Reb. Mary asks me off-blog how the other kids are doing, and if she's alone in feeling guilty about screwing up the status quo for the ones we already know and love. I think it's a question we all wonder about.
A lot of times, the excuse people give for not having more kids is that it isn't fair to the other ones, that it amounts to depriving the kids they already have of things they'd have otherwise. I think "things" is the operative word there. A friend from a two-kid family explained to me how nice it was that she and her sister both got cars when they turned sixteen. A mom who admitted to wishing they could have afforded more kids said that their family size meant her son had music lessons and her daughter played on a club team. Don't think this doesn't appeal to me. One of the biggest temptations parents face is giving their kids everything. I'm sure a lot of people would have felt bad for our kids if they'd seen our tree on Christmas Eve. If we were done now (or had been done two babies ago, like any sane people would be), I wouldn't have to avert my eyes and mortify my flesh when the little spring clothes come out on the store racks, our daughter would have a real piano teacher, our son would have a real haircut, and (theoretically) I'd never tell them I'm too tired to read tonight.
But in the same way that it means more to me to have a baby than to have cute new brand name jeans and a reliably-sized body to put in them, it is better for our kids to have a house full of people who love each other than a house full of things to fill up the space and activities to fill up the time. What makes it trickier is that their dad and I have made that decision for them. All we can do is pray that they believe it too, and don't covet the empty life of stuff and diversions that can look so appealing to kids who wear hand-me-downs and go to grandma's for vacation (I speak from experience).
So we didn't read a bedtime story on Monday or Tuesday, and everybody's waiting longer for breakfast these days, and sometimes Mom inexplicably freaks out. Thanks be to God, they all love the baby. I'm pretty sure that if you gave them the choice today, they'd take him over another toy they'd just cry about having to pick up later on. May God in his mercy preserve them in that virtue. (And yes, we read and did piano and had globe time today! Go me! Tomorrow--no promises.)