He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too.
I have four kids. No dogs, but two friendly gerbils. Add me and Tiffany - and you have what? A large family?
I grew up with four siblings, plus mom and dad, and we had what was considered a large family, at least in Colorado. Almost all my friends growing up had two children in their family. Very few with three, and I honestly can't remember any close friends that had more than three children in their family.
It wasn't often, but every once in a while I would get quizzed on what it was like to live with such a 'large' family. And every time I was asked, I wondered what they meant by large. It's not as though I went hungry (note previous post on weight loss), I didn't get short changed on opportunities. I played sports. I was given piano lessons. I pretty much got the car when I wanted. I even had my own bedroom, at least after one incident that happened when I was about 6 years old and mom and dad decided to split the large room into two - effectively splitting my older brother and I from getting into too much trouble (truthfully - it didn't work - we still got in trouble - we were boys living in the basement... no matter the thickness of a wall, we were always getting into trouble.)
In fact, I would often wonder, while I was being asked questions, what it would be like to live without two of my siblings. And each time all I could consider was, wow, there was always somebody around I could hang with, do something with, play with, etc. Without two of them, life would be boring. Family vacations were that much more of a blast. Family kickball games would have not happened. Board games and card games had that many more interested parties making them more fun. I had somebody who I could look up to, while at the same time, I had to live better because somebody looked up to me (at least in my mind they were - not sure if they did or not). If mom wasn't home, there was usually at least somebody home. Very seldom did I ever get the house to myself. And an empty house was an odd feeling when that happened.
So, now, I sit with a family of 6. One off from what both Tiffany and I grew up in (Tiffany has 4 siblings as well). And my hat is taken off to my parents. They put in a lot of hard work (except on me, of course, I was an angel). But did it pay off?
I ask this not in that it wasn't worthwhile. I would never consider not having any of my children. I hope and desire that each one can succeed in life, becoming better at living life than I have (and will love them no matter how they live their life). And I don't care of any pay off - there is satisfaction that comes from having children, raising them, helping them, watching them, playing with them, working with them, working for them, and on and on.
But also, at least in part, there are blessings that come from children. After the investment period from birth to 20 (and beyond - though hopefully some return starts after 20), you get your returns thereafter, at least I hope. Blessings of progeny. Blessings of friendship and companionship. Kids come home from time to time to visit and you can talk and create bonds that you are unable to while growing up.. Moms and Dads aren't supposed to be friends until you are grown up (though there can be good bonds - just not the same bond as good friends have). And when you are 60, or 70, or 80, lived a full life, you will likely look back and not consider the nice cars you had or didn't have, or the TVs, or homes or anything else. You will likely consider upon your children. And you probably will look forward for them to visit again. And hopefully with your grandchildren.
Heck, just send the grandchildren over (just be sure I can give them back when I want to give them back - right?).
So for each child you have, and this is my hope for everyone, no matter the size of your family, that you will be blessed in your later years because of your children.
And the more children you have, it would make sense then, that you will be blessed that much more.
So - then, maybe we should have more :)
Just kidding. Four for us is just about right.