think there's the whole "we know how that happened" eww factor for them, they are awesome big brothers.
It's sad that the woman you shared does not get that love is not divided, but is multiplied.