Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
I remember it clearly. I remember the day my future wife and I had the conversation about children.
She asked me, "How many children do you want to have?"
Me, being me, answered. "Who cares? Who cares how many children I want?"
My wife, already on her way to sainthood for choosing the cross that is me, said, "I mean, what do you think a good size family is?"
"A good size? Sixteen. That is a really good size."
"Why are you being a pain? You know what I mean."
"Yes, I know what you mean. I am just trying to make a point. I don't know what our optimal family size is, but I am very certain that God does. Let me put it to you this way. When it comes to children, I make you this simple promise. I will never say no to you and I will never say no to God."
My wife made me the same promise. We were not naive wild-eyed Catholics out to prove a point. My wife had all the same concerns most women do. How many can I handle? How many can my body handle? What about money? Will I have to quit my job? And so on. And we discussed all these things on days when I wasn't being jerky. We discussed it. We thought about it. And we prayed on it. In the end, we simply just put the number in God's hands.
We didn't get married until we were into our thirties and after our first, sometimes we were a little overwhelmed. But we kept our promise to each other and put our trust in God.
After our second, truth is, sometimes we were a little overwhelmed. But we kept our promise to each other and put our trust in God.
After our third, we were mostly overwhelmed. My wife quit her job. Having three all still little was tough on my wife. Money was tight. We just weren't sure how we could swing another. But we kept our promise to each other and put our trust in God.
Heck, we are outnumbered and broke anyway. So we kept our promise to each other and put our trust in God. People, society, everyone told us to be done. Sure, we heard all the jokes. But we promised and we trusted.
But we also faced tough choices. We faced health issues that caused us to evaluate everything. But we always kept our promise to each other and put our trust in God.
In all we had 5 children in 7 years. My wife jokes that if I had said 5 children in 7 years during that initial conversation, she would have had a heart attack. But what did we know about what we could handle? So we decided not to figure it out.
So now we are past the baby years and my wife's biggest lament? I wish we met earlier so we could have had more babies.
I have many regrets in life as we all do. But the single best thing I ever did was make and keep that promise to my wife.