I want a big family.
This likely comes as a surprise due to the razor sharp shut-down I give anyone who asks when I'm planning on my next child. My husband wants two children and I feel little pieces of my heart deteriorate at the thought of any less than three. At times, I'm a little bitter that the roots of a large family were never planted in my family. I see photographs of families with sisters, brothers, cousins, grandparents and my heart tingles a little bit with a sort of longing, of so badly wanting that. Wanting to enter a room filled with siblings and letting our children -- cousins! -- play together, grow together, leave off to college together or raise their own children together. Wanting to experience even the fiercest sibling rivalry and tearing through rooms and belongings, trying to find the CD or sweater I've accused a sibling of taking without permission. These are things that I see on television, in the lives of friends, and I know that I want that. They're foreign to me. The uproarious laughter and holidays filled loved ones. These are things I want for Ethan, for any future children, to always have that companionship that I imagine is completely invaluable.

I was almost eleven when my only sister was born and though she has been the center of my universe since that hot September day she was born into this world, it has always felt more of a maternal love. I went away to college and kissed my sister goodbye in her elementary school cafeteria, and I spent those initially overwhelming years sending letters home about Webkinz and Lizzie McGuire. It was always my goal to shield her from hurt, as a mother would. The struggles, the hard times, the good times -- these weren't times I was able to share with her, a child, tucked into sleep with her lullabies and stuffed animals. For a long time, I had insisted my own children would be eleven years apart. After all, my sister and I are the closest of any siblings I had ever met and I wanted that love, that closeness, for my children. But then I got married and I had a baby and my sister had teenage apathy and as I dived deep into this new turning point in my life, she stepped into the halls of high school for the first time. I couldn't remember what those years were like. She couldn't imagine what having a baby was like. I wanted her to experience the joy on Ethan's face as he ran across his favorite playground. She wanted me to experience the joy she feels sitting in front of Instagram, liking photos of celebrities that I've never even heard of. And while my love for her -- and Ethan's, as she's the center of his world these days -- only continues to deepen with each day that passes, it's different; it's a maternal love, a protective love; it's knowing Ethan will never have cousins to grow with.

I really want a big family. I want my children to have cousins. I want to throw parties and host sleepovers and know in my heart that my children will always have friends because they were born into a large family. I want my children to call one another and rant about me when I'm being unreasonable. I want them to have one another to learn on when I'm old and frail. I want them to always have someone in their corner, even though I know it's not a guarantee that siblings end up liking one another at all. That's a risk I'm willing to take.

And then there's practicality. We don't have the room in our house, the modest square footage already closing in on us. A move, an upgrade -- these aren't really options when you live in one of the highest real estate markets in the country. And relocation is out of the question when you struggle here because this is the world you want to give your children, these are the schools and the culture and the opportunities you want your children to be raised in. It's like one big circle my mind keeps running in. Or the fact that my body is as un-ready to handle an abundance of c-sections as our bank account is. Or the fact that adoption is expensive and the little bits of hurt in my heart that this might never be a reality for us as I had always hoped it would be. Or, you know, the blistering fact that my husband appears to truly only want two children and the fact I can't think about that without tears welling in my eyes despite the fact that I won't even tolerate discussion of a second at this point. I'm selfish. I love laying on the floor with Ethan in a puddle of laughter and focusing on nothing other than the way his eyes light up as we explore every inch of this town without any other thought on our mind. I'm not ready to sacrifice that yet, to share my attention, to change a thing about our day-to-day schedule, our day-to-day adventures, our sporadic before-dinnertime trips to the skatepark that we rush home from just in time to get dinner on the table. I'm also selfless, knowing my risks of future bedrest are high and I'm willing to wait on the family I so badly want to ensure that Ethan always has his mommy. Every pregnancy is different is true, but it is not guaranteed. It is not enough for me to risk what I have with Ethan, my health, my place in his life -- not now.

I spent the duration of this humid Sunday up to my elbows in epoxy and thrift store candlesticks, in scissors and glue and paint and all of the makings for Ethan's second birthday party preparation. As I cut, glued, stirred, planned to the thought of my sweet boy's face when he sees his Curious George party all put together for the first time, I felt it. The loneliness of a small family. The weird feeling when your mother is both a grandmother and also the mother to a teenager who won't stop texting you photographs of hip-hop artists you have less than no interest in. Really, truly, loving your family and feeling so fortunate to be a part of your family but wishing you had that ally, wishing you had someone to -- and I'm aware this sounds so absolutely silly -- Pinterest with. It's not that I would change a thing about my life or offer my parents the criticism that I thought they did things wrong, it's just that I want to do certain things differently for Ethan. But that's where my mind kind of blanks, because right now I'm just mentally running in circles.


  1. I want a large family too, and by that I mean 4 kids. DH wants 2. However, it's really up to me....and like you said the finances add up. I'd rather have 2 kids and NOT work in order to spend time with them. If lesser kids means that I can spend more time with my family and also give my kids a great education, then so be it. We are looking to move soon to the area that DH's family is from, it's a nice area but more affordable. DH's family is huge, so we will have lots of family time there. NYC is just too expensive :(

  2. This post really touched me. Coming from a large family, I can say I experienced every thing you mentioned...the fighting, the jealousy, the ranting on the phone to siblings about mom (or other siblings...or dad...haha). I know all these things first hand, and as a younger teenager I will tell you I was mortified of my large family. Mostly just in public. I can remember struggles we went through, and being tired of hearing "we don't have money for that" almost every time I wanted something new. I can remember the arguments and the clothes stealing and the hatred that I had to SHARE a room...in some houses I had to share with two sisters. Deep down though, I knew they were my heart. My best friends. My confidants. My HOME. Growing up in those tight quarters, moving every 3 years as a military family, being home-schooled...all these things molded and shaped us into who we are today. I wouldn't change a second of it. The tight money taught me to be frugal, taught me there are more important things in life than the "wants" I had, the shared bedrooms (and late night sister chats) always revealed just how important my sisters were to me even though at times they annoyed the dickens out of me! haha...

    Now that we are all older it just keeps getting better with each precious new cousin added to the bunch. Our relationships have blossomed from just "siblings" to now parents, and the struggles and joys and learning curves we all are facing at the same time. Well, with the exception of the youngest two who are quick to remind us how uncool and old we are now. hahahaha...anyway, I knew after I had Olivia I wanted her to have a sister close in age. I was so blessed my second pregnancy was just that.

    Ethan can have this too. There are some things you just have to let go of the worries and fears for and you will realize (literally the moment you are first holding that new little sibling and watching Ethan become a big brother before your eyes) just how absolutely, mind blowingly WORTH IT it is. Every sacrifice, every penny spent, every ache and pain of pregnancy & delivery...all of it.


  3. Oh sweet Lindsay! Everything will work out just how it's supposed to! You can be blessed with a large family even if you don't have the mansion, or the yard or the bank account for them. One of our closest friends live in a tiny 3 bed, 1 bath condo and they have 4 kids. But they live such a HAPPY life! They talk about selling and buying a home, but they are nervous about how the kids will sleep if they have their own room. That seems crazy to me because I always had my own room! But I guess you learn to love the life you have. And like you said, most important is family. All that other stuff really doesn't matter. As long as you have each other, that's all that matters! And I truly do believe you'll be blessed with an amazing life with your family, one you never would have dreamed about :)


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