Ever since we found out we were pregnant with our 3rd child we've had friends, family and strangers asking how we do it. It, I assume, is how are we not spending all day crying while living in a small cardboard box eating sunflowers for every meal. Or something less dramatic. For some people it is a financial question, for others a time management issue, for others it's a question of how we propose (and I'd like to think manage) to raise relatively well adjusted children. My rote answer has become "By the grace of God". And I really do mean it. There have been times that I've been ready to pack up my meagre, chewed, drooled on, or broken possessions to book into the local looney bin until the youngest is at school. In those times when I most want to give up and give in something happens to lift me back up.
This year has been a great example through and through. We've made some amazing new friends, been given the gift of slowly taking over my parents' mortgage, and my husband got a new job which fulfills his need for creativity, perseverance and respect. Nothing is ever perfect (try moving while hugely pregnant!) but everything is always beyond my hopes and dreams. Just yesterday I was lamenting (okay, okay, complaining obnoxiously) that I didn't want to cook because I was tired and couldn't think of a thing to make. In waltzed our new friends who sneakily dropped off a delicious casserole on our doorstep while we were resting. I could have cried. Alright, I did because I was so overwhelmed and touched. Bonus: The kids loved it. They ate pretty much every bite and laughed through the meal. If that's not the grace of God I don't know what is!
I have also been blessed with a husband who will work himself ragged all day (even working overtime to bring in a little more money when he can), come home and be super Daddy for hours and who has stood by me through 5 years of marriage that has seen 4 babies, 6 moves, 3 vehicles, ample poor health, and more love than I would have hoped for in 50 years. I have not been a perfect wife, but I know that regardless of how crazy life gets we keep clinging to each other and saying our prayers of thanks for all of it. 3 kids and one due any day has made our lives busy. Beyond busy. Yet I wouldn't change a thing. He knows as well if not better than I do most days how lucky we are. We have never suffered a loss of a child, never wanted for food, and have never been homeless. He has no problem telling me that it's not because of our hard work, although that helps. We have been blessed by God with people who will catch us no matter how crazy our leap of faith. We also have each other which makes even the leanest times seem full of riches.
When people imply we got ourselves into this mess by not spacing our children I can't help but wonder how different our life would be. Which child would we space out? Our daughter who single-handedly calmed the one year old by singing "Hey Jude" to him? Our oldest boy who loves to sneak up on me just to give me a hug and say "I love you"? Our one year-old boy who has the biggest, silliest smile you've ever seen? Or maybe this un-named, un-seen baby, all limbs moving right now, who we've been waiting (impatiently!) to meet for over 9 months? All I see when I try to imagine how different my life would be is a series of aching gaps where love given and most of all received should be.
So, if you really want to know how we do it, I can show your our budget, tell you about our routine, our values, and all the support we have all around us. All of that would be true and I'm forever grateful that life is working out for our good. I will also always say "by the grace of God" because without that support nothing else would matter.