Jay and I are pleased to announce that we will be adding a new crew member at the end of April/beginning of May 2011. That’s right. A very small, but significant, crew member.
People with whom we share this news often have interesting reactions.. I wish I could say that it is all congratulatory, but, sadly, that is not the case. I have no idea if you are frowning right now as you read this, or laughing your socks off. If you know our family personally, I would like to think that you are saying, “hey, they have four cute, smart, mostly well-behaved children—more power to ‘em!” Some people actually have the audacity to ask us if we know what causes this condition. To those of you who might wonder, we say, “Yes, and we’re very good at it.” (That smart response I owe to my sister-in-law who just gave birth to a very beautiful baby girl—the sixth little one in her family.)
The things that we say are often put to the test. This keeps us from becoming hypocritical. A good example of this is, “We believe that children are a blessing, not a burden.” Of course, we do not deny that parenting is the hardest job entrusted to humanity, or that it presents curious and difficult challenges (like, “how do we get that lego out of his nostril?”) We simply believe that child-bearing and hand-rearing are the most significant and lasting contributions we can make here on earth. If we do a good job, the legacy we leave may last generations after we are gone. Spiritually speaking, it is a job that has eternal value.
Because we believe this so strongly, we made a decision awhile ago not to do anything permanent to prevent children. That’s a tough one, since the boat was built comfortably for eight, and we can’t seem to swear off the activity that causes babies. We have gotten pretty good at timing, but it seems that one always seems to slip through the lines of defense. And thank goodness!!! If we had had our selfish way about things, we would have two boys, perfectly spaced. And that’s it. And how can we even imagine a life without Sarah? Or Sam, who always brightens our day?
We don’t regret a moment of the roller coaster ride of pregnancy and parenting that have been our life for the last ten years. (Well, maybe a few moments, but on the whole, we wouldn’t trade it for another life.) Were they all planned? Of course! But not by us. We timed the first child and the others just showed up at the right time. And this is yet another case where I would say that God’s plan is better than mine.
So, as we contemplate trying to cruise for a few months before we need to settle down to prepare for a new baby, and as we begin to make all the needed adjustments to our plans, we recognize that this is a gift. We don’t know what this person will add to our family, but as we have seen time and time (and time) again, it will be something wonderful. Challenging, of course, but wonderful all the same. A guaranteed adventure.
And to add some extra spice to the adventure, we are thinking about heading to Panama in time for the blessed event, to give the child citizenship in that country. We’re having trouble figuring out what that will be like (since I really like to go the non-medical route), so if anyone out there has a tip or a lead or a good birth story about natural childbirth or midwives in Panama, please email us! Plan A is to play it safe and go back to Tampa Bay, but Panama is not off the table. Whatever happens, it will certainly make a good story someday.