A couple weeks ago on a Thursday night at 10pm (because that’s when all the good ideas surface, right?!), I decided it was time to make a family portrait appointment. It had been 2 years.
I messaged a local photographer, and she replied right away that she could do it Sunday. Awesome! Three days of digging through closets, shopping, coordinating outfits, curling hair, and untangling earrings later, we drove to a local lake to get our pose on.
baby toddler fell asleep on the way.
No worries! We let the other kids do their individual shoots while she was sleeping. Then Lance and I did a couple of “just you and me” shots. In the middle of that fun, our photographer yelled, “Popcorn!” a secret code word she had prearranged with the kids. They immediately dogpiled us, and several click click clicks later, this was the result.
Fun, right?! I hate this photo. But I kind of love it, too, because it reminds me that someone was missing. To the unknowing eye, I imagine the photo displays a happy, fun, BIG family. I get it. And the unknowing eye is not wrong.
But my Mama Eye zones in on the fatal flaw. That empty lap. Someone’s Missing.
Two years ago we sure didn’t know anyone was missing. We felt very complete with the miracle of our family after suffering 3 years of infertility. Even knowing that all children are gifts straight from heaven, after losing two to miscarriage, we knew our home was full to the brim with children. Full of crazy schedules. Full of messes. Full of fresh heartache. Full of love. And then, the very day that the crew showed up to dig a basement under our 1,400 square foot, 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home, we found out we were expecting our sixth baby. Six!
No! I’m too old! We’re stretched too thin! We haven’t slept in 10 years! We can’t do this! I don’t want to change more diapers! I don’t want my boobs to hurt! I want to sleep through the night! We had reached our parenting bandwidth (thank you, Jen Hatmaker) and we were done. Except we weren’t.
If I was leery about using my essential oils for emotional support before (I so was!) I got over myself and bathed in Peace & Calming, went to bed with Valor, and constantly diffused all of my happiest oils. (The scents that didn’t make my newly pregnant stomach churn, that is.) We survived that season with a ton of prayer and a whole lot of stripping life to the bare necessities.
And a few months later we birthed the sweetest, snuggliest, most precious and demanding little girl there ever was. She has every last one of us wrapped around her little pointer finger. (Girlfriend is constantly pointing at her favorite people and favorite things.)
God, I’m so sorry I cried and threw a fit rivaling the hormonal tweens in our home. I’m sorry I doubted you and maybe even cussed a little. Thank you for walking that short valley with me and blessing our whole family with the most precious gift we didn’t even know we wanted! You are a good giver, and now we are raising six amazing children. You are so funny, too.
Oh, that’s better! This. This is our crazy.
This is our family.
This is our Happily Ever After.