Having a lot of children means that I am often asked if we are having any more. That's not the easiest question in the world to answer. Such an answer would presuppose quite a bit on my part - first that we are the kind of people who plan these things, and secondly that God will send another baby to our house. It took years and many children before I arrived at what I hoped was both an honest and diplomatic answer.
I began telling people "We have never turned away anyone who has shows up for dinner, but we aren't sending out invitations either." It summed it up nicely and politely, and people would usually smile or laugh and the conversation would move on to something else.
When I became pregnant with our sweet Wendy, baby #7, we really lived what I was saying to people. She was the definition of unexpected, defying everything I knew about biology and NFP (Natural Family Planning) to become the girl my midwife laughingly labeled "one of God's babies - because only he knows how they get here." It didn't take very long for our family to adjust to the idea of having an unexpected guest at our dinner table, and when she showed up hungry in November of 2011, we were happy to make room for her.
As we get ever closer to August when our eldest child will leave for college, the idea of an unexpected guest for dinner has taken on a new kind of meaning. She will always be welcome at our table, but she will no longer be expected. I look forward with great anticipation to the days when she will once again be back under our roof and her little siblings will have to scoot over to make a little room for her. Only they may have to shift a little further down than they do now, because come October our newest "guest" will be taking up a little room.
Sometimes we get the grace to choose when to invite people to come for dinner, and sometimes God decides that we all need to move one chair down. While our timing may be carefully thought out and well reasoned, His timing is always perfect.
And so it is again.
**If you're thinking that 7 weeks might be a little early to tell people, I wrote this last time to explain my reasons why we tell so early.