The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish. Pope John Paul II
The most beautiful complement I ever received about one of my pregnancies was from a priest. When I told him I was pregnant he said: “How generous of you.” Being open to life is generous. God loves to create and we are his co-creators. Amazing. My priest’s compliment was in direct contrast to the negative comments from most everyone else. I am constantly shocked by how closed most people are to having more than two kids. I also find it sad that when someone who does have a bigger family announces “we’re done.” So that others will know they are being “responsible.” When did we have to start making excuses for family size? When did we quit letting God plan and trusting that he would never give us more children than we could handle? The pervasive attitude in our society is that children are a financial drain. I was at an Autism fundraiser one time and we started going around the tables and introducing ourselves. When I announced I had four children one of the members said: “You’re not having anymore kids, right?” It was as if I were somehow irresponsible for having a larger family since I had a child with a disability. I actually think that Willow is blessed to have brothers and sisters. She doesn’t need “socialization” because there is a constant stream of kids coming and going from our house. Chris and I also get to experience a “typical” family life with our other children. It also teaches my “typical” children to be responsible for others and to respects those with special needs. It is Catholic social teaching in action. Life is always a gift, never a curse. My great Aunt had a daughter with Spina Bifida. This was years ago, when most families were choosing to put their children in homes (now many choose to abort.) My Aunt refused to put her daughter away. They told my Aunt and uncle their daughter would not even live until her fourth birthday. She lived well into her middle years and was an amazing person. She absolutely bloomed in my Aunt’s care. My cousin was severely multi handicapped. My Aunt told me that they decided not to have anymore children so they could take care of my cousin. She did. Beautifully. What she underestimated was how hard it was going to be to take care of her in her older years. Her husband passed away and she did not have other children to help with her care. She was elderly and taking care of her was very, very hard but she did it. Eventually, her daughter died and she is alone now. When Willow was diagnosed she took me aside and told me to have as many children as I could. That she thought she was doing the right thing. Looking back, it would have been better for her to have siblings. That was the voice of experience talking and I listened. It truly was one of the best pieces of advice anyone has ever given me. I always tell people that Chris and I are so lucky because we will never be empty nesters. Some days are challenging but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Today’s Prayer: Lord, please help families to embrace the gift of the Church’s teachings on life and NFP. Help us to have the faith and understanding that you will never forsake us. Help me to remain open to life and your will. Amen.