Friday, May 15, 2015

An Ode To Small Families

Most of the time, here on my blog, you read my words in support of large families.  How having children brings positive change to the parents.  How we should be congratulating pregnant mothers who already have lots of little ones.  The list goes on.  (Though I do feel like four kids barely qualifies as a big family, but that's definitely how we get treated!)

It's true: I like big families.  I like the community that they build around themselves.  I like the dedication and patience that the parents show in their expressions.  I like how big families learn to prioritize what's truly important to them, because they just don't have time to waste.

But guess what?  I like small families, too!  (I'm talking two kids or less.)  I like how the siblings and the parents know each other and are often best friends.  I like the amount of one-on-one time that parents are able to give to their children.  I'm very thankful for the parents who are able to be more involved at my kids' school than I am.

(By the way, the things in those lists are total generalizations and aren't always mutually exclusive.  Don't get testy.)  ;)

Here's my point: I have realized lately that I owe a great deal of my sanity to small families (and single ladies/empty-nesters).  These are the people who are willing to babysit all of my children at once.  They have room in their car for one (or two) more kids.  They are willing to invite us over for dinner because the idea of feeding our family in addition to their own doesn't overwhelm them.  And so many other things.  I could learn a few things from them.

Here are a few of my greatest small-family blessings, and this is by no means all-inclusive:

My friend Melia, who is going to school carpool with us next year.  Who watches my little girls so I can be involved at school.  Who sits and chats with me at swimming lessons.

My friend Amy H., whose family braves eating out with us occasionally after church on Sundays.  Who babysits the other three when I have to take one to the doctor.  Who has had "dessert dates" with me for years, which has been way more beneficial than therapy.  :)

My friend Cynthia, who has been my last-minute helper for the last year, and who will be alternating babysitting once a week with me this summer so we can have some alone time.

My sister Carrie.  She and her husband take on a lot of cooking and cleaning at family holidays while I just try to make sure my kids stay alive!

Jo P. and Martha K., who babysit for us for no charge (hallelujah!).

So, to all my small family friends: thank you.  Thank you for being the village behind raising my children!  And to all my large family friends: thank you.  Thank you for your support, and for the time that you spend raising your family.  I guess we're all, all right.  :)