I am convinced that one of the best gifts we can give our children is the gift of siblings, and I become more and more convinced of this as I see my own children grow up and have deep relationships with each other. My kids just simply enjoy each other's company soooo much! and I am very grateful for that.
I also see how special the gift of siblings are when I look out at my extended family. This weekend Mr. Pete traveled home to be with the rest of his siblings for their oldest brother's 60th birthday party! His brothers traveled from as far as Salt Lake, Oklahoma City, and St. Lois to be together in Michigan for this event and it meant the world to all of them to reconnect with one another and celebrate. Their remaining 3 sisters were there as well and many photographs were taken and memories preserved. Parting truly was a sweet sorrow in a sense. The last time they were all together was at their mother's funeral, yet that shared bond between the siblings keeps them together and connected, even when they are apart.
Readers might remember that last summer I disagreed with a particular Christian blogger who had decided NOT to have any more than one child. This blogger blogged of her decision:
Did I have faith that God would provide our child with the circle of loved ones she will need as an adult given that she will have no siblings and that she has older parents and grandparents?
Well I firmly believe that if we ask Him, God does provide for all of our needs in His time and as part of His eternal plan. But I also believe that God lets us face the consequences of our own decisions and sometimes even the decisions (wise or not) of our parents. Not all of those consequences are good. And while I can have faith that God will provide for my children I also know that they will either be blessed by or suffer from the consequences of their own decisions and even from choices Mr. Pete and I have made. What I KNOW is that the scriptures always refer to the gift of children as a blessing. While there are no guarantees I can increase the odds that my kids WILL HAVE a circle of loved ones around them by giving them the gift of each other!
This blogger also asked:
Am I morally obligated to have another child for my child's sake? To continue trying?
We're morally obligated to be the best Christian parents that we can be for our children and many times that means dying to ourselves and being open to God's will in our lives. God loves life and He loves to bless with life. The Catholic Church teaches that for serious or grave reasons a couple may licitly decide not to have more children (using natural means to avoid conception), but other than that I think the teaching of the church calls us to stretch ourselves a bit!! To be open to the possibility that having that next little baby might just show us a wonder of God's creation that we hadn't ever seen or considered before.
The blogger continued:
I went through all the typical only child questions. But in the end I knew that siblings don't guarantee happiness or even relationships.
True. Life doesn't come with a lot of guarantees. But I think that the deliberate avoidance of giving a child siblings perhaps adds an extra burden of being alone that is avoidable. My sister and I grow closer as time goes on. We have faced major life changes together and will face future heartaches, burdens, joys and delights together. I feel fortunate to have her and can't imagine how much sadder some of the trials in my life would have been without her.
My youngest child Rosie, is six years younger than her closest living sibling. Sometimes I fear that she will be like an only child. But then I see Calvin tease her, Sam brush her teeth, Gabe hold her while watching t.v., Noah give her piggy back rides, or Izzy playing dolls with her, and I know that they will never abandon her. She will have these great memories of her older brothers and sister for as long as she lives and she when they have left the home when they are grown, they will always be a letter, phone call, or e-mail away!
As a mother I look at this group of children and I know that years and years after I am gone, they will have the gift of each other and I know it's one of the best things I could have done for any of them.