It's a wonderful number. It gets us the big table in a restaurant, two kids each when we drive separately, perfectly suited to half a dozen of anything. But then... there's that squishing into a hotel room, who gets to go with Daddy here or with Mommy there. Then there's the comments from people in the grocery store, with just a hint of judgment: "My, my, you've got your hands full!" or "Is this your daycare?"
Well, yes, but I don't get paid :)
More often than not, though, passersby marvel at our small crew and respond with amusement. Not that it matters. You see, the more children you have and the more you are together, the easier it all seems. Not that our days go by without a hitch, quite the contrary! We're still sorting out whether our latest disciplinary action took effect, or if we should have allowed that movie, or when is the "right" time to talk about how babies are made. It's a journey and sometimes a tough one, but the ride is so worth it! I praise God for each of our little people who teach us daily about who God is, about who we could be if we trusted enough to let Him handle things, about the fact that these small individuals are on loan to us and we'd better take it all seriously.
Tonight I was repairing one of my children's toys and she was begging me to watch her dance. Without turning toward her, I impatiently retorted, "Can't you see I'm fixing something for you?", like she needed to be thanking me and not be selfish enough to ask anything more of me. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit gave me that little tug, as He often does, and I swung around to catch my girl in a beautifully awkward somersault... and I cheered for her... just in time to not close down a small piece of her heart. I'm learning.
So, even though we fail, we're pretty thankful that God, in His mercy, allows us to keep these kiddos. He never condemns, only corrects. When I feel guilt over my parenting, I know it's not from Him. It's a miracle that we get to wake up and do it all over again... perhaps even a little better today, with His strength.
And as for me and this party of six, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15--paraphrased :)