Each new child brings much more than another body into the home. A new child means an addition (and shift) in relationships. Welcoming a new baby into our family will mean welcoming seven new two-person relationships as well as a myriad of other multi-person relationships. It is a beautiful thing to watch. I have so enjoyed seeing our family dynamics shift over the last two years as Bethany has integrated herself into our life. There is such wonder and beauty in watching how a new little one fits into the picture. I love seeing the relationships grow and develop. I love seeing the love the kids have for one another and the personalities that emerge as individuals and as a group. I have said it many times: my very favorite part of parenting is watching (and intentionally developing) sibling relationships. It is beautiful. It is work. It is so, so worth it.
When we announced that we were expecting number six, someone commented about "that poor youngest kid who will always get picked on." As a non-confrontational person, I usually just bite my tongue and let people think what they would like. In this instance, however, the mama bear in me came out and I tried to calmly explain that we do things differently around here. There is no "picking on" the younger kids. There is no name calling. There is no teasing. There is no ganging up against one another. There is no laughing at each other's faults and quirks. It isn't that we don't have fun, because we do, but we refuse to do it at the expense of others. We have zero tolerance for it. Instead, we teach and model how to love one another, how to verbally affirm one another, how to serve one another, and how to see the unique ways that we were each created. We have our sibling spats and we have siblings who would like to be in charge and siblings that get on each other's nerves— we are far from perfect! — but we are working to create a home environment where everyone feels loved, everyone feels valued, and everyone realizes and understands that their uniqueness makes them a special and valuable member of our family.
And so, as we look to welcoming a new life and a new personality into our family, I wanted to take some time to celebrate our family for what it has been these last two years (Bethany turned two yesterday!) Lord willing, I will only be a mama to five for another week or so. And so I stop now to thank the Lord for the blessing of five. It's been amazing.Number six...we're ready for you!