My fourth child, Nixon, was born a week ago and now I have four kids. Four. I can't believe that is a true statement, but it is. Four kids, wow.
Having four kids is hard. The other day my wife was holding our new baby while our 2 middle kids were melting down at the dinner table and screaming (due to no naps) and my oldest was asking the same question repeatedly over and over and over and over. My wife and I were completely out of control of our children and in that moment we both began to panic laugh to each other thinking, "Oh my God, what have we gotten ourselves into."
We eventually came to and got things under control, but wow, things escalate quickly. Things can really get out of hand.
Jim Gaffigan said it best:
"People ask me, "Oh, what's it like having four kids?" and I tell them. Imagine you're drowning...
...and then someone hands you a baby.
At this stage of life there seems to be emotional pockets of feeling trapped and overcommitted, but then in an instant that feeling is replaced by deep joy and gratitude.
I'm realizing more and more the importance of savoring the moment. The moments when I look at my kids calmly playing together and think about how sweet they are. The moments when my wife and I can talk and laugh together and with the kids.
Those savory moments are found in the midst of frustration and difficulty, but I've found that you will find what you are looking for. Whether it's pain or pleasure, beauty or flaw, suffering or joy, you will find it. What you believe and set your mind on, will manifest for you.
Here's a quote from one of my favorite books that sums it up more eloquently.
The soul attracts that which it secretly harbours; that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires, and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.
-James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
My life is so full of love and happiness (and trials and hardships and frustrations and confusion), but through all of this, by God's grace, I still manage to find incredible joy. Joy because I'm blessed beyond measure with a beautiful and loving wife. Blessed with four kids that warm the core of my soul.
I have no idea who I would be if it weren't for my wife and kids. Most likely I would be a complete wreck with very poor nutrition and hygiene. But now, I have the constraint of marriage, the constraint of fatherhood, and the constraint of providing for my family. These constraints help set my path straight. They provide the boundaries for my life.
I remember a time when I was a young teenager, my friend was spending the night and we were outside staring at the stars, thinking about infinite space and pondering our lives. I remember saying, "Isn't it crazy that one day, we'll get married to someone and have our own children. We will be in charge of taking care of our kids instead of our parents providing for us."
That young teenager staring at the stars and pondering life blinked once... now he's a married man and a father of four.