As we await the long-coming arrival of Baby #4 to our growing flock, I recognize we have crossed a threshold - in fact, we crossed it back in 2011, when our youngest had just turned one, our oldest was still yet two and we learned our third was on the way, the point at which the question on everyone's lips subtly changes to, "So, are you planning to have more?" to "So, do you think you're done?"
And whether real or imagined, there is a definitive sense of judgment in our culture toward those populating the earth with more than the allotted 2.5 children. Sometimes I feel the weight of those questioning eyes, with my burgeoning belly and three little ones scurrying underfoot as we head to the library or the grocery store.
Yet, I watch my children playing, all seated together on the floor engrossed in a book or huddled into the plastic Fisher Price tree house out back, and as I melt in their large brown eyes I ask myself this question, "Which of these would I give up so as to have a socially acceptable amount of off-spring?"
Then again, maybe we should have just been done after three. That's a perfectly acceptable number. But then, what would I do, on those long days, without the refreshing kicks, tiny reminders of life inside and the purpose I hold? Where would be that hope of a baby sister for our eldest - something of which she has long dreamed?
Where would we be, as a family, if any one of us were missing - had never even existed? Perhaps we'd be just fine. But seeing where we are now, I wouldn't have it any other way. I know God has formed our family perfectly, and I have a strong sense he's not finished with us yet. Which is just fine - because he seems to have done a wonderful job of putting just the right tiny souls into our wonderful little mix at just the right times. Perhaps not every family is meant for this kind of blossoming - their perfect number may be smaller than ours - but I am so grateful for all we have been given, and all that is yet to come.