After I read this post about why not to have kids, it got me thinking okay, now I know some of the reasons why not to have kids. And then that thought was followed by, really then, why have kids? It is a valid question, after all. A rather important one, & here are some of my thoughts on the matter.
I am confident I have the coolest family in the world.
(And for the record, all these beautiful people, are in fact, my family. I know, gorgeous, right?)
I have to remind myself that having 6 siblings is not “normal,” & that having 27 nieces & nephews, 60+ cousins, 16 brother & sister-in-laws is also not normal.
It’s not normal, yes, & it’s also, pretty (freakin’) amazing.
A few things family has taught me:
1) There are all sorts of personalities in this world.
Sometimes those personalities are loud, annoying, obnoxious, fun, calm, thoughtful, creative, giving, nurturing, ambitious. (Notice how quiet was not listed here. That attribute doesn’t exist in my family).
My job is to enjoy, to love, & get along, best I can, despite all of these different personalities.
2) Each individual is an individual.
Just because we come from the same family doesn’t mean we’re anything alike.
That said, it’s remarkable how many traits I share with my siblings, parents, nieces & nephews.
3) Being a part of a family gives a sense of belonging.
It’s much more than membership to a club, or belonging to an organization. We’re tied by blood, yes. But it’s greater than that. We share roots, we share traits. We’re brother & sister & those ties cannot be quantified.
In a family, the whole is much greater than the sum of it’s parts. There’s strength, comfort, in that.
4) The family is a microcosm of society.
It’s the training ground for life. You learn how to share, to love, to give selflessly. To forgive when it’s hard, to know the joy of self-less giving, to know what patience & compassion mean.
No one will love & care for me like my family. No one will have my back like my family. We don’t desert because things are inconvenient or don’t fit in with “our plan.” We support each other despite differences.
6) When I need to laugh, cry, or vent, I know I can call my sisters.
Thank heavens for sisters.
7) When I need to know that people are looking out for me, I call my brothers.
Creating a family is often messy. There can be heartbreak, disappointment & broken promises. Personalities clash, there are arguments, & not everything’s rosy. There are health problems, aging, mistakes & regrets.
It’s the rough patches, the quirks, the bumps in the road, forgiveness & compassion, that make being a part of family a beautiful, wonderful thing.
9) There is no end to love, or the capacity to love.
With each addition to family, your heart expands in a way you thought not possible.
10) There is no replacement for family.
Career success, travels (no matter how exotic or far flung), worldly accolades, time alone, hobbies–none of these can replace the joy, the learning, the growth, that takes place in a family.
We will never be “so advanced” as a society that we no longer need family.
Back to the original question: why have kids?
For me, the choice is uncomplicated.
I’m in a position, blessed with a husband whom I love & respect (& who reciprocates those feelings), & we want to spend our lives together creating our own family. We believe life is about relationships, particularly familial ones.
We are willing to do whatever it takes to create a warm, intellectually challenging, spiritually enriching home. There have been sacrifices, there will be many more. But we’re up for it. It’s exciting to us & we love the prospect of being a part, a witness to the growing up experiences of some really remarkable individuals (our children).
I realize not everyone can, or wants to have kids. But we can. We want to. That’s why.
Believe me, I realize I’m exceptionally blessed to have such positive relationships with my family. I understand there are a lot of bad, hurtful, & tragic things that go on in families. My heart goes out to those individuals in pain, who have been hurt terribly by people who should have protected & cared for them.
But. I don’t think happiness in family life is reserved for the “lucky ones.”
There are always fresh starts, new beginnings.
There is always hope, & love, is always a choice.
What makes family life hard/joyful/amazing for you?
Why do you think it’s worth it to invest in family relationships?
If you have kids, why did you decide to have kids?
P.S. There was some concern over my new, revised grocery budget. Just to be clear, I am not cutting out fruits & vegetables out of our diets! Please read my responses to your comments for more details. And I love you all, btw. Did you know that? I’m just amazed at your willingness to share, to ask questions, to be open & honest. When I read your comments I say to myself: “THIS, this is why I blog.” You’re the reason, dearest. So thank you for reading & contributing. & rest assured, we will be eating our veggies 🙂
P.P.S. Sorry about the absentee MM post this week! I’m afraid things won’t be quite normal around here for awhile. I’m going to D.C. for a little love affair with the husband next week, then the week after that we’re packing up & driving to San Antonio. Then it’s finding a place to live, moving in, Christmas, & of course, trying to sneak in as much Joseph time as possible. I think things may not be regular & normal around here until after the new year. But don’t worry, I’m much too fond of you to neglect this old blog for long, so I will be popping in as often as I can during this time of upheaval & exciting transition.
P.P.P.S. It’s been brought to my attention that I’ve been committing a rather unforgivable typographical error all these years in double spacing between sentences. (Thanks Jeff Goins.) It may take awhile, but I am trying to mend my ways.