Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I am a very firm believer that every single child you are given is a gift and ought to be celebrated as such, whether it is your first or your fiftieth (though I highly doubt the latter would happen anytime soon! hehe). I despise the fact that people are acknowledged with a big hoopla for Baby #1 and as the children progress, there is less and less excitement involved.
Case in Point:
For Baby #1, the grandparents wait expectantly in the waiting room of the hospital as you work to push the little sucker out.
For Baby #2, they come to visit that night.
For Baby #3, they'll stop by the next day.
And usually, it stops there. After all, the US average of children per household is only 2.4
For Baby #1, you get dozens of cards and insist upon keeping every single one.
Baby #2, you get about half.
Baby #3, you get one and you promptly throw away ALL the saved cards from Baby #1, so that Baby #3 doesn't grow up feeling like s/he wasn't welcome.
For Baby #1~ you get a shower brimful of gifts and smiles.
For Baby #2-if you are lucky AND you find out you are having a different gender, you get another one.
For Baby #3- Fat chance, sucker!
For Baby #1~ when you reveal you are pregnant, you share the news with the 'grandparents' in clever fun ways and they joyously hug and kiss you and share in your excitement and the next nine months you are answering all sorts of questions and getting all sorts of advice.
For Baby #2~ You get smiles as people find out and feigned "congratulations!" and also some joking: "Don't you know how that happens?"
For Baby #3~ You dread telling them and dread even more the responses given. ( I mailed the news...)
And that is just with THREE children.
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I hereby declare: I despise this line of thinking and will single-handedly take on the world to reveal it for what it really is. A shame and a pity.
Now, I realize that after you have several children, you don't NEED to start from scratch to clothe your baby, you can do without the wipes warmer, and you've long since learned to bath a baby in the sink instead of a plastic contraption that seems only to waste space.
There is NO person on earth, however, that doesn't appreciate a time to celebrate a new life-even in a simple way. Cards with well-wishes are VERY appreciated with ANY baby. Diaper showers. Book showers. Handmade with Love showers. Or just a luncheon to get together and gush about the coming (or newly born baby). All these things not only make the MOTHER feel loved and happy, but it conveys the great and wonderful message of children being WANTED and ANTICIPATED.
This particular baby, Baby Ethan, is the eleventh child in the family-but no less loved and cared for than any others. No less sweet. No less precious. His teeny toes are no less magnificent, his baby smell no less endearing.
And it made me sad that He wasn't going to be celebrated. So I decided to change that.
And I did it by inviting only those that WANTED to celebrate. It was very informal. No balloons. No banners. No blue and white streamers hung from the ceiling. Just a dozen girlies enjoying time together and sharing in the joy of a new birth. I don't think the absent mounds of gifts made it any less special to Greta. It was a joy to see Ethan. It was a joy to see the sparkle in Greta's eyes and watch the older sisters handly him with love and care.
It was a joy to see a Mother who realizes the great riches she has been given and who has been grateful to receive them, despite the cost. (and I don't mean financially.)
We Christians ought to really evaluate how we perceive large families. Are we helping to encourage them or are we making them feel cast out? Are we cherishing LIFE and the gifts of life- or are we holding hands with the world and adopting their views of 2.4 children???
Are we raising eyebrows in gossip or the sides of our mouth in smiles?
Because I know what we OUGHT to be doing...
I am not saying we ought to haul off and host baby showers for everyone we know. Not at all. It needn't be as elaborate as all that. Writing a card, making a meal, giving a gift, taking the time to TALK and gush and LISTEN to the new parents, giving them flowers, having your children make cards...none of these things take any effort at all. But the receiving of such things, especially on babies a bit further on down the line, will have a tremendous impact.
** Here is a link to a sermon message given by a Southern Baptist Preacher called Voddie Baucham. It speaks rather poignantly about some of what I wrote above... I am not Southern Baptist, I am not even Baptist. But I think it foolish to disregard a biblically sound message only because of the voice it is carried by. If you are interested, take a listen.