The decision to have another baby is one that all parents face and the reasons are as varied as the colors in the rainbow. “to complete our family” “trying for a boy/girl” “always wanted a big family” and on and on. But I believe that there is an undercurrent to these reasons that influences many parents, whether or not they acknowledge it.
I saw a cute little meme going around Facebook the other day that said “Go play with your brother…that’s basically why we had him.”
Which even I must admit, made me chuckle. I mean, don’t we all have these great notions of our kids playing beautifully together? Of your older daughter running to grab diapers while you change the baby. Of your son mentoring his younger brother in baseball, all the while cheering him on and encouraging him.
YOU DON’T HAVE MORE KIDS BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS GET ALONG
And to be fair, I bet you actually get that sometimes. There are some days, my girls play so well together, I think the Heavens are shining on me just a little brighter.
you know the ones…
when you wonder if your kids are EVER going to get along.
But I’m okay with that…because they are kids…and because while I love that my girls have someone to play with, it’s NOT why I had more than one child.
In fact, the reasons and “why” of families and all their myriad combinations is so personal and unique to every family that there can’t be one finite reason to explain all parents’ rationale for having more than one child.
But, that said, I can tell you one reason that seems to resonate with almost every mom I know…including my own.
SOMETIMES THE “REASON” IS TOO HARD TO ACKNOWLEDGE
And it wasn’t even one I acknowledged at first…it was subtle…one too hard to think about for long.
But I recognized it immediately in my own mom. A few years ago, my grandfather, her dad, passed away. And with his passing, my mom, along with her brother, immediately became orphans.
Which is such a weird concept – an orphan at 60! But it’s true…no matter your age, you are an orphan once you have no parents.
Though my mom and her brother have always been close, once my grandfather passed, I saw their bond deepen.
And it dawned on me – the reason my mom and her brother were even closer reflected what I am certain was a big reason her parents had more than one child…
WHAT IS THE REASON SO MANY OF US HAVE ANOTHER BABY?
Because long after our parents are gone, we will still have each other.
Though it almost feels like the breath is knocked out of me, I too realize that one day, I won’t be here with my girls. Their dad and I will have run life’s course and we won’t be here on earth to guide them.
But our prayer is that they will always have each other. That in the midst of joys and sorrows, Hazel and Hannah will be each other’s rock.
My hope is that these girls will grow up and be best friends. That their children will grow up alongside each other.
Bryan and I pray that we will instill in our girls the notion that family is family whether or not their mom and dad are a part of it.
And I must remind myself to not forget this lesson as well.
When my sister and I disagree, I can almost see the fear well up in my mom’s eyes…the fear that maybe the smallest argument will cause a small rift that over time will widen deeper and separate us.
It’s never happened – my younger sister truly is my best friend. But I get my mom’s fear. I know what she wants for us…because I want the exact same for my girls.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU? FOR ME?
My takeaway is two fold:
1 – Put a little more effort into the relationship you have with your brothers and sisters. Text them out of the blue. Call them to see how things are going. Celebrate birthdays and holidays. Don’t let stupid grudges get in the way of what bonds you. Do it for yourself AND for your parents.
2 – Foster a relationship with your children that brings them closer together instead of pulling them apart. Don’t pit your kids against each other. Don’t say “Why can’t you make better grades like your sister?” Or “Your brother is always so thoughtful…I wish you were the same.”
As parents, we singlehandedly play the biggest role in how our kids relate to each other, react to each other, and love each other.
I remind my girls all the time that they are each other’s best friends.
That no one and nothing should come between that bond.
And one day, hopefully a long, long time from now, the fruits of my labor will pay off when they turn to each other when I’m just out of reach…