It was one of those days...I had chicken pot pie bubbling in my oven, fall is in the air...no one sick or fighting and all is well in the world.
I picked Nicholas up from piano and I overheard on the radio,
"new survey states almost all parents are really looking forward to when their kids move out. The main reasons being: more money left over each month, more quiet, and more freedom."
I thought back to the car commercials I watched while watching baseball the night before. They market to the restless heart. Go get away, take an adventure, laugh, experience more and again. It's interesting to listen to because it has nothing to do with the car itself, but catches the viewer with images and notions of what they may be longing for deep inside. Doesn't it always go back to wanting to be happy?
I come home still pondering that bleak statistic, and I notice this...
I know my own theory on a happy life is different, even opposed to what the world says.
But I have experienced the following equation that gives me that conviction:
More children (or even not being able to have children) = more sacrifice = more love = greater happiness.
It's a little secret my mom and dad showed me growing up, having 11 kids, choosing to die to themselves, whatever the number may be. I saw it in their faces, deep wrinkles from suffering and deep wrinkles from laughter. A secret because most people only saw multiple kids going to and fro, most only thought they saw less money, more noise, and no freedom. They were right.
I saw a father with a stack of bills and and tears coming from his eyes as four girls stacked on his back belly laughing caused him to laugh so hard it made him cry. I saw a mother with a mountain of laundry somewhere, dancing and clogging in the kitchen with her husband and kids around her. So yes, there was less money, definitely more noise, and no free nights and weekends. They proved the theory of sacrifice out of love and loving in the moment produces more love.
Now I choose to have more children, choose to live without certain material things, choose to live for them, for Andrew, for God. And deep in my soul that is what is most fulfilling, albeit more difficult sometimes. Sometimes it feels supremely hard most of the time and other times it feels wonderful, and some days, maybe mostly everyday, it's both.
My life's quest is Heaven, it will be my greatest adventure. My car, well, it needs to be a love boat of sorts. It's how the good Lord told me how I will get there.
My favorite quote lately from St. Therese of Lisieux...
"Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them."
That night... music played, bread baked, Julia rocked in her swing sleeping. I could see Nicholas throwing himself a football through my living room window and the girls put on their aprons and helped me bake an apple crisp. Thank you Lord! I will pour love even in this moment, and even in my joy I can still give you glory.
"When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." G.K. Chesterton.
But later that night...I got to bed late and was up with Julia who was chatting with the bullfrogs at 3 am. for 2 hours. Then Avila awoke to use the bathroom at 5 and then Julia got up again to eat at 6. And there were only small minutes of consecutive sleep. That hurt. Oh sweet Jesus there are moments of pain in parenting such as eyes stinging and body aching for deep sleep. Such is life: good days mixed in with painful ones. But in all things I will give thanks and I will love....well, I will be trying at least.